Should “psychopath” ex-CPD cop Steve Mandell die in prison?

SHARE Should “psychopath” ex-CPD cop Steve Mandell die in prison?
SHARE Should “psychopath” ex-CPD cop Steve Mandell die in prison?

He took sexual pleasure in meticulously planning the abduction, torture and murder of a suburban businessman.

And former Chicago cop Steve Mandell is an “evil … psychopath” who has killed before and deserves to die in prison, federal prosecutors say.

But Mandell’s attorney says the 64-year-old should be given a break and should serve less than a dozen years — because he previously spent more than a decade on Death Row for a murder conviction that was ultimately overturned.

Convicted in February in one of the grisliest and most lurid federal trials in Chicago’s recent history, Mandell plotted to abduct Riverside businessman Steve Campbell, take him to a purpose-built Northwest Side torture chamber, extorthim into turning over property, then kill him and chop him up with a meat cleaver and a buzz-saw on a man-sized butcher’s block.

An FBI camera hidden inside the torture chamber filmed him joking with accomplice Gary Engel about how he’d turn Campbell’s private parts into a “banana split,” then drain his blood in a giant sink.

The only question for U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve — who’s due to sentence Mandell on Dec. 11 — is whether he’ll live to taste freedom again.

“Only the stiffest sentence is possible for a barbaric individual like Mandell, who obviously takes perverse delight in hurting and torturing others,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amar Bhachu and Diane McArthur wrote in court papers filed late Thursday.

The filing includes lengthy excerpts from the transcript of Mandell chortling over his ghastly array of torture implements as he made his final preparations, including portions in which Mandell seems to boast he has killed before, in which he claims he is physically aroused by the prospect of murder, and in which he groans “Ohhh, ohh, oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh” at the thought of also killing Campbell’s daughter.

Government sentencing recommendation for Steve Mandell

Prosecutors are urging St. Eve to hand Mandell, who has ties to several Outfit figures and a string of burglary arrests, a sentence of life plus five years, “to ensure the public no longer faces any threat from this evil man.”

But defense attorney Francis Liupma says Mandell continues to deny his guilt, despite the damning video evidence from inside the torture chamber, which Mandell nicknamed “Club Med” and disguised behind a “Christian Consulting” storefront.

Mandell should have a “glimmer of hope that he will one day be free at an old age,” Lipuma wrote in a court filing this week.

And Lipumawants the judge to take into account the 14 years Mandell spent in prison after he was sentenced to deathfor a 1990 murder conviction that was eventually overturned on appeal.

Steve Mandell Sentencing Memo

Prosecutorial misconduct led to the collapse of that case, and “the courtshould consider the fact that Mandell’s constitutional protections were violated” and give him that time back now, Lipuma argues.

Lipuma alsowrote thatMandell’s health is failing and thatholdingthe five murders Mandell is suspected of but has not been convicted of against him is “scurrilous and unfounded.”

Though Mandell was a Chicago cop in the 1970s and he disguised himself as an officer as part ofthe abduction plot, his police experience didn’t help him in the plot and shouldn’t be held against him, Lipuma wrote.

Lipuma also urged St. Eve not to consider allegations that Mandell plotted from behind bars last year to have North Shore real estate magnate George Michael — the key witness against him — murdered, saying there was no evidence of such a plot.

Mandell, who has a history of burglary convictions and won a landmark $6.5 million civil verdict against the FBI over his 1990 murder case, only to see that verdict also tossed out by a judge, deserves credit for two years he spent in the Army in the 1970s, Lipuma wrote.

His accomplice Engel hanged himself in prison soon after their Oct. 2012 arrest.

“He must be sentenced with the benefit of considering the full measure of the man,including his positive contributions to society and his difficult life story,” the court filing states.

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