Van Dyke Trial Day 9: Testimony wraps for the day
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3:59 p.m. Testimony wraps for the day
Following testimony that reviewed FBI expert Mark Messick’s preparation of the enhanced shooting video, evidence wrapped for the day.
“Keep up the outstanding work,” Judge Vincent Gaughan told the jurors, adding “safe trip and we’ll see you tomorrow.”
3:45 p.m. FBI video expert back on the stand for a re-do
The FBI video expert whose testimony was stricken Tuesday, Mark Messick, returned to the witness stand Wednesday afternoon to talk about the enhanced video he prepared of Laquan McDonald’s fatal shooting.
Before Messick took the stand, Judge Vincent Gaughan told the jurors that everything Messick said Tuesday — “even his name” — had to be forgotten.
Gaughan struck Messick’s previous testimony because of Messick’s lack of ballistics expertise. Messick said he relied on an FBI ballistics expert to help him prepare his video. That wasn’t good enough for the judge.
“We’re starting from scratch,” Gaughan told jurors. He added later: “Completely eliminate everything you heard from yesterday.”
3:27 p.m. McDonald’s great uncle predicts a conviction
During a break in the trial, Laquan McDonald’s great uncle declared, “I believe we’re going to get a conviction in this matter.”
Marvin Hunter spoke to reporters in the lobby of the Leighton Criminal Court Building as the Rev. Jesse Jackson stood nearby. Hunter said, “I believe that courts across this country will begin to follow the pattern that has been laid here in Chicago. We’re seeking justice and we’re trying to set a precedent in this matter.”
“Once he is convicted — and I’m thinking positively — it’s going to say to African Americans in Chicago and around this country that we can get justice,” Hunter said. “At this point, we have no precedent that says that an African American can get justice in this country when they are shot down in cold blood by a police officer.”
3:18 p.m. Did Laquan McDonald bleed from every gunshot wound?
Defense attorney Dan Herbert wrapped up his cross-examination of Cook County Medical Examiner Ponni Arunkumar by showing her a crime scene photo depicting Laquan McDonald’s blood in the street after he was fatally shot.
The photo appears to depict two pools of blood, one streaking across the road. Throughout his questioning, Herbert challenged Arunkumar’s assertion that McDonald bled from each gunshot wound he suffered on Oct. 20, 2014.
With the lights dimmed in the courtroom and the photo on a video screen, Herbert asked Arunkumar, “looking at that, would you agree with me that that does not depict a significant amount of blood from somebody that would have been shot 16 times?”
“There is blood at the scene,” Arunkumar said. “I cannot quantify it.”
2:48 p.m. Defense challenges medical examiner as trial resumes
As the murder trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke resumed Wednesday afternoon, defense attorney Dan Herbert began to challenge Cook County Medical Examiner Ponni Arunkumar.
Before a lunch break, Arunkumar told jurors that each of the 16 gunshot wounds suffered by Laquan McDonald on Oct. 20, 2014 contributed to his death. Following the break, Herbert confronted Arunkumar with the findings of an expert who said the fourth gunshot wound killed McDonald.
That wound was found on the right side of McDonald’s chest, according to Arunkumar testimony. She said Wednesday afternoon it might have involved McDonald’s pulmonary artery. Under questioning by Herbert, Arunkumar acknowledged that such a wound “can be rapidly fatal.”
1:39 p.m. Medical examiner tells jurors about PCP in McDonald’s system
Cook County Medical Examiner Ponni Arunkumar told jurors Wednesday afternoon about toxicology testing performed on Laquan McDonald, including his positive test for angel dust, or PCP.
Arunkumar said an initial toxicology test performed on McDonald found on Dec. 11, 2014, that he had no cocaine, alcohol or opiates in his system. However, a second test was performed at the request of a prosecutor, she said.
That test found on March 31, 2015 that PCP was in McDonald’s system at a level that could lead to visual disturbances, drowsiness, agitation, hallucinations, aggressiveness and other symptoms.
