Archive for the ‘Richard's Cases’ Category


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”?


Let’s review what’s happened at trial:

It’s undisputed that attorney Greg Clark was shot to death on February 6, 2008. At approximately 1:55 PM, he was outside his house on the corner of Oakforest Dr., and Sentinel Rd, in Rockford, using a snowblower to clear snow from sidewalk adjacent to his driveway. Someone came up to him, shot him three times in the back and left. Attorney Clark was on the ground and dead within minutes of being shot.

There was a lot of procedural testimony from first responders and police detectives about what happened after the shooting; who responded to what event, about their job responsibilities, chain-of-custody testimony, what everyone physically did at the murder scene and what evidence and witness reports detectives collected and who they spoke to. HOW DOES MOST OF THAT TESTIMONY MATTER?

IT DOESN’T! The only part of trial testimony that matters as to whether we have the truth of who killed attorney Greg Clark is the reliability of the State’s evidence which they present and allege that it connects Richard Wanke and Diane Chavez to the Greg Clark’s murder scene and then, ONLY BY IMPLICATION, to some involvement in Greg Clark’s murder. So, let’s look at what this evidence consists of:

FIRST: THE FORENSIC EVIDENCE

The State presented most of their prime physical evidence consisting mostly of clothing collected from attorney Greg Clark and suspect Richard Wanke on 2/6 – 2/7/08, phone logs, the 911 tape, an audio tape recording of 5/7/07, meeting between attorney Clark, Richard Wanke, and Diane Chavez, certain oral statements made in court at Richard’s Wanke 2006 burglary case both Clark and Wanke as documented in court transcripts, a photo of Diane Chavez’s ’98 Dodge Caravan, estimates of travel times and routes between Clark’s home and Wanke’s Rockford apartment, part of a gun strap found on the ground at the murder scene, computer address searches, gloves, State driver records, and vehicle search results, the contents of two photo line-ups, and bullet casings .

Forensic experts testified at length about the relevant DNA, fingerprint, gunshot residue, and comparison testing they did on the bullet casings, clothing, gun strap, gloves, and van. The expert testimony is only relevant in showing that the same weapon, a gun, was used in two different attacks on attorney Greg Clark. One occurred on November 7, 2007, and the other on 2/6/08.
The State maintained that although the rest of it’s forensic testing results were negative, that they are also inconclusive That’s trying to put a good spin on it.

Bottom-line

The State found NO incriminating DNA, fingerprint, or gunshot residue on any of the tested items. The only DNA positives it found for Richard Wanke were on items of his own clothing and not those of Greg Clark’s.

SECOND: EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY

There was no eyewitness to attorney Greg Clark’s shooting, so the most important witness testimony concerns the description of any stranger who eyewitnesses saw in the vicinity of the murder scene closest to the time of the murder and the description of any vehicle they drove.

The suspect in the van

Phyllis Clark, attorney Greg Clark’s widow, was the most immediate witness to reach the murder scene. She testified that her husband was outside their house snowblowing for about half an hour before she heard gunshots. She said she went to the window of their house and saw her husband on the ground. She said she saw a man 5’7’’ leave her husband’s side and enter the passenger side of a dark blue van on the street which then headed toward Sentinel Dr.

Various neighbors arriving home in the subdivision reported seeing and driving behind a dark blue van as it entered the subdivision on Sentinel Rd., from the north and headed towards Clark’s house minutes before the shooting. One neighbor passed a dark blue van on the driver’s side when it pulled over to the curb by Clark’s house, and another encountered a dark blue van as it pulled out of the subdivision shortly after the shooting. and turned west onto Rote Rd. Witnesses mostly described the van they saw as being dark blue in color. One said it was blue-green in color. Most said it was a Chrysler product and a Town & Country van. One said it had gold wheels. Each identified the State’s photo of Diane Chavez’s ’98 Dodge Caravan in court as the van they saw on 2/6/08. Several other witnesses described other suspicious and different color and make vehicles they saw in the neighborhood on 2/6/08. No witness saw or recalled the license plate number of the van.

