Cop killer gets mandatory life in prison for murdering police commander – tried to claim it was ‘self-defense’

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CHICAGO, IL – A man who was convicted of the murder of a Chicago Police Commander from 2018 was recently handed down a mandatory life sentence in prison for the killing.

The 47-year-old murderer was said to have tried to claim self-defense during the trial regarding the line of duty death.

On February 13th, 2018, 53-year-old Cmdr. Paul Bauer from the CPD was walking toward City Hall when he responded to a call on the radio regarding a man running from police.

That man was later identified as Shomari Legghette.

Plainclothes police officers were said to have witnessed Legghette urinating on a support column, which when spotted by officers calling him out, he took off.

When Cmdr. Bauer caught up with Legghette during the foot pursuit, both he and the suspect fell down a stairwell while embroiled in a scuffle. Legghette had managed to gain the upper hand at some point and shot Cmdr. Bauer numerous times, killing him.

When the trial was in full swing for the murder of the police commander, Legghette’s legal defense had tried to claim that Legghette had no idea that Cmdr. Bauer was a police officer and he believed he was shooting in self-defense.

Clearly, that defense tactic did not resonate with the jury.

On October 28th, following the conviction of Legghette, Cmdr. Bauer’s wife, Erin, addressed the murderer directly to convey the pain she’s suffered with her husband’s death:

“To lose someone so violently adds another layer of pain that is indescribable.”

Also, during the sentencing hearing, Cmdr. Bauer’s teenage daughter noted that she often imagines an alternative world – one in which her father never went to work that day in February of 2018.

Reportedly, Legghette never testified during his trial but did speak during his sentencing. He proclaimed that he was the victim of some elaborate ploy – one in which the police and the prosecution conspired to frame him for a murder.

Legghette then claimed that if Cmdr. Bauer didn’t use “excessive force” against him, then he might still be alive today:

“Paul Bauer’s death actually was reckless and egregious when he chose to break protocol and use excessive force.”

Prosecutors say that the murderer was far from some misunderstood victim, detailing how Legghette was the epitome of a “human crime wave” on the day he murdered a police officer.

During the day of the shooting, Legghette had unlawful body armor on him, a gun with an extended magazine, an ice-pick styled weapon and drugs in his possession.

Assistant State’s Attorney John Maher said this case had nothing to do with excessive force or not knowing Cmdr. Bauer was a police officer – he said this murder was purely motivated by Legghette not wanting to return to prison:

“He knew he was going back to prison and that it was going to be a long stay based on his record.”

Well, looks like Legghette has earned himself the longest stay inside of prison. While this sentencing doesn’t bring back a father and a husband, it at least serves a semblance of justice.

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In an update to a previous story, a 19-year-old man who fatally shot a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office K-9 when he was 17 years old, among other offenses, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison

Here’s the previous report we ran when the defendant was asking the courts for leniency. 

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JACKSONVILLE, FL – A 19-year-old man who pleaded guilty to numerous charges involving armed robbery, kidnapping and the slaying of a police K-9 was asking the courts for leniency for his then-upcoming sentencing, as the man is facing up to 35 years in prison for the numerous convictions.  

During a court appearance on October 19th, Jhamel Malik Paskel’s defense attorney asked Circuit Judge Gilbert Feltel Jr. for leniency when it comes time to sentence him for a series of crimes he committed when he was 17-years-old.

According to reports, Paskel had been involved in an armed robbery and the kidnapping of two women – to which he pleaded guilty to – that preceded a high-speed chase. From the details revealed by Officer Matt Herrera, after this kidnapping and armed robbery incident, Paskel led police on a chase down I-10 that reached speeds as high as 120 MPH.

At some point when the vehicle chase ceased, and officers and Paskel were on foot, Officer Herrera released his K-9 named Fang to help assist in subduing the suspect. Paskel opened fire on Fang, resulting in the K-9 dying from gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

The total charges that Paskel pleaded guilty to were possession of a gun by a juvenile delinquent, aggravated fleeing, killing of a police K-9, armed robbery and kidnapping.

Reflecting on the loss of K-9 Fang, Officer Herrera said he lost more than just a partner that fateful day:

“He’s still a member of my family and it wasn’t just sad for me… It was for my wife, kids and parents … to go back and see that empty kennel in the backyard and know that there is no dog there, and to see the bloodstains in the truck that I had to clean up after he was killed.”

Assistant State Attorney L.E. Hutton said that Paskel killed K-9 Fang “in cold blood” during that episode two years earlier, while having played the police radio traffic from that very incident.

During the court appearance on October 19th, Paskel addressed the court by owning up to the actions he committed two years earlier, saying that he wanted to stand before the court “as a man ready to take responsibility”.

Later on, during this address, Paskel also offered an apology to Officer Herrera:

“I would like to offer my apologies and condolences to Officer Herrera for not only the killing of his K-9 partner Fang, but his best friend. I want to apologize to the victims for scaring them that night. And I owe my mother the biggest apology for letting her down.”

From what Paskel’s mother said of her son during the recent hearing, she informed the presiding judge that her son suffers from various learning disabilities and has had drug problems in his past.

According to the plea arrangement reached between Paskel and the state, the judge could give Paskel up to 30 years in prison, between the armed robbery and kidnapping charges, and an additional five years for the murder of K-9 Fang.

If entertaining the maximum sentence that can be imposed, the plea bargain also notes that Paskel’s sentence can be reviewed at the 20-year mark to determine if an early release can be considered based upon good behavior in prison.

But Paskel’s defense attorney is asking the judge to show leniency on his client, asking for a 15-year prison sentence followed by probation.

Yet as of October 28th, the judge in the case handed down a sentence of 25 years in prison. 

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