The Rockford Police investigation of the death of attorney Greg Clark was not very well done, because it focused on just investigating two people: Richard Wanke and Diane Chavez, and pretty much ignored everyone else. On the other hand, the investigation results themselves are thorough enough to eliminate both Richard and Diane as suspects in this murder.

When the police responded to Clark”s murder they learned that Clark had been shot at twice in the space of several months. The police quickly perceived from each attack, that attorney Greg Clark was not a random murder but a highly skilled one. Attorney Greg Clark was successfully “targeted” for murder under circumstances which required thorough preparation, flexibility, and mobility. His attacker or attackers had to be coordinated and capable of anticipating and reacting to his movements under very unpredictable circumstances.

The first attack on 60 year old Greg Clark happened on Sunday, November 4, 2007, after dusk, outside his house and at 6:30 pm. It was dark and no one could anticipate that a man of Clark’s age would step out of his house at that hour of a Sunday evening. Someone stalked him for awhile to know that he and not his wife took out the trash. Clark however, usually took the trash out on Monday morning and not on a Sunday night. So, whoever stalked attorney Clark caught Clark by chance and was capable of responding quickly to his unpredictable movement on 11/4/07. Who knows how long this entailed waiting outside by his house possibly for hours in a vehicle or on foot and just hoping that he might emerge from it.

The second attempt on 2/6/08, took place during a blizzard and while Clark was snow-blowing his driveway and sidewalk area. Clark was only outside for about 1/2 hour when he was shot. The van with the believed shooter timed it’s arrival so conveniently per witnesses, that it arrived and remained at the murder scene only with sufficient time for the shooter to commit the murder expertly and then quickly leave. One has to ask: The State alleges that Richard Wanke was the shooter, but he was across town at a house in Loves Park until at least 12:50 pm, putting software on a friend’s computer and consulting by Skype with another friend about setting up a webcam on that computer.  The friend saw Richard over Skype and wearing a brown and yellow winter  coat. They spoke on and off over Skype for most of that morning as they worked to install and troubleshoot the computer hardware. Richard left about then to go to his apartment and pick up more software. While at this apartment, Richard took the time to also shovel the front yard of the duplex in which he lived. If Richard Wanke was the shooter in this van, then how did he know so exactly when to travel across town to shoot Clark?

People don’t drive across town in the middle of a heavy snowstorm in order to stalk someone else or to wait outside a residence possibly for hours. No one clears their driveway of snow at any particular time of the day or at any particular frequency. It took Clark only half an hour to clear his three-car driveway of snowing using the relatively new and large-capacity snowblower he owned. Clark might have possibly remained outside for 10 – 15 additional minutes before going back inside his home for hours if not for the remainder of that day. The storm otherwise kept most people home inside their houses. The police check of all phone records showed that Richard Wanke received no suspicious phone calls before Clark’s shooting from anyone who could have been in Clark’s neighborhood that morning of 2/6/08.

Besides, Richard Wanke, knows computers well, and could have easily tracked Clark using some form of tracking software. The police later seized many computers from Richard’s apartment. They found his browsing histories intact on those computers, but no searches to incriminate him and no use of any tracking software.

Shooting Clark successfully during the very limited window of time he opened himself up to being a target either required knowing the moment he came out to begin snow-blowing if one travelled across town to shoot him, or else stationing oneself at hand inside the neighborhood, keeping vigil on his house and movements and then approaching him carefully once he emerged.  The shooter could not hope to stay inconspicuous over time while parked and waiting in any vehicle because of the adverse weather on 2/6/08. Other people and neighbors would have had to navigate around him or them with difficulty in the snow and recall this.

Witnesses did notice and were able to document all the movements of a suspicious dark-blue van relatively well on 2/6/08. It was not inconspicuous even though it was only physically present in the neighborhood a relatively short period of time. The van and shooter did not conduct a vigil over hours of time in the neighborhood, but instead entered and exited it to commit the murder with surgical precision.