The State photo of Diane Chavez’s ’98 caravan below: the van in this photo only appears to be dark blue because of the type of lighting used by police. There were plenty of dark blue vans in Rockford that looked like this. A few of them are still driving around. No one knows how many dark blue vans there were in total in Rockford in 2008, because the police search of registered vans only searched for 1998 year vans. Nor did they check van registrations from other surrounding cities. And, if you look closely at the hood of van in this picture, you can partly detect the van’s real color.

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The actual color of Diane Chavez’s ’98 van: What difference does a subtle change of color make? EVERYTHING…

If the witnesses all saw a dark-blue van with gold rims on 2/6/08; it wasn’t Diane’s van. It was instead, the normal dark-blue color van which Chrysler has offered as a color for more years. Some of those regular dark-blue older Chrysler Town & Country and Caravan vans are still seen in Rockford today. In 2008, Ford also had a dark-blue Windstar van which can be still be mistaken for either Chrysler or Dodge vans.

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p1020319The photos above are not Diane’s van. We can’t access her van because the police still have it, but these are the normal light photos of a van which is the same model and year as Diane’s: a 1998 Chrysler Caravan. It is a PURPLE, not a BLUE van! And if the eyewitnesses had seen Diane’s van up close and accurately, they would have described purple, not dark-blue. Chrysler offered the paint color Amethyst (Purple) on it’s Dodge Caravans and Chrysler Town & Country vans for several years through 2000. The color is still in use by other car makers today.

The allegations against Diane Chavez.

On this Home page of our website is the above tab, “About Diane Chavez”. We direct you to click on it and review the fallacious evidence the State uses to allege that Diane Chavez was present at Clark’s house on February 5, 2008, the day before the murder and during her lunch hour. The State’s implication is that Diane Chavez somehow assisted Richard Wanke in killing attorney Clark. The State is wrong and that its “evidence” against her is both false and manipulated and makes one question the accuracy of it’s case against Richard Wanke.

Back to the Man

Except for Clark’s wife, the eyewitnesses all saw the man in the van only as he sat behind the wheel of it and drove the van. They uniformly described the driver of the van as an older, white male. Their best estimate was that he was in his 40’s. The police detectives later testified that they were sent looking for a suspect described to them as having “grayish” hair and a “scruffy” beard. At trial, most witnesses seemed to qualify their mention of gray hair to being brownish and pulled back in a pigtail. A couple mentioned eyeglasses and one mentioned large eyeglasses worn by the man. Most said the man seemed to be wearing dark clothing, and one witness was adamant he recognized by the sleeve he saw that the driver wore a black demin jacket like one of the State’s exhibits. Every witness identified Richard in court as being the man they saw driving the van.

There was an unexplained discrepancy in the eyewitness testimony concerning who was in the van. The testimony of Clark’s wife, who saw a man enter a van on the passenger side before it left, and a then 7 year old child who testified that she saw a white man standing by the passenger side of a van by Clark before the shooting. If every witness saw the same dark blue van, then there was possibly more than one person in that van. One witness testified that they followed a van which pulled over to the curb by Clark’s house, which would be the right side curb of Oakforest Dr. At least two other witnesses said they followed a van as it entered the subdivision heading towards Clark’s house. Clark’s wife and the child witness saw the van parked facing the opposite direction: on Oakforest Dr., but pointed towards Sentinel Drive.

Every eyewitness testified that police showed them each six photos of different suspects on 2/6/08, and each witness in turn failed to identify Richard Wanke’s photograph on the day of the murder as the photo of the man they saw driving the van. Mrs. Clark too failed on 2/6/08, to pick Richard Wanke’s photo out as being the man she saw that day leaving the body of her husband. Each of them only days later called by the police to report that Richard Wanke, was the man they saw, after they saw the following several articles and photos published in the Rockford-Register Star on February 9, & 10, 2008.

What did all the eyewitnesses see and read in the Rockford Register-Star before they identified Richard Wanke as the suspect?

The articles the Rockford Register Star published on February 9, and February 10, which named Richard Wanke, and Diane Chavez as suspects in the Clark murder investigation even though Richard Wanke had not yet been identified by eyewitnesses as a man in the blue van.

The first article, “Double drama in court” which appeared in print on February 9, 2008, is a front-page triple article in one which continues on the next two pages inside. It shows a photo of Richard Wanke with dark hair and a beard. It identifies both Richard Wanke, and Diane Chavez, as police suspects in the Greg Clark murder investigation by saying that both a judge and attorney linked them to it in court. A chronology of Richard Wanke’s 2006 burglary case is at the top of the second page along with an article about the shooting aftermath at the bottom of the page. That second page is almost a full page devoted to information about the murder.

