Cook County prosecutors said Anton Carter bragged about killing Chicago Police Officer Michael Bailey to numerous people: friends from his neighborhood; a prison barber and inmates with whom he shared a courthouse holding cell for a few hours while waiting for a hearing.
But in a videotaped interrogation with a pair of detectives nearly a year after Bailey’s murder, the alleged cop-killer was cagey.
As Carter’s trial for Bailey’s murder continued into its second week on Tuesday, prosecutors played video of the July 2011 interrogation, showing a relatively civil exchange between detectives and a then 24-year-old suspect who was picking at a gyro sandwich. Carter, whose first name is listed as “Antwon” in court records, talked gamely about his technique as a “stickup guy” but wouldn’t admit to killing Bailey even after detectives told him he’d been identified by witnesses in a lineup.
“I ain’t got no violence in my background,” Carter said, at one point during the 20 minutes or so of the interrogation played in court, his voice barely audible over the rustle of sandwich wrappers.
Before the taping started, detectives who confronted Carter found him willing to talk about a botched car-jacking that became a car chase that ended with a crash, Det. Timothy Murphy testified.
“He laughed, and asked how he was identified,” Murphy said.
Carter was open about his criteria for targets, and that he sought out people who seemed unlikely to resist when he flashed a gun, Murphy said. Another detective offered that perhaps Carter chose the wrong man when he approached the 62-year-old cop, who was wearing a baseball jersey over his uniform as he washed a brand-new Buick in front of his house early on the morning of July 18, 2010.
“There’s a difference between holding somebody up and shooting a police officer,” the detective said. “That’s the gamble you take when you put a pistol in somebody’s face. Something can go wrong.”
The prosecution’s case so far has hinged largely on testimony from those “snitch” witnesses and friends of Carter who said they heard Carter brag about killing Bailey. Carter’s lawyers have said those comments were more so bragging by a scrawny “stickup kid” who wanted to build his reputation on the street and in jail. The murder weapon was never found, and no physical evidence links Carter to the shooting.
Testimony is expected to resume Thursday.