Archive for the ‘Gregory Lindmark’ Category


Rockford attorney, Gregory Clark, age 60, was shot to death outside his home on the afternoon of a severe snowstorm in Rockford, IL on Wednesday, February 6, 2008. His horrific and unexpected death occurring as it did in the middle of a historic weather event and on the sidewalk of an otherwise peaceful, upscale residential neighborhood shocked everyone. It was surreal and became an instant major crime story not only in Rockford but across the nation. From the moment police responded to 911 calls and for days and weeks after, every detail of the Rockford Police investigation of this murder as it unfolded hour-by-hour was featured and released to the public in special reporting by television, newspapers and area radio stations. Stories were written about it in regional and Chicago-area press.

Within hours of the murder, Rockford police quickly released word they were seeking a white male suspect and a dark blue van as having some connection to Attorney Clark’s murder. By the end of that day of February 6, 2008, they announced they had two people in custody; a man and a woman, and had located a vehicle. Over the next few days they identified the man as Richard Wanke, a client of Greg Clark, and the woman as Diane Chavez, who they alleged was Wanke’s roommate and girlfriend. The Rockford Register-Star newpaper promptly published a several page spread in it’s newspaper that weekend featuring the photos of both individuals arrested and providing a detailed description of a recent 2006 burglary case and jury trial in which Richard Wanke had been involved and convicted in while represented by Attorney Clark. The newspaper provided a history and timeline of the case as well as mention of antagonism between Attorney Clark and his client. The Rockford Register-Star also published several stories of interviews with people alleging to be friends and neighbors of both Richard Wanke and Diane Chavez, describing them as working together in a couple of volunteer efforts and being personal friends who also shared a residence. Diane Chavez was also identified as having been seen in the vicinity of the Greg Clark residence by a witness the day before his murder. In other words, there was a great media frenzy following Clark’s murder.

The immediate public impression transmitted was that the Rockford police had quickly apprehended the correct persons responsible for the heinous murder of an upstanding member of the Rockford legal bar and Rockford community and that justice would ultimately come to prevail for the family of the victim, attorney Greg Clark.

That is not what happened in the course of this murder investigation, and that is why this blog and legal effort exists. Instead of acting properly and investigating cautiously in a manner to ensure the correct apprehension and prosecution of the party or parties guilty of shooting attorney Greg Clark, the Rockford police instead engaged in a “rush to judgment” which has now run full course and resulted in the 2017 wrongful conviction of Richard Wanke. We ask readers to keep an open mind and to review and consider all the information contained on this website and our Facebook page concerning the police investigation of the Clark murder and the prosecution and trial of Richard Wanke which followed and took from February 8, 2008, to May 2017. Then we ask you to join us in proclaiming and supporting the innocence of Richard Wanke.

The investigation

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 attorney Greg Clark’s house shortly after 2 pm on February 6, 2008, because he had been shot dead outside his house, they learned that Clark had been shot at twice in the space of several months. Clark was shot three times in the back and at close proximity and his body was lying prone in the snow of his yard close to the snowblower he had been using. As best the police could read at the murder scene, someone must have walked up to Clark as he was using the snowblower clearing a portion of the sidewalk outside his home; then quickly and expertly shot him and after fled the scene leaving no evidence behind.

The police quickly perceived from each the family’s story of both attacks, 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. Clark’s house was located on the east side of Rockford, IL, in a “good” and sizable neighborhood of quiet, single-family, upscale homes. Clark lived at home with his wife, Phyllis. November 4, 2007, was dark and no one could anticipate that a man of Clark’s age would step out of his house at that hour on a Sunday evening for any particular reason. Someone stalked him for awhile to know that he and not his wife would take out the weekly 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. While outside his house, Clark heard what he thought were shots and smelled gun residue. He suspected that maybe someone had shot at him and reported the incident to police. If Clark was correct and someone did in fact attempt to shoot him on the evening of November 4, 2007, who knows how long they would have had to wait outside his house possibly for hours in a vehicle or on foot 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 by someone at around 1:50 pm. Later witnesses described to police the appearance of a van believed to contain the shooter which timed it’s arrival in the neighborhood and at the Clark house so  that it arrived at the murder scene only minutes before the shooting happened and then left instantly. Whether this van or it’s driver was truly related to Clark’s murder was unknown as no witness saw Clark’s shooting or saw the van or driver near Clark. The witnesses simply individually reported to the police every unfamiliar detail they recalled seeing close to the time of the murder. Many of the details witnesses provided to police about what they saw were contradictory and differed significantly, and at least two of the descriptions indicated the presence of two men fleeing the scene after the murder in two different directions.

