Cook County jurors Thursday were shown the blood-soaked shirt that was taken off Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer’s body after he was shot to death.
Evidence photos on the third day of alleged gunman Shomari Legghette’s murder trial depicted Bauer’s white dress shirt as it appeared when it had been removed at the Cook County medical examiner’s office two years ago.
The shirt was almost completely stained bright red, with blood on the 53-year-old Bauer’s nameplate and badge.
Judge Erica Reddick had warned jurors and courtroom observers — including two rows of Bauer’s friends and family —to prepare for the “sensitive” images to flash on a courtroom monitor.
Bauer was shot six times as he struggled with Legghette in a stairwell near the Thompson Center in February 2018.
While the image of the shirt was striking, defense attorney Scott Kamin was more concerned with the holes in the navy blue winter jacket Bauer was wearing over the shirt and a single spent bullet technicians found on the ground above the stairwell.
Kamin is making the case that Legghette, now 46, did not know Bauer was a police officer and was acting in self-defense when he pulled the trigger.
Legghette also sent a letter to ABC-7 suggesting that Bauer was killed by “friendly fire.”
Kamin asked former Chicago police forensic investigator David Ryan to identify the source of holes in Bauer’s jacket —likely so he could later argue that it proves Bauer’s jacket was zipped and concealed his badge. He also asked Ryan whether he was told at that time that officers who apprehended Legghette had pulled their guns on him. Ryan said the holes appeared to be from bullets, and that detectives at the scene did not mention that the arresting officers had pointed their guns down the stairwell.
Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier pointed out that the spent bullet could have been moved around accidentally as officers flooded the scene.
“If someone was standing north of these stairs, firing down, you would not expect to find a bullet at the top of the stairs, would you?” Lanier asked.