The article “Jailed duo helped each other” appeared the next day on February 10, 2008. Each of these Rockford Register-Star identifications and articles clearly influenced each of the eyewitnesses in this case. On our blog under this Home page tab “Unreliabiltiy of Eyewitness Testimony” is information about how easily and unconsciously eyewitness recollections are influenced by many factors and are often erroneous no matter how certain witnesses feel and testify about what they saw. You should review this information.

Bottom Line:

February 6, 2008, was one of the heaviest snowfalls in Winnebago County. At times it was almost a blizzard outside. Snow was heavy on the ground at the time of the shooting and snow was falling. Most of the eyewitnesses in this case were arriving home because of the weather. They were focused on driving in the snow and keeping their windshields clear of it. They were not that focused on the vehicles around them or the drivers of those vehicles. If they had been and if they each saw the van and the man driving it as clearly and completely as they claim, they would recall at least part, if not all of a license plate, the make and color of the van correctly, or would have agreed on the physical description of the driver, what he was wearing, and whether there was one person or two in the van.The eyewitness testimony in this whole case is unreliable.

THIRD: MOTIVE

The State played an audio micro cassette tape to the jury which allegedly contains the audio of a 25 minute meeting between Attorney Greg Clark, Richard Wanke, and Diane Chavez on 5/7/2008. It may actually be an earlier March 2007 meeting. Much of the tape is inaudible and difficult to distinguish. The Rockford Register-Star printed a small portion of the conversation on it:

“…Wanke wanted Clark to use photos of a minivan owned by Chavez in the burglary case. Clark questioned the significance of someone keying Chavez’s van or using photos of windshield wipers.

“I don’t know. That’s not my job,” said a man investigators identified as Wanke.
“Whose job is it? Whose job is it to determine materiality?” a man believed to be Clark responds. “Is it my job? What percentage is my job and what percentage is your job?…”
RRSTAR article about the audio tape
The State wants us to believe that Richard Wanke and Greg Clark had such an “tumultuous” relationship; that it was antagonistic enough to cause Richard Wanke to kill his attorney. The State claims that statements made by both such as the above and the text of court transcripts from Richard’s 2006, burglary trial for the theft of a laptop computer prove that Richard’s “state of mind’ motivated him to kill attorney Clark. The State exaggerates what hostility took place between attorney Clark and Richard Wanke and wrongly blames Wanke for all of it.
This audio tape exchange, shows Clark not cooperating with Richard Wanke when reviewing evidence that Wanke feels may be used at trial. Clark puts Wankd down when he tries to point out that the light-blue van had obvious physical damage that a State witness failed to note on the van he saw at the burglary scene and which he described to police as being silver in color. Keying, wipers, etc can be relevant when a witness claims it was your van he saw up close but then somehow misses seeing what he should have. Wanke didn’t know if what he had was useful for trial. He was consulting Clark, and Clark treated him poorly and was obviously antagonistic. The full length of the tape contains similar content but no obscenities are exchanged and there is a reconciliation of sorts at the end of it. The tape is not the “smoking gun” the State wants us to believe it is.
The court transcripts of Richard’s burglary case show it was attorney Clark, not Wanke who first complained to the court on March 7, 2007, that the other was not communicating with him. Even then, both Clark on page three says there was no hostility between them and Richard agreed on page six saying, that they were very courteous with each other, and it was just a difference of opinion.
The March 14, 2007 transcript


Wanke merely spoke up in his own defense. Attorney Clark pushed the court to admonish his client. If the court transcripts indicate resentment by either, it wasn’t Richard Wanke, but Clark who later on May 7, 2007, on page 13, told the court that he wasn’t used to being left out of the loop by a client and that he didn’t like it. Page 24 of May 7, 2007, Clark was upset enough with Wanke that he stood back when the judge pushed Richard Wanke to trial.
The May 7, 2007 transcript


Richard Wanke didn’t know at the time what was going on. He didn’t know that Clark had everyone meet the Friday before without him on May 4, 2007. He didn’t know that Clark had confessed that he advised Wanke wrongly about the length of his potential sentence and was requesting a continuance for that reason.