It is simpler for the State now after all the media hype to just claim that there was only one shooter: Richard Wanke, and that he was driving a dark-blue van witnesses alleged saw. But that claim not only doesn’t fit most of what described by witnesses to police; it’s also unsupported by any evidence and doesn’t correlate to Richard’s actions on 2/06/08.

On February 6, 2008, Richard Wanke, spent the morning 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, Sam Cornn, about setting up a webcam on that computer.  Sam Cornn, an IT technician helped Richard by Skype chat via monitor that morning. He saw Richard wearing a brown and yellow winter coat. They Skyped on and off for most of that morning as they worked to install and troubleshoot the computer hardware. Richard then left for about an hour to go to his apartment at 1111 Grant Ave to pick up more software. While at his apartment, Richard took the time to also shovel snow accumulating in the front yard and street of the duplex in which he lived. Richard Wanke didn’t take time on February 6, 2008, to install computer software then drive across town in heavy snow in order to shoot a man in his back and return back to finish installing more software.

The task of murdering Clark on 2/6/08, was not similar to stopping to pick up some groceries on the way home. Sam expected Richard Wanke back shortly to complete the software installation, so when he went to pick up more software, Richard wasn’t free to just wander around as he pleased. Travel was difficult enough in the snowstorm. Rockford streets were full of snow which reached to the top of car wheels, because the snow had not been plowed at all up to this point in the snowstorm. Travel times and obstacles driving anywhere that afternoon could not be anticipated.  Richard Wanke, had work and a schedule to keep to on February 6, 2008, and had no way of knowing exactly where Greg Clark was and what it would take to drive to Clark’s house across town in the snow.

People don’t clear their driveway of snow during a heavy snowstorm at any particular time of the day or at any particular frequency. If Richard Wanke was the shooter or acted as the police describe, how did he know exactly when to arrive at Clark’s house that afternoon of February 6, 2008, to shoot Clark? No one drives across town during a heavy snowstorm or bad weather to stalk someone else or to wait outside a residence possibly for hours; especially when unable to predict their actions. No one could have predicted Clark stood home that day or would come outside his house any particular time that afternoon or at about 1:30 pm to use his snowblower. On 2/6/08, it took Clark only half an hour to clear his three-car driveway of snowing using his  snowblower. Clark was shot at 1:50 – 1:55 pm, and might possibly have remained outside for only 10 – 15 additional minutes before returning inside his home for hours if not for the duration of that day. Most people stayed inside their homes once they were home on 2/06/08. Clark never left his house for work as usual the morning of 2/06/08, so how did someone even know that he was home that day and would be outside briefly that afternoon?

The only way Clark’s shooter could possibly know to be at his house on 2/06/08, at 1:50 pm to shoot him rather than staking out his law office was if the shooter somehow monitored Clark’s movements, had inside information, or just spent hours possibly even from the night before stationed somewhere outside his home and was stalking him. Richard Wanke, was fully occupied with working with Sam Cornn doing a computer software installation on 2/06/08. He wasn’t busy monitoring the movements or whereabouts of Greg Clark.  When Richard Wanke left his work for about an hour early afternoon and then returned to it; it was only because he needed to go back to his apartment to pick up more software. Police later found that additional software in his pocket, and a phone call he made from the landline phone of his apartment places him at his apartment about 20 minutes after the murder. After stopping at his apartment, Richard Wanke returned back to finish his work.  Sam Cornn, again saw and spoke with his by Skype and saw no change in Richard’s manner or appearance.

The police have no evidence that Richard Wanke ever stalked Clark in any manner whatsoever. Their check of phone records showed that Richard Wanke had no suspicious phone calls  or conversations with anyone else on 2/06/08,  who could have been in Clark’s neighborhood that morning of 2/6/08, or monitoring Clark.

Richard Wanke, knew computers well, and could have easily tracked Clark in 2007 – 2008 using some form of tracking software or device. The police later seized many computers from Richard’s apartment. They found his browsing histories intact on those computers, but no searches or information to incriminate him and no use or possession 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 shooting was expertly pulled off despite many difficulties. 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. The shooter or persons involved had to be adept at killing and either getting out of the neighborhood or camouflaging themselves and diverting attention expertly.

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 Clark’s neighborhood a relatively short period of time. The van and it’s driver did not conduct a vigil over hours of time in the neighborhood, but instead entered and exited it with surgical precision if they had any involvement in Clark’s murder. However, it is just as likely or possible that Clark was targeted on 2/6/08, by someone else in another vehicle or another home nearby and situated to monitor him; perhaps even by someone familiar to that neighborhood.

At trial, the State, lacking evidence, had to speculate to come up with any alleged motive to paint the picture of Richard Wanke as Clark’s shooter. Most people don’t understand that what is presented at trial by the State is not all fact but many times is a storyline concocted out of it’s varying interpretation of pieces of information which is then asserted to be evidence of guilt. At Richard Wanke’s trial, the State presented no explanation as to how and why Richard Wanke became the Clark murder suspect in the first place. That really happened not from evidence at the scene or because of any person who knew him. Richard only became a suspect when someone outside the investigation just mentioned his name. The case jurors should have been scratching their heads to ask this initial question, and Richard’s attorneys should have made a big deal of this fact; that their client wasn’t even suspected by the police and only entered the case when his name was mentioned.

Instead the State was not challenged when at trial, it presented it’s case by just having witnesses who claimed to see a suspicious man and a van on 2/6/08, and who all varied on their descriptions of the man and the make, color and year of the van they allegedly saw assert that it was Richard Wanke. 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 must have  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. The last thing one wants is a loose scarf flapping in the wind or across one’s face when trying to shoot 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 didn’t 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. Richard’s attorneys were pretty derelict by not presenting an available witness who was  ready to testify about the clothing Richard Wanke wore on 2/6/08.

The shooting of Clark itself required great presence of mind and at least a fair level of weapons familiarity to execute successfully given the weather and time constraints.  Richard Wanke lacks any use of or history with firearms, lacks any history of any violence, domestic assault, stalking, disorderly conduct, or threatening behavior, or such familiarity. It is highly doubtful that he or anyone else could have successfully killed Clark lacking some such 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 and seized and examined their personal possessions. 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 or knowledge 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 1/2 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 in Rockford and surrounding cities in 2008) 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 van. In large part though, it is the intensity of the mention of a dark blue van and Richard’s photo in the media early in the Clark murder investigation which has fixated the public on their association with the murder.

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 records showed 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. And, how did their suspect kill Clark if he lacked not only the mobility required to stalk him for the length of time it took to successfully kill him, but also any violent history or skill with firearms?

It was a need to bolster their assumptions that caused the police to drag Diane Chavez into the case. Diane Chavez was the only possible source of mobility for Richard Wanke, and the police worked to connect him to 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 for readers to view.

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 while they searched it, and hopefully Greg Lindmark would then be able to find the proof required to show that Richard Wanke killed Greg Clark.

Only it didn’t work out that way. The investigation after 9 and 1/2 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. We suspect it was someone far more skilled or professional.

Richard Wanke was convicted at trial in March 2017, only because he was not well or properly defended by the Winnebago County Public Defender’s office. The Winnebago County PD, and Steve Zimmerman, Richard Wanke’s lead attorney, 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. Attorney Zimmerman 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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The prosecution in this case wants the public and jury to find that a defendant’s disagreements with his attorney are sufficient motivation for him to kill his attorney. This is what their case against Richard Wanke boils down to regarding the murder of attorney Greg Clark.

The defense says that disagreements between criminal defense attorneys and their clients are pretty common and no reason to find a defendant guilty of murder since few defendants kill their attorneys. Those that do are quick-tempered, violent, and have violence in their past. Richard Wanke, is not a violent or angry defendant, and the State has no evidence showing that Richard was involved, let alone present at Greg Clark’s murder scene.  Attorney Clark was shot on 2/6/08, but no gun has ever been recovered. Richard’s never owned a weapon, and there still are no fingerprints, no DNA, in fact, no physical evidence linking Richard to the Clark murder

Richard had, in fact, amicable relations with Clark, for over six years prior to 2008. Their relationship, even then, was no different than that of most defendants and criminal defense attorneys. Public Defender Zimmerman stated forthrightly that Richard Wanke did not kill Greg Clark. Richard, Zimmerman declares, had nothing to gain from the death of Greg Clark.