At trial, the State, lacking evidence, had to speculate to come up with any alleged connection to paint the picture of Richard Wanke as Clark’s shooter. All the witnesses who claimed to see a suspicious man and a van on 2/6/08, varied on their descriptions of the man and the make, color and year of the van they allegedly saw. At trial, since most said they saw a man dressed in dark clothing, the State took one man’s description of seeing a cuff, and a 7 year old’s description of seeing a gray “hoodie” to combine that into the allegation that Richard Wanke changed the clothing he wore on 2/6/08, and put on a black denim jacket and gray scarf to shoot Clark. That’s a ridiculous assertion to make because no one would have found that combination of clothing adequate to wear in the snow on 2/6/08, or to wear while shooting anyone. Then, the State alleged that Richard Wanke changed back out of this clothing and washed it before he was later picked up by police.

Richard Wanke was only absent a little over an hour from working on his friend’s computer. He did not have time to change clothes, shovel snow and travel to Clark’s and back across town in little more than an hour on 2/6/08. He was back again shortly before 3pm and Skype still showed him wearing his brown and yellow coat, with no gray scarf or dark clothing. Under his coat, he wore khaki color pants, and a navy blue shirt. If he had been Clark’s shooter, someone would have noted his clothing as being colorful rather than all dark. Richard’s attorneys at trial failed to present the witness who Skyped with him on 2/06/08 and saw how he appeared, and who could have related to the jury how Richard did not behave in any manner as the shooter.

Even then, Richard had to be very adept to not error when shooting Clark. The shooting of Clark itself required a presence of mind and at least a fair level of weapons familiarity to execute successfully under the time constraints.  Richard Wanke lacks any firearms history, the history of any violence, stalking or threatening behavior, or such familiarity. It is also doubtful that he could have successfully killed Clark without prior experience.

The police looked at the phone records of both Richard Wanke and Diane Chavez, and they looked at the phone records of their friends and acquaintances and spoke with them. The police examined their financial records as well. The police were unable to find any traces whatsoever of any suspicious contact which Richard Wanke or Diane Chavez had with anyone that could have indicated some type of coordination to carry out both these attacks on Greg Clark or to conduct surveillance on him.

So, even though the Rockford Police investigation was unsuccessful in investigating as broadly as it should have, we can trust that the depth of it’s investigation of Richard Wanke and Diane Chavez was deep and thorough enough that it would have found any complicity in the murder on the part of either or both of them if it had existed. The fact that this Greg Clark murder investigation over 9 years has failed to turn up this information and the absence otherwise of reliable evidence linking either to the Clark murder only goes to prove that neither Richard Wanke nor Diane Chavez had anything to do with the murder.

There were several other suspicious people sighted in Clark’s neighborhood on 2/6/08, going door-to-door or seen elsewhere in the neighborhood. Any one of these could have been stalking Clark or observing him on behalf of a shooter positioned elsewhere. We don’t doubt the eyewitnesses saw a van but it wasn’t Chavez’s purple van. It was a dark-blue van (which were plentiful) and it was not Richard in the van. Whether the van witnesses saw that day was connected to the murder remains an open question. In our minds the likelihood that the shooter was somewhere on foot or was another neighbor is just as probable as that darn van.

Richard Wanke also lacked the mobility required to be Clark’s shooter. The police easily determined that the person or persons responsible for Clark’s murder had to scope them out. When the police received Richard Wanke’s name from the Public Defender’s office the police quickly reacted by detaining Wanke within hours. Yet, even as they did so, they operated at outset knowing that he did not own a vehicle and had not owned one for over a decade. The police had only with the generic description from witnesses of the involvement of an older white male with a grayish hair, a scraggly beard, and eyeglasses. They had no witnesses who initially identified Richard Wanke from photo line-ups. So, while the police operated on the assumption that they had the right suspect and were proceeding against him, they had no verifying proof that they were correct.

