Testimony in the trial of the man accused of murdering Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer ended Thursday without the alleged killer taking the witness stand despite his defense attorney saying he would.
In openings statements last week, Shomari Legghette’s lawyer, Scott Kamin, said his client would describe the struggle he had with 53-year-old Bauer in a downtown stairwell before the fatal shooting in February 2018.
Kamin said that Legghette had no idea that Bauer was a police officer as the commander chased him in the Loop and grabbed him by the jacket outside the Thompson Center. The two men tumbled down a nearby stairwell, and Bauer put Legghette in a “chokehold,” prompting Legghette to draw a gun and fire at the officer, Kamin said.
Legghette’s account would be crucial to building a case for self-defense, but the defense rested after calling only one witness, Marcus Perkins, a longtime friend of the four-time felon. Kamin also entered into evidence a McDonald’s receipt from the lunch Legghette shared with a female acquaintance minutes before Bauer was shot.
Perkins said he had been friends with Legghette since they were in their early 20s. When they would hang out, Perkins often noticed his friend was wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying a pistol. Legghette was wearing a similar vest when he was arrested for Bauer’s murder. Legghette often wore body armor and carried a gun because of the dangers of his occasional work as a drug dealer, Kamin explained to Cook County jurors earlier.
On cross-examination, Assistant State’s Attorney John Maher asked Perkins if he was aware of Legghette’s success as a high school basketball player, and whether Legghette had other friends, like Perkins, who were successful in school and legitimate businesses.
“You have friends in common . . . They’re successful contributors to society?” Maher asked.
“I think so,” Perkins replied.
“Do any of them wear body armor when you go out with them socially?” Maher asked.
Perkins said they did not, and that he and other friends had tried to find jobs for Legghette over the years.
“But they didn’t stick, huh?” Maher asked.
“Nope, unfortunately,” Perkins said. “It’s sad.”
Although he didn’t testify Thursday, Legghette gave Chicago Magazine an interview soon after his arrest. He later wrote a letter to ABC-7, claimed Bauer was killed by “friendly fire” from fellow police officers.
Legghette, 46, faces a potential life sentence if convicted. Closing arguments are expected to begin Friday morning.