Jason Van Dyke's attorneys ask for probation ahead of Friday's sentencing hearing

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ByEric Horng via WLS logo
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
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Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke will be sentenced on Friday in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke will be sentenced on Friday in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.

On Monday, attorneys for both sides submitted written arguments for what they would be an appropriate sentence for Van Dyke, who was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the 2014 shooting.

Defense attorney Dan Herbert asks that Van Dyke get probation or receive no more than the minimum six-year sentence for aggravated battery.

READ: Prosecutors' sentencing memo

The defense submitted more than 100 letters, including from Van Dyke's two young daughters, appealing for leniency.

"I have had nightmares and trouble sleeping because my dad might have to go away for a long time," Van Dyke's 12-year-old daughter wrote in her letter.

"Bring my dad home. Please. Stop the crying and the pain and give my dad leniency," his oldest daughter wrote.

Van Dyke's wife and daughters have appealed to the judge to essentially allow Van Dyke to come home. His defense team highlighted his numerous commendations as well as the hand-written statements.

READ: Defense's sentencing memo

Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon doesn't recommend a specific sentence in a filing. He walks through the state's complex sentencing formula to say Van Dyke could be sentenced to 96 years in prison if the judge concludes all 16 bullets striking McDonald caused "serious bodily injury." But he also says the sentence could be as little as 18 years.

"If Judge Gaughan finds that each and every shot caused severe bodily injury, there's a strong argument that he has to sentence him consecutively for each count," said ABC7 Legal Analyst Bob Milan.

Second degree murder is punishable by four to 20 years in prison, but the law allows for probation.

"They have two disparate positions on this," Milan said of the defense and prosecution. "Both are based in law, so this sentencing hearing is going to be very unique and very combative."

On Friday, Van Dyke, his wife and oldest daughter are expected to testify. Members of McDonald's family could also be called to the stand including his mother Cheryl.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.