CHICAGO – A four-time felon accused of killing Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer has been formally indicted on more than 50 counts of criminal violations. The charges include murder, weapons violations, and other felony charges, court records show.
The indictment said that Cook County prosecutors intend to seek a life sentence for Shomari Legghette if convicted, since Bauer was a police officer killed while performing his official duties, reported Chicago Tribune.
A grand jury returned 56 counts in all against Legghette, including 24 counts related to first-degree murder, six counts of armed violence, two drug counts and various weapons violations, according to the Tribune.
Bauer, 53, a veteran police commander, was murdered outside the Thompson Center last month. He was in the area when he heard a police call about a chase. As a result, he spotted Legghette run by and pursued him on foot, authorities said.
Legghette, 44, wearing a bright orange jumpsuit, appeared briefly in court Friday afternoon as prosecutors announced he had been formally indicted. Consequently, he will return to the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Monday to be arraigned on the 56 counts. At that time he will learn which judge will preside over his case.
While the indictment lists all the charges, it provides little in the way of details or narrative.
Typical strategy among county prosecutors is to indict defendants on multiple counts at first, and then drop all but the strongest charges as the case nears trial.
On the day of Bauer’s murder, beat officers were patrolling Lower Wacker Drive because of a recent shooting and drug sales in the area. As an officer stepped from his patrol vehicle to initiate contact with Legghette, he bolted authorities said.
The officer gave chase on foot and radioed a description. Bauer, downtown for a meeting with aldermen after attending training for mass shootings earlier in the day, was on duty and in uniform in his police vehicle at Lake and Clark streets when he heard the radio call of a fleeing suspect. However, moments later the commander saw Legghette running nearby. Therefore, he got out of his vehicle and ran after him, authorities said.
Bauer chased down Legghette at the top of a stairwell outside the Thompson Center and attempted to detain him, authorities said. The two struggled, ending up on a landing below. Legghette, who was wearing body armor, drew a handgun and fired seven shots, fatally wounding Bauer, prosecutors said.
Bauer’s weapon was still holstered. His police radio and handcuffs were found next to his body.
Officers found a loaded 9mm handgun with an extended magazine in Legghette’s possession as well as heroin, marijuana and cocaine, prosecutors said.
Legghette was ordered held without bail last month. According to jail records, he is currently being held in Kankakee County Jail.
At Legghette’s bond hearing, prosecutors revealed that three civilian witnesses identified him as the man who struggled with Bauer at the top of the Thompson Center stairwell. Surveillance video also captured the struggle, they said. Moreover, Legghette’s right hand and coat tested positive for gunshot residue.
According to Legghette’s court-appointed attorney, the accused cop killer graduated from Dunbar High School and has worked in construction and maintenance.
Legghette’s criminal history includes convictions in two drug cases, a weapon offense, misdemeanor battery, and a robbery in the late 1990s in which he and a co-defendant held up two people at gunpoint before leading police on a high-speed expressway chase, according to prosecutors.
In brief remarks after Bauer’s funeral, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said Legghette “shouldn’t even have been out on the street in the first place.”
But he was, which says something about his character.
A new police and fire training academy in West Garfield Park will be named after Bauer, authorities announced in the days after his slaying.
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