Police say probe of 2008 slaying of attorney ‘has led to a suspect’

Posted: February 2, 2010 by parchangelo in Local Issues, Richard's Cases, the Responsiblility of the Media

Update: We posted this article this morning when the Rockford Register-Star first wrote it. The article is written in a manner as to suggest that the Rockford Police have a new suspect in the Greg Clark murder investigation that they are not naming.

In reality, this is not the case. If the Rockford Police had any news; particularly a new suspect, then the local press would have picked up on the story today and announced it, despite competing election news. The media has not done so, and that means this article is just another attempt by the Rockford Police Department to spin the fact that they are still fixated on Richard and Diane in the most favorable way possible by suggesting that they have made progress in the case when, in fact, they haven’t.

As we mention in our case update, an authoritative source has reviewed all the evidence accumulated to date and found that it fails to support the allegations that either Richard or Diane were involved in Clark’s murder.

The Register-Star continues to spew the old allegations and serve as the mouthpiece for the Rockford Police Department while failing to examine the actions of the Rockford Police and the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office critically.  The RRStar refuses to do independent, investigatory research on this case that it deserves.

For the first time in two years, the Rockford Police are asking for the help of the public in solving this case by soliciting for information through the Rockford CrimeStoppers. Who knows, after two years, whether they will be able to obtain any information now that may have been out there at the time of the shooting. We hope so.
____________________________________________________________
By Chris Green
Posted Feb 02, 2010 @ 01:01 AM

ROCKFORD — Saturday will mark the two-year anniversary of the shooting of a prominent attorney, and no one has been charged with his death.

Gregory H. Clark, 60, was killed Feb. 6, 2008, while clearing snow from the sidewalk around his home in the 1700 block of Oak Forest Drive. Police said a gunman jumped out of a van and opened fire, shooting Clark several times in the back.

Clark was found by his wife, Phyllis. He was rushed to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

“We’re disappointed there hasn’t been prosecution yet, but we have a lot of confidence in Rockford police,” said Bart Henbest, Clark’s business partner and son-in-law.

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato said the case is open and under investigation.

The day of the shooting, police arrested Richard Wanke Jr., one of Clark’s former clients.

Detectives also arrested Wanke’s landlord and former girlfriend, Diane Chavez, 50, of Rockford.

Since then, Wanke was sentenced to 14 years in prison for burglaries committed in Winnebago County. He is serving his sentence at the Vandalia Correctional Center.

Winnebago County court records indicate that Wanke wanted his burglary conviction reversed based on ineffective assistance of counsel, among other complaints.

Also, according to statements in court hearings for Chavez and Wanke, police have provided prosecutors with eyewitness accounts placing Chavez and Wanke and the vehicle they shared at the scene of the shooting.

Chavez was later arrested on a felony charge of obstructing justice for lying to police the day of Clark’s death. Police said Chavez told them that Wanke did not live at the Grant Avenue duplex with her, then refused to let officers search the residence. Chavez is not in custody; the status of her case is not clear.

No one has been charged with the death of Clark, but that does not mean police have not identified a person of interest.

“The investigation has led to a suspect,” Deputy Chief Greg Lindmark said, “although I am not at liberty to discuss that person’s name in order to protect the integrity of the case.”

Lindmark also said the prosecution is working to build a rock-solid case.

“Before formally charging an individual on any crime, there are several things to take into account: pretrial strategy, trial strategy and sentencing strategy. What makes murder investigations unique is, there is no statute of limitations.”

Reach staff writer Chris Green at cgreen@rrstar.com or 815-987-1241.

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