The trial broke for lunch around 1:37 p.m. after prosecutors finished questioning Arunkumar.
1:27 p.m. Additional wounds suffered by Laquan McDonald
Following her testimony about Laquan McDonald’s gunshot wounds, Cook County Medical Examiner Ponni Arunkumar described additional wounds suffered by Laquan McDonald.
Among them were scrapes to McDonald’s face and metal fragments found in McDonald’s mouth. For this testimony, prosecutors showed jurors an autopsy photograph of McDonald’s face with his lip pulled back to reveal the fragments stuck in his teeth.
McDonald also suffered scrapes to his right shoulder and right wrist, Arunkumar said.
1:12 p.m. Medical examiner continues to describe Laquan McDonald’s wounds
Cook County Medical Examiner Ponni Arunkumar continued to describe Laquan McDonald’s wounds after a brief break. She described gunshot wounds nine through 16 as follows:
9. A gunshot wound to McDonald’s left upper back, which exited his body.
10. A gunshot wound to McDonald’s left elbow, close to the fifth gunshot wound. This one also exited his body.
11. A gunshot wound to the back of McDonald’s right upper arm. It exited his body through the right upper back.
12. A gunshot wound to McDonald’s right upper forearm. A bullet was recovered from his body.
13. A gunshot wound to the back of McDonald’s right forearm. A bullet was recovered from his body.
14. A gunshot wound to McDonald’s right hand. Bullet fragments were recovered from his body.
15. A gunshot wound to McDonald’s lower right back. A bullet was recovered from his body.
16. A gunshot wound to McDonald’s right upper thigh. It exited McDonald’s body through the back of his right upper thigh.
12:42 p.m. ‘The most heinous crime since the lynching of Emmett Till’
The Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke to reporters when he arrived at the Leighton Criminal Court Building to watch the trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke. He called it a “very expensive trial.”
“This must be a case that defines — just for us in this city and across our nation — the most heinous crime since the lynching of Emmett Till, and we intend to be witness every day until there’s a resolution.”
When he walked into the courtroom, Jackson hugged Laquan McDonald’s great uncle, Marvin Hunter. After speaking to Hunter and Hunter’s wife, Jackson took a seat in the gallery two rows behind Van Dyke’s wife, Tiffany. An aide appeared to point out Van Dyke for Jackson once testimony began.
12:31 p.m. Judge to jurors: ‘Nobody is allowed to capture your image’
Following a break, Judge Vincent Gaughan addressed concerns from jurors that their images might be captured by cameras in the courtroom. Gaughan said “nobody is allowed to capture your image.”
He acknowledged that attorneys are allowed to have their cell phones in the courtroom.
“These are honorable people,” Gaughan said. “They will not capture your image or I guarantee you I’ll capture their image.”
Meanwhile, the Rev. Jesse Jackson has made an appearance in the gallery of the courtroom.
12:12 p.m. ‘There were 16 gunshot wounds to the body of Laquan McDonald’
Cook County Medical Examiner Ponni Arunkumar took the stand and explained Laquan McDonald’s injuries to jurors. She went through half of his wounds before the court took a 10-minute break.
“There were 16 gunshot wounds to the body of Laquan McDonald,” Arunkumar said early in her testimony.
Prosecutors displayed graphic photos of McDonald’s body throughout her testimony — some that actually showed multiple gunshot wounds at once. Another showed the incision where his chest had been cut open. Prosecutors also showed X-rays.
Here is how Arunkumar described the first eight wounds:
1. A graze wound on the left side of his scalp. Arunkumar said McDonald was alive for this gunshot wound.
2. A gunshot wound to the left side of the base of McDonald’s neck. A bullet was recovered from his body.
3. A gunshot wound to the left side of McDonald’s chest and close to the second gunshot wound. It left his body through the back of his left arm.
