Six years after slaying, Richard Wanke charged in Rockford lawyer’s killing – News – Rockford Register Star – Rockford, IL

Posted: April 16, 2014 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized

By Georgette BraunRockford Register Star

Posted Apr. 16, 2014 @ 10:45 amUpdated at 11:46 AM

ROCKFORD — Richard E. Wanke was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the Feb. 6, 2008, shooting death of local attorney Gregory H. Clark, 60, Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced at a news conference.

The charges come six years after the killing. Although investigators named Wanke, 52, a person of interest, no one was charged in the slaying until now. Clark had served as Wanke’s attorney before he was killed. PHOTOS: See a gallery of the Clark caseA grand jury indicted Wanke on charges of first-degree murder, Bruscato said.Bruscato would not comment on whether any new evidence was uncovered or what led to the charges years after the killing.

Rockford Police Department Deputy Chief David Hopkins said “nothing has dramatically changed at all,” with regard to the investigation into Clark’s death. He described the lengthy investigative process as “methodical, sometimes grueling.”Wanke has denied any involvement in Clark’s death. He faces 25 years to life if convicted. Wanke was arrested on a warrant Wednesday and is being without bond, Bruscato said.

An inmate at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Wanke was weeks away from being released. He is serving prison time there after he was convicted on a 2006 burglary charge.Clark was appointed to defend Wanke against the charge.Wanke will make a court appearance in Winnebago County next week, Bruscato said.

Clark was killed while clearing snow from a sidewalk outside his Rockford home in the 1700 block of Oakforest Drive. Police said a gunman jumped out of a van and opened fire, shooting Clark several times in the back.Wanke has been in prison since 2008 on a 14-year prison sentence after he was convicted of burglary for stealing a laptop from a Rockford University professor. Clark was Wanke’s attorney in that case. Wanke’s projected parole date on the burglary charge had been set for May 7.

Diane Chavez of Rockford, Wanke’s former girlfriend and landlord, was found guilty in 2013 of obstructing police investigating Clark’s homicide, but an appellate court has sent the case back for retrial and prosecutors are planning a new trial on the obstruction charge. A jury had decided she lied to investigators when she told them that Wanke did not live with her at 1113 Grant Ave. That ruling was later overturned and Chief Judge Joseph McGraw vacated the conviction.

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

via Six years after slaying, Richard Wanke charged in Rockford lawyer’s killing – News – Rockford Register Star – Rockford, IL.

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