The May 4, 2007 transcript


May 4, 2007, and May 7, 2007, are the only two times in the nearly three year course of Richard’s burglary case where there is  emotion in the court record the State is now trying to use, and it was attorney Clark who was upset, and who reacted poorly, not Richard Wanke. Richard Wanke was out on bond in 2/06/08; something few defendants who lose jury trials are allowed. This was due to the court’s recognition of all the years in which he had complied with all court rules and was civil.
Bottom Line:

Defendants and attorneys regularly disagree about trial strategy and the relevance of evidence. Both sides hash out their arguments in court and in court filings. No revelation about that. Defendants are often held in contempt of court when they speak out of turn or disrespect someone. That did not happen here. There were no public arguments between Greg Clark and Richard Wanke. They were very civil to each other inside and out of court no matter what tension existed. Clark had represented Richard Wanke for six years (not one year as the State maintains) amicably before on another case, and his mistakes created the pretrial tension between them in Wanke’s burglary case. 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 to intervene. Attorney Clark would have been removed from Wanke’s case. Richard Wanke would have been held in contempt of court or even criminally charged with misconduct. Violence of any sort is not tolerated in courts and the State has no witnesses who can show that any disagreements between Clark and Wanke exceeded the usual tension generally present in criminal defense. Richard was not a legal novice. He knew well that Clark’s death would not dismiss his case or improve his lot. At best, it would just cause a new attorney unfamiliar with him to do a worse job of advocating for him at sentencing. At worse, he could anticipate receiving the worst sentence possible as a murder suspect.

SUMMATION

The lack of forensic evidence against Richard Wanke, the unreliability and inaccuracy of the eyewitness testimony against him, and the State’s attempt to make a mountain out of a molehill regarding Richard Wanke’s alleged motive to kill Greg Clark does not prove that Richard Wanke killed attorney Greg Clark. Far from it. Stay tuned, and in a couple of days, we will explain to you how the State’s evidence and the murder investigation instead proves that Richard Wanke did not kill Greg Clark! And, we will show the bias on the part of Rockford Police Deputy Chief, Greg Lindmark, who headed this investigation that made Richard Wanke the suspect.

 


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.


My friend Richard Wanke will be tried for the murder of attorney Greg Clark in Rockford’s most sensational courtroom drama perhaps ever. Trial is in Room 487 of the Winnebago County Courthouse with Judge Rosemary Collins presiding.

Attorney Clark, was shot dead on the sidewalk of his home Feb. 6, 2008, in the middle of a severe snowstorm.

Jury selection will begin February 21, 2017.

Greg Clark was a long-time private practice attorney. Rockford’s legal community was rightfully shocked at this brutal murder. They expected an effective investigation and successful prosecution. The proper functioning of our legal system seems to demand this whenever a prominent or well-liked citizen is a victim of violence, because anything less seems unfair to us.

Yet, when sensational murders of prominent citizens put tremendous pressure on police, police officials sometimes make the mistake of rushing to judgement, of targeting the first suspect they uncover. 

I question whether the state has any substantial forensic evidence to hold my friend, Richard Wanke, accountable for Clark’s death. Prosecutors appear to be relying on the questionable eyewitness reports from a blizzard-plagued day eight years ago; and over the passage of time, witnesses become unavailable and their memories less reliable. The one person in charge of the entire investigation in 2008, Greg Lindmark, committed suicide in February 2015, and is no longer even available to answer any of our questions about the direction in which he led the entire investigation from day one. 

The State maintains that it is most reasonable to assume that Clark was a target and that he was killed him by one of his criminal clients. Yet, attorney Greg Clark had a general law practice and represented mostly civil clients. Is it reasonable for the police to assume that a client of Clark’s in a criminal case killed Clark, when statistics show that violence in murders such as his are more likely to arise from family members, friends, or even from clients in more contentious disputes such as divorce or family cases? Richard Wanke fits their bill because he was a criminal client of Clark’s who lost a trial shortly before in 2007. The State alleges that his relationship with Clark was antagonistic enough to cause him to kill him.

