Defense begins Chicago police torture case

June 17, 2010 4:34:35 AM PDT
The defense began presenting its case Wednesday in the trial of former Chicago police commander Jon Burge, who is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the alleged torture of suspects.

In day 10 of the trial Jon Burge defended himself. Burge's attorneys began calling witnesses who testified that they did not see evidence of torture and by trying to pick apart testimony presented by the state.

Burge is accused of lying about torturing suspects as a Chicago police officer.

In 2002, Thomas Reed was assigned to investigate claims of torture at Area 2 and 3 for a special prosecutor. Wednesday, Reed testified he interviewed more than 50 people-- among them, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin.

Suffredin testified three weeks ago in the Burge trial that in 1973 he represented Andrew Holmes and that Holmes told Suffredin he had been tortured by Burge. Wednesday, Reed testified that Suffredin actually didn't remember Holmes allegations of abuse when interviewed in 2005.

"He could not recall any allegations of abuse," Reed testified.

Under cross-examination, Reed admitted he didn't take notes during the interview and doesn't remember asking Suffredin specifically about allegations of abuse.

Jurors also heard from a paid forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden. Baden testified he reviewed pictures of Andrew Wilson and determined his injuries were not consistent with Wilson's allegations of torture.

Wilson -- now deceased -- testified in other legal proceedings that Burge shocked him through alligator clips attached to his ear, and while he was shocked he was on a hot radiator.

Baden testified about the vertical injuries on Wilson: "In my opinion, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, none of those are caused by any kind of hot objects...specifically the radiator."

However, Baden also testified about injuries on Wilson's ear: "Alligator clips can cause those marks, but they are not caused by an electrical current."

Baden admitted on the stand he would be paid $27,000 for his testimony.

In the gallery during Dr. Baden's testimony was Casey Wills. Her brother, Officer William Fahey Jr., was killed by Andrew Wilson.

Wills doesn't believe that Burge abused any suspects, and she says the man she knows comforted her family after her brother's death.

"He's a good man, and he's an honest man. He's been nothing but respectful to our family," Wills said to ABC 7.

Jurors will likely hear from Ricky Shaw Thursday. He is a convict currently serving time who will allude that others made up their allegations about Burge.

Closing arguments are expected next week.


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