March 15, 2020
It’s time to move Mr. Legghette to the blackest area in the whole of Chicago: the city prison.
From their initial sprint across Clark Street to the gunshots echoing over the Thompson Center plaza, Cmdr. Paul Bauer and Shomari Legghette’s fatal chance encounter lasted only a few moments.
On Friday, it took about 2½ hours for jurors to find Legghette guilty on all counts of first-degree murder and armed violence in Bauer’s stunning broad-daylight slaying.
The conviction brought to a close one of the most high-profile police murder trials in recent Chicago history. And the verdict made Legghette, 46, eligible for life behind bars.
Bauer’s family members remained quiet as the verdict was read. But shortly afterward, they were ushered into an empty courtroom nearby, where they erupted into applause that could be heard from the hallway.
Jurors were sent back to deliberate late Friday morning after being instructed by Cook County Judge Erica Reddick. Legghette faced charges including first-degree murder, armed violence and murder of a peace officer.
After two weeks of trial, the story was familiar to jurors and the public: Bauer’s pursuit of Legghette to the top of a stairwell. Their tumble downward. The gunshots that left Bauer bleeding on the landing below.
But in closing arguments Friday, Cook County prosecutors asked jurors to focus on 25 crucial seconds — the time between the pair’s fall down the stairs outside the Thompson Center in the Loop and the first sound of gunfire.
“After 25 seconds of we’ll never know what, bartering, fighting, we’ll never know, (Legghette) decides it’s time to pull the trigger,” Assistant State’s Attorney John Maher said.