4. A gunshot wound to the right side of McDonald’s chest. A bullet was recovered from his body.
5. A gunshot wound to McDonald’s left elbow, which exited the body.
6. A gunshot wound to the back of McDonald’s right upper arm, which exited the body.
7 A gunshot wound to the back of McDonald’s left forearm, which exited the body.
8. A gunshot wound to McDonald’s right upper thigh. The bullet traveled to his left upper leg, where it was recovered.
11:08 a.m. Medical Examiner takes the stand
Chief Cook County Medical Examiner Ponni Arunkumar took the stand Wednesday morning. Prosecutors have said her testimony, in part, will help bolster their effort to enter the enhanced shooting video prepared by the FBI into evidence.
View Laquan McDonald’s autopsy report below
10:45 a.m. ‘He was dead you were trying to get him back to life?’
Lawyers continued to spar over the moment of Laquan McDonald’s death when Mark Smith, a paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department, took the stand.
Smith said McDonald had a pulse of 60 beats per minute when paramedics got to the scene of the shooting. He said McDonald lost his pulse before he got to the hospital, though. Defense attorney Randy Rueckert again pushed the notion that McDonald was dead before he got to the hospital, including when paramedics tried performing chest compressions.
“He was dead, you were trying to get him back to life?” Rueckert asked as prosecutors objected unsuccessfully.
Smith said, “at that point his heart had stopped and we were doing chest compressions.”
When questioned again by assistant special prosecutor Joseph Cullen, Smith acknowledged that McDonald had a pulse at the scene despite appearing unresponsive. McDonald lost his pulse in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Smith said paramedics still performed CPR.
10:27 a.m. Judge to prosecutor: ‘Stop the drama’
Judge Vincent Gaughan warned a prosecutor to “stop the drama” as he questioned a registered nurse who was working at Mount Sinai Hospital the night Laquan McDonald was killed.
The nurse, Alan Gayan, offered basic chain-of-custody testimony regarding bullet fragments taken from McDonald’s clothing on Oct. 20, 2014. But he said, under cross-examination by defense attorney Randy Rueckert, that McDonald was dead when he arrived at the hospital.
Assistant Special Prosecutor Joseph Cullen questioned Gayan about that comment, the fact that five doctors worked on McDonald, and their effort to save McDonald in the emergency room, even cutting open his chest.
“Did those doctors work on him for practice or were they trying to help a person remain alive?” Cullen asked.
Gaughan sustained multiple objections and told Cullen to “stay away from this.”
10:04 a.m. Attorneys agree on a deal for FBI expert, enhanced video
Attorneys emerged from their conference with the judge with an agreement on FBI video expert Mark Messick.
Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon said Messick will be called back to the stand and questioned only about his area of expertise — video forensic enhancement. McMahon said no further video will be played so that the judge could still consider whether to allow it in once he hears from additional witnesses.
Jason Van Dyke’s defense attorney, Dan Herbert, said he agreed with the plan.
9:45 a.m. Prosecutors fight to bring FBI expert, video back into trial
Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon asked Judge Vincent Gaughan to reconsider tossing testimony given Tuesday by an FBI video expert, Mark Messick.
Messick prepared special versions of the infamous dashcam video of Laquan McDonald’s Oct. 20, 2014 shooting death. His video enhanced the area around McDonald and included arrows that appeared to depict the moments when McDonald was struck by Van Dyke’s gunfire.
Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke’s lawyers attacked Messick’s testimony and his lack of expertise in ballistics. Messick said he worked with the ballistics section of the FBI to prepare the video. Still, Gaughan said Tuesday that ballistics was “not his area of expertise” and told the jury to “totally disregard” his testimony.
McMahon argued Wednesday that testimony from a ballistics expert, as well as a pathologist, would offer proper foundation for the video. Gaughan said Messick’s testimony about an area beyond his expertise “should have never been allowed.” But he did not immediately rule on the request. Instead, he held a conference with attorneys from both sides.
Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon and his team are expected to begin calling witnesses for a third day Wednesday as they continue to make their case against Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke. Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan asked attorneys to be in the courtroom by 9 a.m.
Here’s a video recap of Tuesday’s testimony from Sun-Times reporters Jon Seidel and Andy Grimm, who have been covering the trial since it began: