Balding, bespectacled and occasionally smiling in court Thursday, Wayne Weinke Jr. looked the part of the beloved community man dozens of his supporters claim him to be.
“These are all admirable qualities, but they are not a defense to murder,” said Cook County Judge William Lacy, as he handed Weinke 40 years in prison for murdering his elderly mother, Gloria Weinke, in 2006.
Lacy said he’d received countless letters from supporters who called Weinke a great father, friend and husband.
In a case that’s torn apart a family — apparently forever — Weinke will head to prison for tossing his elderly, cancer-stricken mother over a railing and down some stairs in her Arlington Heights duplex on July 18, 2006, in a dispute over his inheritance.
With Weinke’s wife, two grown children and dozens of supporters looking on, Weinke’s sister, Gail Deadwyler, took to the witness stand Thursday, calling her brother an evil, money-mad liar.
“My heart has been broken, ripped out of my chest, stomped on and then beaten to a pulp,” Deadwyler began. “I would love to be able to forgive you — maybe later. I pray for that daily so my heart can be free.”
While his sister spoke, Weinke, who denies he had anything to do with his mother’s death, sometimes looked at his sister, but mostly stared straight ahead, his face impossible to read.
“You vowed to destroy me, ruin me,” Deadwyler said. “But you see, that is impossible, because your way to ruin someone is financially; that’s because you worship the almighty dollar. But I worship God, the father almighty, and you can’t hurt me anymore.”
During Weinke’s trial last year, prosecutors said the defendant was furious at his mother, believing he’d been cheated out of the wealth he felt he deserved. Weinke left the duplex after shoving his mother and turning out the lights behind him, prosecutors said. Though she lay alone in her own blood for 14 hours, Gloria Weinke survived for almost three months — long enough to make a videotaped deposition, in which she fingered her son.
On Thursday, Lacy cited the video, in which Gloria Weinke said she begged her son to help her as she lay unable to move, even telling him she still loved him.
Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Jim McKay told Lacy the video “tells the story of a man who loved money more than anything else.”
McKay told Lacy he would be justified in handing Weinke a sentence stiffer than the 20- to 60-year range for the murder.
Peter Hickey, Weinke’s attorney, argued 20 years is sufficient for a man without any criminal history.
Weinke chose not to speak at his sentencing.
“Every day that you lie down, you will have her blood upon you,” Deadwyler said, as her testimony came to a close Thursday. “Every time you lie down and wake up, that blood will still be there and may it lay heavy on your conscience.”