Richard was quickly arrested the night of Clark’s death, and was held but not charged. Instead, six months later he was sentenced to 14 years for the theft of a laptop computer that belonged to a Rockford College art professor. No one else was charged with Clark’s murder for six years as the police continued their investigation of the murder. If the police evidence was that clear against Richard, then why this delay? Prosecutors didn’t charge Richard with the crime until April 2014. Was there any new evidence, or is the state going with the evidence they have had for all these years? After the indictment, Richard’s lawyer stated that the police and State showed that no new evidence had been collected.

The State’s story is that Richard had complained about Clark’s representation in his criminal case, and that this motivated him afterward to kill Clark on 2/6/08. Can we believe this? The defense will undoubtable point out that losing a trial seldom causes people to murder their attorney, and that there were other people who knew Clark who may have had better motive to kill him but who were not investigated by police in their rush to judgement.

What will happen at this trial remains to be seen. However, as a long-time friend of Richard Wanke’s I’ve never known him to be a violent person. Instead, I know him to be a level-headed and intelligent human being who worked to resolve problems and to help others. He ran the Peace Store (as a volunteer) on Seventh Street and was a vegetarian who was very involved in community festivals like Block 5 and On The Waterfront. He is a talented artist who can draw wonderfully and was curator of the Ethnic Heritage Museum, In 2008, he was busy editing the newsletter for Stateline Jazz Society, leading a weekly writer’s workshop, and working with the local Mac user group, fixing computers for schools, and fixing computers for friends. He was never known to be physically aggressive or to use a weapon. I know of so many instances over of years when Richard came up with ideas for others and helped them out on projects for free. I also know him to be too sensible to expect that killing anyone after would help him out in any way. I do not believe he killed Clark. 

Also, anybody with any brains knows that if you are going to kill your attorney, it makes more sense to do it before trial or from prison and not before sentencing when that deed will likely add years to any sentence you receive. Richard is intelligent enough to know that and has shown enough patience in working thru the criminal justice system to show that he could never lose his temper enough to become violent.

Richard Wanke’s situation and prosecution has been a dilemma for our community from the start; a question of impartiality. Do our local police conduct investigations well when under major community pressure? Do our prosecutors make the right decisions when the victim is a member of the legal community and someone they know? Can and should our local public defenders have to grapple with the loss of one of their own and then have to turn around and adequately represent the one defendant who is charged with committing this crime. Richard Wanke lacks the money to hire high-priced defense attorneys and so the Public Defender is charged to defend him in this case. Public defender, Nick Zimmerman, has a tough job and lacks the type of money and resources from outset of the State’s Attorney. The State’s case against Richard appears to be weak, but only his trial will show us how well our legal system really works.

Charles Worboys is a Rockford resident.

Note: the remarks and contents, as posted above, are the only accurate version of this article.


Richard’s case was set for jury trial today, but really stood little chance of going forward. The State became aware that one of it’s expert witnesses who lives out of state is unable to appear at trial now in November due to her medical condition. It is a general prerequisite in criminal trials that witnesses testify at trial in-person, because all defendants have the legal right to face their accusers and cross-examine them in-person. Judge Collins knows this and does not want to allow anything wrong to happen in Richard’s case which can be reversed later on appeal.  The State tried to argue that with modern technology, the witness could appear via Skype, but no Illinois caselaw supports this, so Collins was forced, once again, to reset the trial date. Any trial delay, like this which is caused by the State is usually assessed against the State’s deadline to bring someone to trial in a timely manner, but Collins assessed the delay to Richard instead.  However, the State lost in it’s attempt to have her to reschedule the trial to Feb 6, 2016. It will now instead begin on February 21, 2016, barring the occurrence of any other delays.

A number of issues still remain to be decided by Judge Collins anyways concerning what evidence will be allowed to be presented by each side and how the evidence will be presented. Any trial delay now is minor considering, it took the State years to charge this case in the first place. This delay does however, give the defense additional time now to prepare it’s witnesses and evidence and hopefully procure some expert testimony on Richard’s behalf. Richard’s attorneys have cited a lack of time in which to do this and this delay should now take away that excuse.


