Emotional testimony at Chicago cop's sentencing hearing

February 22, 2012 3:12:34 PM PST
There was emotional testimony Wednesday at the sentencing hearing for a Chicago Police officer convicted of driving drunk while off-duty and killing a 13-year-old boy on his bicycle.

Trenton Booker's parents spoke in court about their loss nearly two years ago. Officer Richard Bolling was convicted of aggravated DUI, reckless homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal crash.

Prosecutors say police officers waited over four hours after the crash before giving Bolling a breathalyzer test.

The hearing was continued to another day because there is missing paperwork the judge needs before handing down his sentence, which could range from probation to 15 years in prison.

"He deserves mercy...I think it was an accident, period," said Willie Haskell, Bolling's next-door neighbor.

Wednesday was a day filled with emotional testimony. A month after being convicted in the 2009 hit-and-run death of 13-year-old Trenton Booker, the sentencing hearing for former police officer Richard Bolling got under way.

Trenton's father, Terrance Booker, sobbed and struggled to regain his composure long enough to tell the judge what Trenton's loss has done to him.

"There is an emptiness inside of me now due to Trenton's death that will hurt me for the rest of my life. Me and Trenton had a special bond. Trenton will always be the light of my life," said Terrence Booker.

From the beginning this has been a controversial case. There were accusations that Bolling was given preferential treatment in the hours following the accident. By the time he was made to submit to a breathalyzer 4 1/2 after the crash, his blood alcohol level was just below the legal limit.

After his late January conviction, bond was revoked, and he now faces up to 15 year in prison. But, Wednesday, his defense attorney brought forth a long list of influential community members, including a pastor, two retired judges and several current and former Chicago Police officers who all testified to Bolling's character.

During one such statement, retired circuit judge Thomas Summer said, "If there ever was a person who is qualified to receive as much mercy as the law allows, Richard is that person."

After the hearing, Trenton Booker's parents left without speaking.

Sentencing will conclude on March 6.