By Megan Crepeau Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — A four-time felon accused of killing Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer has been formally indicted on more than 50 counts of murder, gun and other felony charges, court records show.
The indictment said that Cook County prosecutors intend to seek a life sentence for Shomari Legghette if convicted, since Bauer was a police officer killed while performing his official duties.
A grand jury returned 56 counts in all against Legghette, including 24 counts of first-degree murder, six counts of armed violence, two drug counts and various weapons violations.
Bauer, 53, a veteran police commander, was fatally shot outside the Thompson Center administrative building last month after he heard a police radio call about a chase, spotted Legghette run by and pursued him on foot, authorities have said.
Legghette, 44, wearing a bright orange jumpsuit, appeared briefly in court Friday afternoon as prosecutors announced he had been formally indicted. He will return to the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Monday to be arraigned on the 56 counts and learn which judge will preside over his case.
The indictment lists all the charges but little more in the way of detail or narrative.
County prosecutors often seek to indict defendants on multiple counts at first, then drop all but the strongest charges as the case nears trial.
Officers patrolling Lower Wacker Drive because of a recent shooting and drug sales in the area approached Legghette on Feb. 13, but he bolted when an officer stepped out of his police vehicle, identified himself as an officer and approached him, authorities said.
The officer gave chase on foot and radioed a description. Bauer, downtown for a meeting with aldermen after attending training for mass shootings earlier in the day, was on duty and in uniform in his police vehicle at Lake and Clark streets when he heard the radio call of a fleeing suspect. Moments later, Bauer saw Legghette running nearby, got out of his vehicle and ran after him, authorities said.
Bauer chased down Legghette at the top of a stairwell outside the Thompson Center and attempted to detain him, authorities said. The two struggled, ending up on a landing below. Legghette, who was wearing body armor, drew a handgun and fired seven shots, fatally wounding Bauer, prosecutors said.
Bauer’s weapon was still holstered. His police radio and handcuffs were found next to his body.
Officers found a loaded 9 mm handgun with an extended clip in Legghette’s possession as well as heroin, marijuana and cocaine, prosecutors said.
Legghette was ordered held without bail last month. He is being held in Kankakee County Jail, records show.
At Legghette’s bond hearing, prosecutors revealed that three civilian witnesses identified him as the man who struggled with Bauer at the top of the Thompson Center stairwell. Surveillance video also captured the struggle, they said, and Legghette’s right hand and coat tested positive for gunshot residue.
His court-appointed attorney noted at Legghette’s bond hearing that he graduated from Dunbar High School and has worked in construction and maintenance.
Legghette’s criminal history includes convictions in two drug cases, a gun offense, a misdemeanor battery and a robbery in the late 1990s in which he and a co-defendant robbed two people at gunpoint before leading police on a high-speed expressway chase, prosecutors have said.
In brief remarks after Bauer’s funeral, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Legghette “shouldn’t even have been out on the street in the first place.”
A new police and fire training academy in West Garfield Park will be named after Bauer, authorities announced in the days after his slaying.
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