A jury convicted 22-year-old Shawn Gaston Wednesday of first-degree murder and attempted murder in the shooting death of a Chicago police officer.
Officer Alejandro “Alex” Valadez, 27, was following up on a report of shots fired in the 6000 block of South Hermitage June 1, 2009 when he was shot and killed.
Prosecutors told the jury Gaston and two friends opened fire from a car on Valadez and other officers, all in plainclothes, the Tribune reported:
Police later found three guns — a .357-caliber revolver, a .40-caliber handgun and a rifle — in the car’s trunk, prosecutors said. The shots that struck Valadez were fired from the revolver, prosecutors said.
But a police forensic scientist testified Monday that none of the DNA taken from those three weapons matched Gaston’s, the Sun-Times reported. It is possible, Illinois State
Police forensic scientist Megan Neff said, that Gaston could have touched the weapon without leaving any DNA behind.
Gaston’s attorney told jurors the defendant was “a good kid,” and suggested the lack of DNA evidence could indicate a police conspiracy:
“They’re not telling the truth,” attorney John Paul Carroll said during closing arguments. “Something is going on here.”But [Cook County State’s Attorney Anita] Alvarez, personally prosecuting the case, countered that the evidence — not a conspiracy — tied Gaston to Valadez’s killing.
“This is not CSI,” Alvarez told jurors in reference to the popular TV series. “This is not some murder mystery movie. This is Chicago. This is Englewood. This is reality.”
Neff testified that DNA from Gaston’s two co-defendants was found on a pistol and the revolver that reportedly killed Valadez. Kevin Walker and Christopher Harris are also charged in the murder and will be tried later.
After watching the video I was confused. Further research shows that Gaston did admit to the shooting, but he only admitted to the shooting because he did not know a cop had been killed.
Assistant State’s Attorney Fabio Valentini said he never informed the South Side man a Chicago Police officer was hit in the June 1, 2009, shooting.
“I did the shooting,” Gaston said matter-of-factly in a 15-minute videotaped statement that Assistant State’s Attorney Jeffrey Allen presented to the jury hearing the case against Gaston in Judge Jorge Alonso’s courtroom.
Gaston said he and his best friend, Kevin Walker, had just finished getting matching tattoos from a “big fat white dude” when the gray Pontiac G6 they were in was shot at 10 times.
Gaston retrieved a 9mm weapon he had hidden in a neighbor’s back porch and told Walker they were “fitting to go right back” and avenge the attack, Gaston said on videotape.
He then directed Walker to drive back to the South Hermitage address. “I told him [Walker] to slow down. I’d seen people standing right there, and I shot them,” Gaston, 22, said on camera.
“Right there,” according to prosecutors, was where Valadez had been talking to Englewood resident Kelvin Thomas while following up on the shots fired just five minutes earlier that had irked Gaston.
Gaston said he and some “n – - – - – -” on Hermitage had been fighting for a while, but he told Valentini and a detective that it wasn’t a gang-related dispute.
Gaston had confessed hours before he agreed to be videotaped and used his right hand to make a shooting motion, said Valentini, chief of the State’s Attorney’s Office Criminal Bureau.
So basically he thought he was admitting to shooting some black men, he had no idea the men standing there were cops… Seeing as to how they were in plainclothes..
Killing is killing. It’s wrong. But I’m kind of opposed to the 125 years because that sentence was only given because a cop had died. But he didn’t purposelly kill a cop, although he purposely meant to kill someone… Shawn is not even 25 yet and he has a life sentence plus… I don’t understand why people do such violent acts and then uncowardly just own up to it and admit to it. These people clearly just throw their lives a way with very little thought.