Cop killer Shomari Legghette gets life in prison for murder of Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer
Bauer’s family released a statement Wednesday expressing relief that Legghette will “never be able to cause this pain to another family.”
Cop killer Shomari Legghette appeared neither shocked nor dismayed when he was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for the murder of Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer.
The stoic Legghette didn’t apologize for the deadly February 2018 shooting and he didn’t acknowledge the emotional, yet composed statements Bauer’s widow and daughter made in Cook County Judge Erica Reddick’s courtroom minutes before.
Instead, Legghette, 47, said his trial had been anything but fair, and sought to re-litigate the case, casting himself as the victim.
“There was nothing fair about this prosecution,” Legghette said.
Bauer’s family later released a statement expressing relief that Legghette will “never be able to cause this pain to another family.”
However, the slain officer’s loved ones also noted, “Justice will never truly be served though, because his killer is still here, but Paul isn’t. For a brief moment I thought he would apologize, but no, he still hasn’t accepted responsibility for killing Paul.”
In her victim-impact statement in court, Bauer’s wife, Erin, said she preferred to focus on her husband’s life rather than his death, recounting how he was a gentleman and a hero who never sought recognition for his good deeds.
She also tenderly reflected on those qualities and dreams a partner most treasures: His sweet tooth, that he would do the dishes after she cooked and how he hoped to work in a bookstore after retiring as a cop.
“It’s sad not knowing what else he would have done with his life,” Erin Bauer said.
Grace Bauer said she often thinks about the many milestones her father will not be present for. In a perfect world, she said, he would still be making Eggo Waffles for her every morning.
“I’m not living in my perfect world anymore, and I can never go back to it,” Grace Bauer said.
Legghette was a “human crime wave” on Feb. 13, 2018 as he was carrying a gun with an extended clip, wearing body armor and was in possession of narcotics, prosecutors said.
“He knew he was going back to prison and that it was going to be a long stay based on his record,” Assistant State’s Attorney John Maher said Wednesday, explaining Legghette’s motive to gun Bauer down.
Legghette was found guilty on all six counts against him at the conclusion of a seven-day jury trial in March — right before most in-person hearings were halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Legghette said he did not know Bauer was a police officer when he was chased by the CPD veteran into stairwell near the Thompson Center.
Bauer, 53, was shot multiple times as he tried to take Legghette into custody.
During Legghette’s trial, Maher said Bauer’s police radio was squawking and that he had handcuffs out during the fateful encounter.
Before Bauer’s murder, plainclothes officers saw Legghette urinating on a support column on Lower Wacker Driver. When an officer called out, Legghette took off running, according to court testimony.
Bauer spotted Legghette coming out of a stairwell and joined the pursuit.
Edin Kulic, a cab driver who was waiting for his next fare outside the Thompson Center, testified that he saw the two men sprint across Clark Street. The two struggled at the top of a stairwell before they fell down the stairs out of view, Kulic said, adding that he recognized one of the men as a police officer.
Backing up the Kulic’s account was a security video from a camera inside his taxi.
After a quick succession of gunshots rang out, Kulic took cellphone video of officers arresting Legghette at the scene.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, in a statement Wednesday, called Bauer “a compassionate police officer and leader” who “showed bravery when he sacrificed his own life to protect this city.”
Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara, who watched the sentencing in an overflow room at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, took a more bombastic approach: “The piece of garbage” who took Bauer’s life made him “wish the death penalty was still in effect in Illinois.”
Legghette eventually opted not to take the stand during his trial — a decision defense attorney Scott Kamin said likely doomed his self-defense argument.
While Kamin disagreed with the outcome of the trial, he said he was not surprised by the judge’s sentence as he went to file a motion for an appeal Wednesday.
“Mr. Legghette wasn’t in a position where he was luring or trying to shoot a police officer,” Kamin said. “I still wish Mr. Legghette had taken the stand during trial. I think that would have made all the difference.”