Paris Sadler’s attorneys spent days arguing why his arrest for shooting a Chicago Police officer should be thrown out, and why the .38-caliber handgun found in his South Side home should not be allowed at trial because the weapon was recovered in an illegal search.
Through the arduous pretrial stages, which exposed controversial tactics used by authorities, a veteran prosecutor was fired for allegedly lying in an evidentiary hearing against Sadler.
But before Sadler, 24, was given the chance to prove his innocence to a jury, he decided on Wednesday to plead guilty to shooting and seriously injuring Officer Del Pearson.
Cook County prosecutors and assistant public defenders were in the midst of preparing jurors’ questionnaires for Sadler’s trial when he opted to admit his role in the 2012 crime.
Judge Thaddeus Wilson is expected to sentence Sadler to 25 years in prison for attempted murder on Thursday.
Sadler’s case drew additional headlines in September, when Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Lattanzio was fired after he testified that he had made no changes to a statement he took from Talaina Cureton, Sadler’s mother, the day after the shooting. But defense attorneys presented a recording of her interview, which she had made with a tablet computer hidden in her purse.
Cureton said she never allowed police to search her home in the 8500 block of South Kingston.
At the time, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said she was “appalled . . . livid . . . outraged” by Lattanzio’s conduct.
Despite the series of hearings and alarming revelations surrounding Sadler’s arrest, in December, Wilson ruled that key evidence should be allowed at trial because Cureton could have been bending the truth like Lattanzio.
Cureton said that her tablet had a recording of her telling Lattanzio that she asked police for a lawyer before they searched her home. But no such video exists.
“. . . Things aren’t that simple, as the defendant fails to take into account the possibility that both of these individuals might be lying, shading the truth, or ‘misremembering’ the facts,” Wilson wrote in his 53-page ruling.
Sadler shot Pearson, a South Chicago District officer, twice as the officer chased him down an alley.
Seconds before, Pearson and his colleagues had stopped to question Sadler and others for a possible curfew violation when Sadler ran away.
Sadler tried to escape into a friend’s home, but the buddy wouldn’t open the door. Sadler then turned around and shot Pearson, authorities said at the time.
One of bullets struck Pearson’s bulletproof vest; the other hit an artery in his shoulder.
Pearson, a married father of two, nearly bled to death after the March 19, 2012, incident.
Wilson set Sadler’s bail at $1 million late last year when his defense attorney, Ashley Shambley, mentioned to the judge that it was unfathomable that her client was being held without bond while Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was given $1.5 million bail for a shooting in which a civilian died.