Prosecution rests in trial of man accused of murdering CPD Cmdr. Paul Bauer
Shomari Legghette is expected to take the stand Thursday to make case for self-defense in the 2018 fatal shooting.
Cook County prosecutors Wednesday rested their case against Shomari Legghette, the gunman who allegedly murdered Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer in 2018.
Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar was the final witness called by the state, and spent about an hour on the stand cataloguing Bauer’s six gunshot wounds.
Jurors saw a handful of autopsy photos that were flashed on a courtroom monitoring screen. The three aisles in the courtroom gallery reserved for Bauer’s family were empty.
Bauer, 53, was shot twice in the head, once in the neck and twice in the torso. Bullets that penetrated his brain and tore through his chest cavity likely were rapidly fatal, Arunkumar said. The police veteran also was struck in the arm. All but one of the gunshot wounds were “through-and-through” injuries, Arunkumar said.
Arunkumar said none of the wounds appeared to have come from gunshots that were fired at close range — an apparent blow to the defense’s claim that Legghette shot Bauer as the two men struggled in a stairwell outside the Thompson Center.
In opening statements, defense attorney Scott Kamin said Bauer put Legghette in a chokehold after chasing Legghette as he fled from officers who had spotted him urinating on a column on Lower Wacker Drive.
Legghette, 46, is expected to take the witness stand when the trial resumes Thursday.
Arunkumar conceded during cross-examination that the multiple layers of clothing Bauer had been wearing might have prevented the tell-tale powder burns that would have appeared on his skin if he had been shot at close range.
Earlier Wednesday, Maurice Henderson, a clerk who worked at the Daley Center, testified that as he walked through a revolving door at the Thompson Center, he saw Bauer chasing Legghette and grabbing Legghette by the collar of his jacket. Henderson said after he raced out of the Thompson Center, he saw the two men tumble down an open stairwell. Henderson said he took a few steps down the stairs. “I heard some gunshots, so I ran back up,” Henderson said.
Seconds later, as he peered over a railing, Henderson saw Legghette coming up, pulling up the hood on his jacket as officers rushed to the stairway entrance. Henderson said he did not see any of those officers fire any shots down the stairwell.
Video evidence from a police surveillance camera mounted across the street from the Thompson Center showed Bauer and Legghette struggling before falling into the stairwell, and Henderson rushing out to the staircase.
Police video experts discussed “pinning” various camera footage to splice together a synchronized version of events from multiple camera angles — a hint that prosecutors may later play combined video from surveillance cameras, police body cameras and bystanders’ cellphones.