No new trial for Van Dyke as sentencing is set Jan. 18

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Jason Van Dyke appears before Judge Vincent Gaughan for a pre-sentencing hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Dec. 14, 2018. Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan denied former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke's bid to have his murder and aggravated battery convictions overturned, or get a new trial in the death of Laquan McDonald, during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. Van Dyke will be sentenced in January, of 2019. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/pool)

By Erick Johnson

Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke will not get a new trial and he will be sentenced on January 18, three months after he was convicted of second-degree murder for shooting teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014.

That was Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan’s ruling on Friday, December 14 as he denied a motion from the attorneys of the convicted murderer to throw out Van Dyke’s conviction and hold a new trial.

Wearing a canary yellow jumpsuit, Van Dyke watched stoically as Gaughan gave his ruling.

But Van Dyke’s case is still not over. Gaughan’s ruling was the first step toward appealing his case and Friday’s outcome was expected.

Van Dyke’s attorney, Daniel Herbert, argues that his client did not get a fair trial because of the intense media publicity and that the proceedings should have been taken out of Cook County.

During his argument, Herbert said “If the shooting was justified, it’s not a crime.”

But Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon said the jury that convicted Van Dyke concluded that McDonald was not moving toward Van Dyke and was not a real threat.

In addition to second-degree murder, Van Dyke was convicted of 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. Each of those convictions carries a sentence of six to 30 years in prison. Second-degree murder carries a sentence of four to 20 years behind bars.

Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer in 50 years to be convicted for an on-duty shooting.

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