Juror No. 1: Female, appears to be Hispanic: A stay-at-home mother with three children younger than 10. Said she saw the protests while walking into the courthouse but didn’t pay attention to them. “I respect police officers and think they just do their jobs,” she wrote on her questionnaire. Defense tried to dismiss her for cause.
Juror No. 2: Female, white: A woman who works as a record-keeper for an undisclosed company, she said in her answers to a questionnaire that she had seen the video of Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald as well as some of the extensive media coverage of the case. Her partner works for the Department of Children and Family Services, an agency that played an important role in the life of McDonald, who was a ward of the state at the time of his death. Defense tried to dismiss her for cause.
Juror No. 3: Male, appears to be Asian: A financial analyst who specializes in private equity, the man seemed nervous during jury selection and barely spoke above a whisper. He wrote in his questionnaire that no one is above the law. “Everyone must abide by the law, including law enforcement officers,” he wrote.
Juror No. 4: Male, white: He spoke about his church’s efforts to address racial injustice. Having described himself during jury selection as a gay man, the juror said he was aware of the case but had not seen the video because he does not watch TV. He said he could be a fair juror, even though he had recently spoken to a black friend about discrimination he has faced. “I don’t think it’s a referendum on the state of the country or the state of my friends,” he said.
Juror No. 5: Female, white: The wife of a retired Navy man who now works for the Department of Defense, the juror said she knew about the case from the news but had not formed an opinion. She was not questioned about other personal details.
Juror No. 6: Female, black: A FedEx driver, the juror said she had seen the video of the shooting. She had no opinion about whether the officer was guilty, but she did have issues with the shooting. “I had an opinion about how many times the shots went off,” she said. “I can’t lie about that . ... That’s a lot of shots.” Defense tried to dismiss her for cause.
Juror No. 7: Male, white: Juror says he has “respect for police officers” and is a gun rights supporter. He has not seen the video and only vaguely knows about the case.
Juror No. 8: Female, Hispanic: The daughter of Texas field workers, the juror is currently unemployed. She has a 6-yearold daughter and two school-age grandchildren. She saw protests outside the courthouse and agreed with a defense attorney’s suggestion that the rally was “scary.” Defense tried to dismiss her for cause.
Juror No. 9: Female, white: Her family has close ties to Judge Gaughan’s family, as his brother stood up in her father’s wedding and his other brother is the godfather to the woman’s sister. Neither defense nor the prosecution considered the relationship an issue. The juror, who works in surgical billing, said she had seen the video and thought “a lot of shots were fired.” She also said she could be fair, acknowledging: “I know I saw only a very small portion of the video.”
Juror No. 10: Female, Hispanic: With the dream of becoming a police officer since she was 12, juror has applied for the Chicago Police Department and passed the exam. She said she was unware of the case before being tapped for the jury and that she wouldn’t worry that her verdict would affect her employment chances.
Juror No. 11: Male, white: He said he had seen the video and “thought the officer went too far.” Defense tried to remove him for cause. He has studied nuclear engineering.
Juror No. 12: Female, white: The woman, in her 30s, said in a questionnaire she filled out that “no matter what your occupation is if you knowingly did something wrong, you should face consequences.” She works as a CT scan technologist.
Jason Van Dyke: A 13-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery and official misconduct for shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times as he walked down the street holding a knife. Raised in the west suburbs, Van Dyke is married and has two school-age daughters. Van Dyke worked at night in mostly high-crime districts, including Englewood and Chicago Lawn. He was picked to take part in a targeted response unit that aggressively went into neighborhoods hit by spikes in violent crimes before police brass abandoned that strategy. If convicted of murder, he faces up to life in prison. Daniel Herbert: Van Dyke’s lead defense attorney served as a Chicago police officer and Cook County prosecutor before going into private practice. He has carved out a niche as a go-to lawyer for police officers accused of wrongdoing. Though he has handled several high-profile police misconduct cases in recent years, Van Dyke’s trial marks his first defense of murder charges.
Tammy Wendt: A former Cook County state’s attorney, Wendt most recently has specialized in real estate law and estate planning. She prosecuted hundreds of criminal cases while with the state’s attorney’s office. She traditionally sits next to Van Dyke at the defense table and is the attorney he most frequently talks with in the courtroom.
Randy Rueckert: A former assistant Cook County state’s attorney, he handled several high-profile gang prosecutions. In private practice, he is known for defending police officers in corruption cases, most notably gang crimes Officer Joseph Miedzianowski.
Elizabeth Fleming: An associate attorney at Daniel Herbert’s law firm for the past three years, Fleming has practiced at the state, federal and appellate levels. She received her law degree from the John Marshall Law School in 2015 and her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Joseph McMahon: Appointed by Judge Gaughan to serve as special prosecutor in the case after the Cook County state’s attorney’s office recused itself, McMahon is known for his methodical and detailed approach in court. He is a former partner in an elite law firm and has served for the past eight years as Kane County’s top prosecutor. He has handled plenty of murder trials and prosecuted several police officers for wrongdoing, but none compare with the high profile of this one.
Jody Gleason: A prosecutor with nearly three decades of experience, Gleason has been Kane County’s first assistant state’s attorney since 2009. She has successfully prosecuted a variety of violent crimes and complex cases, including first-degree murder, criminal sexual assault, narcotics offenses and gang offenses.
Marilyn Hite Ross: Currently the Winnebago County Criminal Bureau chief, Hite Ross is a career prosecutor who formerly worked in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. She has successfully prosecuted many major, complex cases including first murder and capital murder cases, criminal sexual assault, narcotics cases and child death cases.
Joseph Cullen: A career prosecutor, Cullen is currently assigned to the priority prosecutions unit in the Kane County state’s attorney’s office. He is also chief of the Traffic/ Misdemeanor Bureau. He has successfully prosecuted about 35 first-degree murder cases, eight of which were death penalty cases.
“I respect police officers and think they just do their jobs.” — Juror No. 1
“Everyone must abide by the law, including law enforcement officers.” — Juror No. 3
Daniel Weiler: An assistant Kane County state’s attorney since 2012, he handles felony cases. He has successfully prosecuted a variety of felonies, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, weapons offenses, narcotics offenses and gang offenses.
Judge Vincent Gaughan: Known for his sharp tongue and legal smarts, Judge Vincent Gaughan has handled some of the most high-profile cases in Cook County, including the Brown’s Chicken massacre and the R. Kelly child pornography trials. Gaughan’s secretive style has been roundly criticized by the media, though he has said he has kept important documents sealed and held closed-door hearings in order to ensure Van Dyke has a fair trial. A Vietnam War hero and the son of Irish immigrants, Gaughan served as a Cook County public defender before becoming a judge in 1991.
The witness stand and jury box in the courtroom of Judge Vincent Gaughan.
The prosecuting attorney desk and jury box area.
The courtroom’s gallery.