Richard Wanke, and Deputy Chief Greg Lindmark, were not friends when they attended Guilford High School together. Deputy Chief Greg Lindmark was later sued by Richard, and in 2/08 he was put in charge of the Clark murder investigation. Lindmark’s direction of the Clark murder investigation was the reason why Richard became it’s suspect.

The prosecution is presenting it’s evidence in trial now. They’ve presented photographs and testimony and maps and Power Point charts and 911 audio. A full hour and a half of presentation has shown that Greg Clark was killed on a snowy day in 2008, but does not identify who might have committed this act. My impression is that they are trying to sway the jury with an avalanche of testimony and graphics. The sheer mass of evidence, although not relevant to who did the act, is impressive, but this investigation has been 9 years in the making.

More notes to follow; thank you for taking interest in Richard’s fate.

On day two, the prosecutors soft-balled questions to various witnesses about conversations between Richard and Greg Clark. Defendants disagree with their lawyers, which leads both sides often making their arguments in court and in court filings. No revelation about that. There were no public arguments between Greg Clark and Richard Wanke. They were very civil to each other outside of court no matter what they each said before the judge. Had anyone of the court; the judge, the attorneys, the bailiff’s etc., seen threats or true anger exchanged between Clark and Richard, the Court would have immediately stepped in and intervened.Violence of any sort is not tolerated in Courts. Richard Wanke was out on bond in 2/08; something few defendants who lose jury trials are allowed. This is due in large part to the length of time he complied with all court rules. The state has no witnesses who saw or heard anything negative between Richard and Clark. Richard had nothing to gain from Clark’s death, but everything to lose once he became the murder suspect.

There were some fireworks on day two when a detective admitted that he neglected, or maybe decided not to write his report on the crime scene until March 31. He had been the top ranking officer at the February 6 murder scene until others, including Deputy Chief Greg Lindmark, arrived. Regulations “require” that officers write reports before their shifts end. His shift lasted 53 days. Additionally, the detective conveniently made no mention of a conversation he allegedly had with the officer who had surveyed the neighborhood, and who had interviewed important witnesses. There was also testimony about the detective’s demotion from detective status, and then his subsequent promotion, at later date. The date of that promotion was not revealed in Wednesday’s testimony.


Well, it has been over 9 very long years for our friend, Richard Wanke, who is finally going to trial. His jury selection ended this morning and last minute matters will be heard tomorrow morning. Then, his trial begins Monday with opening statements.

Opening statements from each side will summarize what each side plans to prove by their evidence. Then, from that point forward we get to judge how well they do.

We want to thank everyone who has supported Richard over the years and those who have also contributed and helped with this blog. We hope to see you at trial!

WHERE: 4th floor, old Winnebago County Courthouse, 401 W. State St., Rockford, IL (Take elevators to the fourth floor and follow corridor right around to the very last courtroom; Judge Collins court in room 478.

WHEN: Beginning Monday 2/27/17, at 9am.

PLEASE: Remember to turn cellphones off (they get confiscated if they go off in courtroom), no cameras or recorders are allowed, and please sit on the Defense side (left side of courtroom and behind the defendant) in support of Richard.

Thank-you.

 

 


ROCKFORD — “It’s breathtaking. Oh my goodness,” a Rockford man said after emerging from the Winnebago County Jail into the sunshine this afternoon after more than 23 years behind bars for a murder he and his supporters maintain he didn’t commit.John Horton Jr., 40, was convicted of the 1993 murder of Arthur Castaneda in Rockford. Horton was 17 years old when Castaneda was fatally shot during a robbery at a McDonald’s restaurant, located at that time at 2715 Charles St. He was sentenced

Source: John Horton of Rockford free after more than 2 decades in prison


By Isaac Guerrero Staff writer
ROCKFORD – Woman shot while sitting at kitchen table in Rockford home. 1 dead, 1 injured in shooting. 5 homes hit by gunfire.

Headlines like those, posted to our website and plastered on the pages of this newspaper in recent weeks, sound scary. But experts say you shouldn’t confuse fear of crime with the actual risk of crime, which has been declining in Rockford since 2000. Violent crime, however, the stuff that captures headlines, has risen.

