The Crusader Newspaper Group

Van Dyke’s sentencing hearing next week

Crusader Staff Report

The sentencing hearing for convicted murderer Jason Van Dyke will take place at 9 a.m. next Wednesday, October 31 in courtroom 500 at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building.

Judge Vincent Gaughan will hear arguments before deciding on how long the former Chicago police officer will be behind bars after he was convicted October 5 of second degree murder for shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times on October 20, 2014.

Second degree murder carries a sentence of three to 20 years of prison, but there is concern that Van Dyke could get probation and a much shorter sentence than the law requires. Van Dyke’s attorney, Daniel Herbert, told Fox News that he expects his client to get three years.

Van Dyke has also been found guilty on 16 counts of aggravated battery. Each counts carries between six to 30 years in prison.

Van Dyke has been behind bars since his conviction. He was moved to prison in Rock Island, Ill from a Cook County jail, where the officials were concerned about his safety. Van Dyke’s historic conviction two weeks ago marked a significant turning point in Chicago where very few officers are brought to justice on allegations of misconduct. It was the first time in 50 years that a Chicago police officer was convicted of a shooting while on duty.

Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon and his team won praise for his work in winning a conviction against Van Dyke. Black leaders pressed to get a special prosecutor to handle the case after they lost faith in Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. She waited 13 months to charge Van Dyke with first degree murder. Alvarez also drew criticism in 2016 after Officer Dante Servin was acquitted during a bench trial, where Judge Dennis Porter said the officer should have been charged with first degree murder, not involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Rekya Boyd in 2012. Servin resigned from the police force before the trial began.

Next month, officers David Marsh, Thomas Gaffney and Joseph Walsh will stand trial after they were indicted on charges of conspiring to cover up the shooting of McDonald by lying and falsifying police reports. Special Prosecutor Patricia Holmes is handling the case.

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