When they did the initial research and checked out Richard Wanke, the police encountered a problem: Richard Wanke did not own a vehicle and had not done so for years. Without a vehicle, the police faced a dilemna and question: How did their suspect kill Clark if he lacked the mobility required to stalk him for the length of time it took to successfully kill him?

That is the question that caused the police to drag Diane Chavez into the case. Diane Chavez was the only possible source of mobility for Richard Wanke, if the police could establish that he drove the vehicle she owned which was most similar to the blue van the witnesses saw on 2/6/08. State records showed that Diane Chavez owned a purple 1998 Dodge Caravan with gold wheels. Any discrepancy between the suspect and the witness reports might be regarded with caution under ordinary circumstances, but in a case of this magnitude, the difference between a purple van and uniform reports of a dark blue van seemed minimal given the certainly of belief on the part of the directing investigatory officer that the investigation was off and heading in the right direction. The evidence to show that Diane Chavez was not the woman alleged seen in Clark’s neighborhood the day before this murder and that her van does not match the one witnesses saw or the photo used at trial by the State is on this website.

Rockford Deputy Police Chief Greg Lindmark was assigned to conduct the Clark murder investigation from the outset. He happened to have personally known Richard Wanke from years in the past. His past familiarity with Richard Wanke and information he knew of Wanke’s legal difficulties since were sufficient to convince him that Richard Wanke, killed Greg Clark and that all he had to do was prove it.

Greg Lindmark and Richard Wanke attended Guilford High School together. They did not mix in the same social circles and were not friends. Detective Greg Lindmark was Richard Wanke’s first arresting officer in a 1991 burglary case for which Richard later served three years. Richard Wanke sued Lindmark after due to certain alleged conduct during an interrogation. Although the lawsuit was later dropped, Lindmark kept cropping up at each of Wanke’s subsequent legal issues. So, when the Winnebago County Public Defender’s office dropped Richard Wanke’s name into Lindmark’s investigation early on 2/6/08, as just a possible suspect, Lindmark regarded his involvement in Clark’s murder as a certainty and then directed the investigation in that manner.

This is why the police quickly ultimately arrested and charged Diane Chavez. On 2/6/08, the police had already picked up and revoked Richard Wanke’s bond and had him in custody. Yet they did not have a warrant for him then. None of their witnesses had identified him in any photo line-ups that day as being at the Clark murder. Without establishing some linkage to the Clark murder scene, Lindmark and the Rockford Police would be forced to release Richard Wanke. Lindmark had to justify holding Richard Wanke. The convenient witness who claimed to have seen a petite white woman in her 30’s in a dark-blue van in the driveway of the Clark house the day before the murder and who conveniently identified Diane Chavez as being that woman from a police photo lineup proved to be that sufficient linkage which Lindmark and police required. On the strength of that linkage, police were able to obtain a search warrant for the duplex, arrest Diane Chavez; use a $500k bond to  hold her out of their way, and hopefully Greg Lindmark would then be able to find the proof required to show that Richard Wanke killed Greg Clark.

Only it did not work out that way. The investigation after 9 years of diligence comes up empty on proof and it is time for the public to understand just exactly what happened in this fiasco and to why Richard Wanke became Clark’s murder suspect. We don’t know who killed attorney Greg Clark, but it wasn’t Richard Wanke or Diane Chavez.

Richard Wanke was convicted at trial in March 2008, only because he was not defended by the Winnebago County Public Defender’s office. The Winnebago County PD knew of all the information we have set forth on this website about the Clark murder, how it happened and the proof which exists to show that Richard Wanke and Diane Chavez did not play any roles in Clark’s murder. The Winnebago PD chose not to present any of this evidence at trial; experts to testify on behalf of Richard Wanke, and did not test computer equipment for the exculpatory evidence on them. The question to ask now is, “Why not”?

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