Guilty verdict in 2008 cop killing case

January 26, 2012 8:47:41 PM PST
An admitted drug dealer faces a mandatory life sentence for murdering a Chicago police officer.

A jury Thursday found Lamar Cooper guilty of killing Officer Nathaniel Taylor back in 2008.

Space next to the courtroom of Cook County Judge Nicholas Ford had to be opened Thursday for all the family, police officers, officials and citizens who wanted to see what would happen to a known felon who did not argue with the prosecution's contention that he shot a man in cold blood.

The jury took just two hours to render its verdict - Cooper was found guilty on all counts.

"We had a hero here - whose life was taken from us way to soon," said Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. "Unfortunately, I seem to be standing before you much too often talking about a verdict on a case where a Chicago police officer was murdered."

Cooper's lawyer insisted his client thought he was being robbed at gunpoint, and responded as a hardened drug dealer would. He shot the man coming at him.

"Nate Taylor was acting in the line of duty and from a distance of six feet away announced his office with that star blazing on his chest," said Assistant State's Attorney Jim McKay. "Lamar Cooper just can't shoot first and then try to tell anybody, 'Well, you know, it was dark, I didn't know he was a police officer.'"

Nathaniel Taylor, Jr. was a decorated officer with 14 years of service when he died in September 2008. The mother of his daughter, Angel Gogins, said the last three-and-a-half years have been horrible.

"Just with my daughter, it has been a void - it's been a total void - so right now, that void has been lifted... now I know Nate is resting in peace and justice has been served," said Angel Gogins.

Taylor's friends say he loved being a cop from the moment he earned his star, in 1994. His colleagues from that time, who serve and protect still, appreciate the support of people who know Taylor's sacrifice was for them.

"He was a great guy - a great friend, I am glad that the jury of 12 people saw it as the state showed it," said Chicago Police Officer Bert Munguia. "I am sure a lot of people here needed some closure after three years of waiting."

Nathaniel Taylor, Jr., was 39 when he was killed. He had been with the Gang Intelligence Unit for four years when he died attempting to execute a search warrant on Lamar Cooper.

Taylor earned 55 awards and seven department commendations.

Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy thanked the prosecutors for their work, and the police union expressed its satisfaction at the verdict as well.