All but four of the 32 homicides in Winnebago County last year – the county’s highest homicide tally since 1996 – were in Rockford, where violent crime in 2015 increased 24 percent compared with 2014. The latest statistics from the FBI reveal violent crime increased 6 percent during the first six months of 2016 compared with the first half of 2015.

But is our fear of violent crime greater than our risk of violent crime? Because there’s lots of things in Rockford to be afraid of.

Rockford police reported in 2014 that there were 19 times as many people injured in car accidents – 1,211 – as were injured by gunfire – 104.

There were an average 29 suicides, 634 cancer deaths and 339 deaths attributed to heart disease annually from 2007 through 2011 in Winnebago County, according to Rockford Health Council. There were an average 20 homicides a year in the county during the same five-year period.

“People take risks on the fly every day,” said Kirk Miller, a criminologist and professor of sociology at Northern Illinois University.

“They’ll run through a yellow light, for example, which empirically represents a much larger risk in terms of your physical well-being and others’ well-being. But it’s more acceptable in society to run a yellow light because that doesn’t capture the fear and anxiety of these more dramatic events like a mass shooting or a homicide in an otherwise well-regarded location like a school or an airport or a good neighborhood.”

Source: Weighing fear and danger in Rockford as the city’s violent crime rate rises


Source: Prison treats inmates too harshly – Rockford Register Star


Decatur – Today Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice, Rita B. Garman, announced that news cameras are permitted in Illinois courtrooms.   The decision comes after a four year pilot project which allowed media cameras in certain courtrooms on an experimental basis.   Macon County State’s Attorney, Jay Scott, says he’s not a big fan of the Extended Media Coverage or (EMC).   “I really wasn’t in favor of it when they came out with the idea of cameras in the courtroom,” says Scott. “After doing the one trial that’s been televised in Macon County it’s like we didn’t even know the cameras were there.”   Scott says that he thinks the cameras could create an uncomfortable atmosphere for witnesses.   “I think is some cases you’re going to have people not wanting to come to court to testify,” says Scott. “I think in those situations when you’re dealing with very dangerous criminals that are on trial it could have an intimidating effect on witnesses.”   According to the Illinois Supreme Court, the continued goal of promoting transparency, accountability and accessibility to the court system is why cameras were implemented in courtrooms.   Only 15 judicial circuits in the state of Illinois have been approved to use cameras in courtrooms. Those circuits that have not joined will not be forced to do so.   Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial Court in Illinois, Dan Flannell, says that Macon County has been a part of the pilot project and will now be grandfathered in with the new policy to continue to have EMC in the courtrooms.

Source: Illinois Supreme Court adopts permanent policy for Extended Media Coverage in courtrooms | NowDecatur


http://www.rrstar.com/news/20160404/diane-chavez-files-10-million-suit-against-rockford-and-police-department

Sometimes, when someone is treated unfairly, you just have to make a statement. Diane Chavez, is suing the City of Rockford and individual police staff from the Rockford Police Department for just compensation for their alleged wrongdoing and the harm she suffered. She’s not expecting to receive $10 million dollars; but the figure is a statement regarding their conduct.


The one police official who spear-headed the February 2008 investigation into the murder of local attorney Gregory Clark and determined it’s on-going direction and focus; the past Rockford Police Deputy, Gregory Lindmark, apparently took his own life by suicide this past week on February 9, 2015.

Now, we are not generally fanciful, but cannot fail to note certain eerie coincidences and similarities between Lindmark’s own death and the death some seven years previous of attorney Clark. Certainly, there is some irony to note at work here. We’ve put together these reflections and readers are welcome to add your comments to our own.

Like Attorney Clark’s death, Greg Lindmark’s own death was totally unexpected, and similarly, the event has rocked the Rockford law-enforcement community to it’s core. As in Clark’s own death, Lindmark appears to be the victim of senseless gun violence; although self-inflicted. His death is also filled with unanswered questions and contradictions and eerily, it has occurred almost seven years to the exact February 6, 2008, date of the major murder investigation he first initiated and then remained most closely connected in importance to. What are we to make of this incident and what conclusions are we to draw from it?