By Georgette Braun Staff writer
Posted Mar. 1, 2016 at 8:31 PM Updated at 8:30 AM ROCKFORD —

Public defender Nick Zimmerman asked to withdraw as attorney for Richard E. Wanke Jr., who is charged with murder in the 2008 death of attorney Gregory H. Clark, but Judge Rosemary Collins said today he couldn’t. Collins said Zimmerman’s assertion that there could be a conflict of interest if he were to call a colleague to testify wasn’t at issue. That’s because the colleague’s involvement with Wanke revolved around a separate burglary case against him, Collins said. “There is no conflict,” she said.

Zimmerman is the fourth lawyer for Wanke in the case. Wanke has contended at previous hearings that Winnebago County public defenders could not adequately represent him because of conflicts of interest. Zimmerman continued to defend Wanke in the Winnebago County courtroom today, where he sought to have certain evidence suppressed in the case that will go to trial on May 2.

Clark was fatally shot Feb. 6, 2008, 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 vehicle and shot Clark in the back.

Clark had defended Wanke on a 2006 burglary charge involving a computer, and Wanke was upset with the outcome. That’s what Rockford Police Department officers said Bart Henbest, Clark’s son-in-law and business partner, told them at the time.

Wanke was serving prison time at Stateville Correctional Center and was weeks away from being released when he was charged in 2014 with killing Clark. He has previously said he had nothing to do with Clark’s death.

In Collins’ courtroom, Zimmerman said that Rockford police in 2008 “arrested my client at gunpoint, without a warrant or probable cause.” And he asked that items Wanke had on him when he was detained not be admitted as evidence at trial. Those items included business cards, a driver’s license, keys, a cellphone and a flash drive. The significance of those items in the case was unclear.

Wanke, wearing a lime green Winnebago County Jail jumpsuit, ankle shackles, a ponytail and an audio headset to aid hearing, often leaned closer to Zimmerman and whispered to him as Zimmerman was about to address the court.

Marilyn Hite Ross, chief of the criminal bureau for the Winnebago County state’s attorney office, said there was probable cause for police to detain Wanke. “Probable cause exists when they have articulative facts that led them to believe that a crime had been committed and this defendant committed that crime.”

Sgt. David Lee of the Rockford Police Department testified today that he and other officers were sent to a duplex in the 1100 block of Grant Street to do surveillance within a few hours after Clark was shot. That’s where they saw Wanke shoveling snow. He matched the description witnesses gave of a suspect at the shooting scene: a white male in his 40s or 50s, with glasses and long, straggly hair. A blue minivan with gold rims was parked near Wanke.

Source: Richard Wanke, accused of killing Rockford lawyer Gregory Clark, seeks to suppress evidence – News – Rockford Register Star – Rockford, IL

…AND WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS HEARING & ARTICLE:

First off, background about what an IL “Suppression” hearing is and what it is supposed to accomplish

A motion to suppress evidence is an objection over evidence generally presented to court before trial begins. The motion challenges evidence on constitutional grounds. Generally a motion to suppress is based on:
Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure
Fifth Amendment limitations of self-incrimination
Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment safeguards for due process

Generally, the purpose of a suppression hearing is to examine whether or not the police had sufficient probable cause to either arrest, search, or seize persons or property at a specific time.

The US Supreme Court has left probable cause open to interpretation by US courts with such guidance as, …”Probable cause exists where the facts and circumstances within the officers’ knowledge and of which they have reasonably trustworthy information are sufficient in themselves to warrant a man of reasonable caution in the belief that an offense has been or is being committed.” (Brinegar v. U.S.)

A look at the probable cause in a criminal case may be warranted based on the circumstances of the case. In Richard Wanke’s instance, there are indications that the police in February 2008, may have had little more than suspicion that Wanke was involved in Greg Clark’s murder; that is, no forensic evidence or only circumstantial linkages. Richard Wanke was not arrested in 2008, but his bond was revoked and he was jailed. The State is trying to justify the factual basis on why he was imprisoned based on what the police knew at the time they acted against him. If the actions taken in 2008 were not based on sufficient probable cause of his involvement in the murder, then whatever was collected by police in 2008 may not be usable today by the State. Bottom-line, in 2008, the police needed to be able to have reasonably connected Richard Wanke to the murder.

Richard’s case is almost a double situation of probable cause because he was charged with the murder in April 2014, after it went cold in 2010. Cold cases are usually re-opened and charged after the police discover new evidence that links a suspect to the crime. This does not appear to have happened in Richard’s case, so if sufficient probable cause is not found in the actions of 2008, then there may be further issues of legitimacy in his 2014 charges.

