The man accused of gunning down Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer entered a plea of not guilty Monday to first-degree murder and more than 50 counts of other felonies tied to the crime.
Some two dozen uniformed CPD officers and Supt. Eddie Johnson marched through the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in the morning, trailing 44-year-old Shomari Legghette as he was shuttled between two courtrooms.
Johnson huddled with Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney John Maher – the lead prosecutor on the case – between hearings, and joined the columns of officers standing in the aisle of the tiny courtroom gallery during Legghette’s arraignment before Judge Erica Reddick.
At Maher’s request, Reddick entered a “decorum” order, barring parties to the case from releasing potential evidence or commenting on the case. The order, essentially gagging lawyers from speaking to the press or sharing evidence, was opposed by Legghette’s court-appointed attorneys.
Legghette allegedly encountered Bauer as he was being chased by police officers outside the Thompson Center in broad daylight on a busy workday, Maher noted. Alone, Bauer pursued Legghette down a staircase, and the two men struggled in a stairwell, where Legghette shot the veteran commander six times, prosecutors have said.
“The murder was alleged to have occurred in a very public place, there are a lot of tall buildings with windows,” Maher said, noting the potential for more witnesses. “There could be witnesses coming forward in the near future and everything they see…would limit both sides to test the credibility of those witnesses.”