Report of Greg Lindmark’s death on February 9, 2015

http://www.wrex.com/story/28063982/2015/02/09/rockfords-former-deputy-chief-chief-investigator-greg-lindmark-dies

Greg Lindmark relinquished control of the Greg Clark murder investigation and retired from his leadership role in the Rockford Police Department in 2011. He left, turning control of the Clark investigation over to his colleague, David Hopkins, in the department, who he associated with early on in his career and who has also risen into police leadership.

Lindmark left the Rockford Police Department for quiet retirement and family life with his second wife, Sheryl, but apparently he could not stay inactive for long. He was prevailed upon, shortly afterward to return to work and a new job assisting the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office by establishing and heading up it’s investigatory staff in the position of chief SA investigator; a job which colleagues say he reportedly loved till his death at age 53.

Greg Lindmark’s life and work was eulogized this past week at his funeral by his police comrades  in many respects as being the epitome of what any police cadet should aspire to: a hard-worker who rose rapidly thru the rnnks, meticulous in detail (whether washing his cars or working on cases) and a individual who cared deeply about and was supportive of others (his co-workers and the many crime victims he assisted).

Funeral arrangements for Lindmark

Hundreds turn out for funeral

The question is, as to why this death should have occurred in the first place and what are some of the ramifications it leaves for the future.

Audience mourners attending his February 13, 2015, funeral were instructed by the presiding clergy that, Greg Lindmark touched their lives forever and to go forth and reflect upon that fact. Certainly Greg’s life and actions  also touched our own; and we too carry forward with us some part of ourselves which he will have forever altered-just not perhaps in the same manner as his friends and family.

Earliest recollections of Greg Lindmark stem from 1991 – 1992, when he was Richard Wanke’s primary arresting officer (along with David Hopkins) for a pair of commercial burglary cases spanning both DeKalb and Winnebago counties. Their initial interaction with Richard Wanke during his first arrests and prosecution concerned several instances of alleged misconduct on their part which he would later attempt to sue them in federal court over. Richard Wanke alleged that both Lindmark and Hopkins extracted from him (during an extended marathon session of interrogation) false written confessions implicating him in certain area burglaries; the details of which he claims they provided him with and dictated to him in exchange for promises of medical treatment while he was medically unwell and too sleep deprived to resist believing them. Lindmark, in particular, Wanke claims, played “good cop” to him under the guise of a being a former high-school classmate of his who claimed to be concerned only with his welfare at the time.

Certainly Richard Wanke’s prolific writings from this time period lend support to the perspective of his naiveté in believing in any promises Lindmark and Hopkins may have made to him prior to the State then proceeding to prosecute him for burglary separately in both DeKalb and Winnebago counties. Richard Wanke subsequently served three years in IDOC for his DeKalb conviction while his Winnebago conviction would be overturned in 2000 and sent back to Winnebago County for a retrial which never took place before the State dismissed the case in 2008.

Greg Lindmark showed up to first testify at Richard Wanke’s DeKalb county trial. When the issue arose as to whether or not he and Hopkins had Mirandized Richard prior to eliciting a confession, Lindmark testified that he was present in the room when Hopkins Mirandized Richard. The problem was that Lindmark apparently forgot that he was on already on record elsewhere stating that he was called away from the room at the time for another purpose. Richard’s Public Defender didn’t find that contradiction important enough to refute when Richard raised it to him, but the State did. The State recalled Lindmark to the stand to retract and correct his testimony.

It was at Richard Wanke’s subsequent sentencing hearing in DeKalb County that Greg Lindmark also first put forth his claim in testimony that during his arrest, Richard Wanke, purportedly told he and Hopkins that he “wanted to be known as the Ted Bundy of serial burglars”. Lindmark’s claim at the time and now rings false to anyone personally acquainted wtth Richard Wanke, but that did not stop Lindmark from repeating the claim; most recently in 2008, when he again testified the same in aggravation at Richard’s last sentencing hearing. Most lately, of course, Lindmark laughingly confided to a third-party in a manner signifying that he thought little of it at the time; that the claim was an “embellishment” of his, and that even now he found it amusing that anyone could resent his action.

Richard Wanke subsequently dropped his federal lawsuits against both Greg Lindmark and David Hopkins over their alleged 1991 – 1992 actions, but the continued pattern of interactions also pitted Greg Lindmark against Richard Wanke in 2006 and 2008 and then set in motion the murder charges currently pending against Richard Wanke.

