What it feels like when the jury comes in

When someone pops their head in the door and announces that there’s a verdict, everything changes. You can kind of handle the trial, hearing details of your friend’s death that you didn’t know before and wondering if you have the right person on trial. There’s a lot to think about, a lot of emotion. Even when the closing arguments are done and the judge is giving final instructions to the jury, you’re calm. You speculate about testimony, whether the arguments put forth by the defense Read More +
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Guilty

Minimum 45 years – sentencing in august
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Closing arguments

Closing arguments are done. I’m in the waiting area with the 15-year old’s mother as she tells a writer about how she brought her son from Sudan to keep him from being taken to fight in the civil war there, only to have killed in America. The prosecutors gave arguments first, pretty much going over the details of their case. Defense then got up and put forward the assertion that Pena was being framed by the street gang, and all the witnesses were liars. His Read More +
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Trial day 3

Brian intends to get a more complete post up as soon as he can, but the short story is most of the shortened day (due to the holiday) was forensics testimony. According to Brian, they showed how the ballistic information found by police seem to back up what witnesses have said: - That the boy was killed by Pena at close range and, based on wounds to his arms, may not have realized that he was going to be shot. - That two different guns Read More +
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Trial day 2 report

Matt attended the trial today and described it as grueling. There were eight witnesses including four police. Their testimony was pretty matter-of-fact, focusing on the investigation. The defense did not cross-examine any of the police, so I won’t go into much detail there. The defense attorney pretty much continued his theme of challenging witnesses from the neighborhood, trying to assert that Pena was not a member of the gang at that time and that the witnesses were being forced to testify by the gang. Today Read More +
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New blog post: Trial report day 1

About a month after my wife’s mom died suddenly, we received a phone call from Brian Peterlinz with some more unbelievably bad news: Our good friend Mark Evans had been found dead – murdered outside his Chicago home. Mark – “Atwood” to his friends – knew countless people from all walks of life, and many of them came together. There were memorials at the site of course, but a number of us got together and came up with a large reward. Matt Geyber and I Read More +
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Atwoodfest is on!

Just got word from my pal Matt Geber that Atwoodfest is on for June 6. This is an annual celebration of the life of one of my best friends, Mark Evans. If you’ve read the forward to Cash & Carry, you know a bit about him. Mark was murdered three years ago in a vicious robbery gone bad. His killer was caught much later and is currently awaiting trial. There will be much drinking of very bad vodka as that was his drink of choice. Read More +
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Bittersweet journey

I’m leaving the family this weekend and heading downstate with a my friend Brian on what’s probably going to be closure for a lot of people. Those of you who have read the dedication to my book would remember my friend Mark Evans, who was brutally murdered a couple of years ago. Well, since then the person we feel responsible for the murder was arrested – which is good news since it’s believed he’s responsible for a number of killings. However, we ended up with Read More +
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