Now, will Judge Collins find the police had “probable cause” against Richard Wanke in 2008? She will issue her decision next Monday on March 7, 2016. But, yeah; we anticipate that she will find that the police did have probable cause to act against Richard, and that she will deny defense’s motion to suppress any evidence.

We anticipate this decision based on how she handled and disposed the first motion defense submitted just before the suppression hearing began.

The RRSTAR article above is a garbled account and explanation of what actually took place in the courtroom on March 1, 2016. The RRSTAR reporters have only the limited opportunity while reporting to learn how to interpret courtroom actions and their significance.

Georgette Braun writes: “… Collins said Zimmerman’s assertion that there could be a conflict of interest if he were to call a colleague to testify wasn’t at issue. That’s because the colleague’s involvement with Wanke revolved around a separate burglary case against him, Collins said. “There is no conflict,” she said…”

Well, this is not quite what happened. Derrick Schmidt, one of Richard’s prior Public Defender’s warned Judge Collins during argument over his past motion to withdraw the Public Defender’s office from representing Richard that the issue of conflict-of-interest regarding the Winnebago County’s Public Defender’s office was going to rear it’s ugly head repeatedly through Richard’s case if Judge Collins did not remove the office from the case.

Yesterday, Nick Zimmerman, Richard’s current Public Defender said that he and Robert Simmons, (his co-counsel) were reviewing case materials early Monday morning when they came upon an issue with the way in which Richard’s bond was revoked on February 6, 2008. Basically, Zimmerman maintained that Richard’s bond was illegally revoked because the police and the State agent at the time failed to follow proper procedures when they revoked his bond.

Generally bond is revoked in court. The State presents facts to the judge about why the bond should be revoked; the defense has the opportunity to challenge the reasons, the judge decides if the revocation is merited and then signs an order which is officially recorded in the record by the Circuit Clerks’ office.

None of that happened in Richard’s situation in 2008. On February 6, 2008, a police officer knocked on Judge Truitt’s door at home about 11pm at night; told Judge Truitt god knows what about Richard and the Clark murder; got the judge to sign the revocation order and then the order ended up in the court record much later. Problem is, again, no one knows what information was presented to Judge Truitt to persuade him that Richard was such a danger that his liberty should be revoked, and no one was there on Richard’s behalf to challenge the information presented. It was all done improperly and ex-parte. Plus, at 11pm, the police had already picked up Richard and he was already in their custody, so they had jumped the gun on picking him up.

You see, the police had a choice on February 6, 2008, if they believed that Richard was a danger and needed to be in custody. The police could have gone to a judge earlier that afternoon and obtained an arrest warrant for Richard and then picked him up and arrested him. This is what they do for most people they arrest.  Instead, the police apparently felt that Richard had no legal rights because he was already out on bond, so they could just go and pick him up between 5 – 6 pm.

In February 2008, however, the police did not charge Richard Wanke with the murder of Greg Clark. Instead, they waited till April 2014 to do that. Meantime, in 2008, they held Richard in jail under questionable authority for about 4 months before he was sentenced in his laptop burglary case and sent off to IDOC.

So, Nick Zimmerman maintained to Judge Collins, on March 1, 2016, that the whole issue of how Richard Wanke was seized by the police in 2008, has to be examined because a bond revocation and not an arrest was used to justify holding him and then seizing evidence against him at the time, and he ended up not being charged with anything at the time.

It is a fair issue to consider because without protections, the police can then pick up and detain indefinitely people out on bond without charging them with anything.

Zimmerman’s problem however is that the State agent who acted against Richard on February 6, 2008, is now a public defender of some repute who many people in the Public Defender’s office consult with on a regular basis, including himself. Zimmerman notified Judge Collins that, in order to examine the issue of the bond revocation on Richard’s behalf, he and Simmons had a conflict-of-interest in that they would be divided between their allegiance to Richard and their allegiance to the public defenders office when cross-examining Margie O’Conner; who might also hedge in answering truthfully simply because she was being questioned by colleagues.