When attorney Greg Clark was shot to death on February 6, 2008, in the middle of a snowstorm, Greg Lindmark had been Deputy Chief of the Rockford Police for five years and was put in charge of Clark’s murder investigation. Evidence at his murder scene was sparse and not specific to any known individual but only seemed to indicate a composite of a suspect seen leaving the neighborhood after the murder. Whether that person lived in the neighborhood and thus, even had any connection to the murder is unknown since even at least one house a block or so over from Clark’s owned a vehicle similar in model and of the same color to the one some witnesses allegedly sighted. So, the police had no suspects to focus attention upon early in the investigation until a name was dropped into their midst.

It was fateful that Greg Lindmark was in charge of the Clark murder investigation when the local Public Defenders office offered up to police the name of Richard Wanke as a person allegedly in dispute in attorney Clark. However, within a couple of hours, Lindmark turned the entire murder investigation towards developing evidence to name Richard Wanke as the murder suspect. This likely would not have happened under a different Deputy Chief, but was almost inevitable given Lindmark’s past history with Richard Wanke.

Now, seven years later, it is apparent that even the State recognizes that Lindmark’s bias against Richard Wanke has doomed any real chance that ever existed to find the person or persons truly responsible for attorney Greg Clark’s murder. Richard Wanke has been fully investigated by the State and still no evidence exists directly connecting him to any involvement in the Clark murder. While State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato went ahead in April 2014, to charge Richard Wanke with Clark’s murder despite the case going officially cold in 2010, his office was careful to then excise Greg Lindmark from the prosecution’s case.

As the police official who directed and controlled the substance and scope of the original murder investigation and who then remained in charge of it for the following three critical years, Greg Lindmark should have been front and center to the State’s prosecution case, and their primary prosecution witness offered to detail how the investigation was handled. Instead, from the moment of filing, the State has reprised Lindmark’s role with a different and minor police official. It will be a police official who was in charge of dispatching individual police officers to their assigned responsibilities during the onset of the investigation, rather than Lindmark, (particularly following his death) who will now play the role of the primary prosecution witness responsible for the investigation.

Studies show the police are more prone to commit sudden suicide by their own weapons than the general public or persons in other occupations. Greg Lindmark’s autopsy is still pending and perhaps it will shed more light on the reason why a police official who many found exceptional apparently and most unexpectedly shot himself to death in the end. Perhaps it was just an accident, after all. To the observer, his somber funeral, (while respectful and attended by hundreds) comprising the routine Catholic mass, the presentation of the Color Guard, and a single, superficial brochure consisting of a few photos and an impersonal notation failed to adequately reflect the meticulous, yet human individual his mourners seem to recall. Clearly, Lindmark’s death not only came as a surprise to others, but to himself as well; since given his choice, he would have no doubt have planned for better.

As detailed above the Greg Lindmark we came to know over the years, differed significantly from the Lindmark his friends and family came to know and love. Yet, there is also that one last human moment of contact with Lindmark for us to share with the reader.

In 2013, in one of the large capacity courtrooms in the new Justice Center, Diane Chavez found herself face-to-face with Greg Lindmark, who had come in late to stand in the back. Lindmark apparently did not recognize her from the rear and found himself suddenly confronted by her in his path when she left. He evidently expected her to confront him with hostility, because sudden embarrassment and shame washed over his face for a second or two before he was once again able to compose himself stoically. Perhaps he had occasion over the years to recall his certainty in the justification of his actions at the time in Februuary 2008, when he personally arrested her and the knowing manner of her prediction to him then: when she advised him that his actions would be irrevocable and would cost her everything of value in her life (a situation which has since come to pass). in 2013, she merely continued past him.

Richard Wanke now faces the inability to at any upcoming trial to directly confront Greg Lindmark, his primary ranking accuser for the explanation and justification of his actions in 2008. As an falsely accused person, in the back of one’s mind is continually replayed the possible scenario of your main antagonist coming to the realization of his fault and in some manner accepting responsibility, acknowledging the fault to you, and making some atonement. In criminal prosecutions, you hope that someone in power intervenes to stop the senseless onslaught of prosecution against you.

For all the humanity attributed to Greg Lindmark by his mourners, he will therefore never play that part, and henceforth, we will have to do our best to erase the mark and memory he has left upon our lives.

 Greg Lindmark’s Funeral Brochure