Jury sequestered after failing to reach verdict in double-murder trial

SHARE Jury sequestered after failing to reach verdict in double-murder trial

After failing to reach a verdict following six and a half hours of deliberations Tuesday night, Cook County jurors were sequestered by the judge in the Timothy Herring double-murder trial and sent to a hotel for the night.

The jury will reconvene at 10 a.m. Wednesday to renew deliberations.

Herring, 24, is charged with killing Chicago Police Officer Michael Flisk and former CHA cop Stephen Peters.

It was “not enough” for Herring to steal parts of Peters’ prized Ford Mustang on Nov. 26, 2010, Assistant Cook County Thomas Mahoney said during the trial on Tuesday.

“That day, Timothy Herring was not interested in peace. He was interested in violence. He was interested in spilling the blood of Michael Flisk and Stephen Peters,” the prosecutor said, detailing how the then-teenage parolee allegedly shot both victims “execution style” in the head because he didn’t want to go back to jail.

Mahoney said Herring’s deadly plan was set in motion months before when he told his cousin Meosha Menzies that he had been eyeing the car Peters had parked in his mother’s garage.

When Peters, 44, reported the break-in and Flisk, an evidence technician, arrived at the scene of the crime, Herring knew he “had been had.”

So he opened fire that afternoon in the 8100 block of South Burnham Avenue, Mahoney said.

A few relatives of Flisk and Peters fled Judge Mary Margaret Brosnahan’s courtroom Tuesday when prosecutors played the emotional 911 call Peters’ mother made when she saw her son lying in an alley near her home.

The elderly woman saw a man “dancing with a garbage can” down the street after she heard the gunshots. But she never identified Herring.

Fortunately for investigators, Mahoney said, Herring confessed to at least five women that he had pulled the trigger. Defense attorneys described the women as untrustworthy and opportunistic during the duration of the seven-day trial.

Two women — Tranay Smith and Diamond Owens — who had been smoking marijuana with Herring earlier in the day said they picked him up after the shootings and saw him with a gun as he cut his dreadlocks and started removing his clothes.

One of Herring’s ex-girlfriends, another of Herring’s cousins and Menzies also begrudgingly testified that Herring told them that he had killed Flisk, 46, and Peters, who was known in the neighborhood as “Sweet Pea.”

Assistant Public Defender Gina Piemonte called the family and friends who testified against Herring “liars.”

The group was motivated to twist the truth because they were interested in the reward money detectives were offering or they didn’t want to be put behind bars for obstruction of justice, Piemonte said.

“These are the witnesses the prosecutors want you to believe, one liar after the next,” the defense attorney said in her closing arguments.

Piemonte also pointed out that her client could not be tied to the “mountain of evidence” police had gathered.

Herring’s fingerprint was found on a car mirror-mounting bracket that was tossed inside a garbage can with various stolen parts of Peters’ Mustang.

That “was his calling card,” Mahoney said.

But Piemonte said because Herring lived in the neighborhood, it wouldn’t be surprising to find his fingerprints inside an area garbage.

Prosecutors shot back, emphasizing that Herring made damning phone calls to his girlfriend while in Cook County Jail.

In one call, Herring allegedly mentioned Smith, who gave Herring’s friend, Timothy Willis, a bag containing the gun.

“If that bitch Tranay don’t come to this trial, I’m decent,” Herring is heard saying on the recording.

“He was not then, he is not now, nor will he ever be — no matter how hard he tries — the victim in the case,” Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats said of Herring.

Magats also told jurors to remember that Herring’s phone went silent during the time period Flisk and Peters were murdered.

Afterward, Herring’s phone activity spiked. Those were moments of Herring’s “panic and planning,” Magats said.

“Even when no one was watching, he showed what he is. A double-murderer, a cop killer. Don’t make him anything less,” Magats urged the jury.

In addition to Flisk and Peters’ murder, Herring also is charged with burglary.

Willis, now 27, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2013 after pleading guilty to an obstruction of justice charge.

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