Judge Collins, in the morning first heard arguments on both sides; from the defense that the bond revocation was illegal because procedures were not properly followed, and from the State, who claimed that it was legal and justified holding Richard Wanke indefinitely. Collins then adjurned the case upon 1:30 pm for her decision on the issue.

During the noon break, Collins used her time to review first the electronic docket on Richard’s laptop burglary case 06-CF-405. Then she pulled the casefile and reviewed the court transcript for 2/15/08, where a motion by Attorney Brown to reinstate Richard’s bond was heard by Truitt.

Brown complained at that hearing that the State (Margie O’Conner) presented some information as to why Richard’s bond was revoked, but that it was conclusionary information and not the underlying factual basis: for example, that Richard fit the shooter’s description, but the description itself was not presented. Brown complained then that the State was not providing sufficient information for him to be able to sufficiently represent Richard. Also, the procedural manner in which the bond was revoked was not discussed then before Judge Truitt.

Collins also reviewed the 6/11/08 court transcript where attorney Glenn Jazciew refiled the motion for bond and argued that it was due reconsideration since it had been four months since the first motion was argued and Richard’s situation still had not changed in that he still had not been charged. Judge McGraw refused to allow the issue to be reheard at that time.

So, Collins basically, marched back into court yesterday afternoon and said “the bond revocation issue was raised and litigated in 06 CF 405 and we are not going to revisit it. And, because, we don’t need to revisit it, the PD does not need to call Margie O’Conner as witness, so we don’t have a conflict-of-interest situation here. So, lets go on and do the suppression hearing now.

Georgette Braun makes it sound as if Collins found that the issue Zimmerman raised only pertained to Richard’s prior laptop burglary case. It does not, and that is not what Collins said. Collins simply found a way to avoid having to deal with the entire issue and refused to allow it to be considered on March 1, 2016. That it was raised to be considered in an entirely different manner than in 2008, with new facts available to the defense who now knows what it did not know in 2008, that is the flimsy basis of the evidence the police had against Richard in 2008, and how they did not follow procedure is irrelevant to Judge Collins. On March 1, 2016, she is happy to ignore all improprieties that happened in 2008; just to ensure that Richard still remains representing in this murder case by the Public Defender’s office.

So, we hardly find Judge Collins action on March 1, 2016, to be an impartial consideration and ruling on an important issue raised by the defense. She basically heard both sides then went and scouted out support to just toss the issue away. This is hardly the sort of action one hopes for in a judge who is considering the outcome of the remainder of your life.

Judge Collins’s actions and rulings so far in Richard’s case may just be a total waste of all our time and public money.  By continuing to be adamant regarding keeping the public defender’s office on Richard’s case, Judge Collins is setting this case up for the Illinois Appellate Court to just toss the case back to the County several years from now when it ends up reviewing the case. The trouble is that not only does it waste all our time and money, but it means Richard Wanke may be subjected to several years of additional unjustified incarceration while he goes through the process of trial all over again.

How does this appeal to your sense of humanity?

 

 


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

 


Defense: Prosecutors intentionally misled jury on Richard Wanke murder charges

By Kevin Haas

Rockford Register Star

Posted May. 30, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

Updated at 3:39 PM

ROCKFORD — Richard Wanke’s defense says prosecutors intentionally misled a grand jury in order to secure murder charges against him in the death of attorney Gregory Clark.

Wanke’s attorney, Sami Azhari, filed a motion to dismiss the charges today during an appearance around 1:30 p.m. before Judge Rosemary Collins. The motion claims that prosecutors led a grand jury to falsely think gun residue was found on Wanke’s clothing.

State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato said his office will not comment on pending litigation.

Clark, Wanke’s lawyer in a previous burglary case, was shot in the back on Feb. 6, 2008, while clearing snow from a sidewalk in front of his house. Wanke was out of jail awaiting sentencing on burglary charges at the time of the shooting. He has denied any involvement in Clark’s death. Wanke is currently being held in Winnebago County Jail.

Six years after the shooting — on April 16 — prosecutors sought first-degree murder charges against Wanke in a hearing before the grand jury. It was during testimony from Rockford Police Sgt. Kurt Whisenand, the state’s only witness at the hearing, that prosecutors misled the jury, according to Azhari’s motion.

A portion of the transcript of the grand jury testimony, which was included in Azhari’s motion, shows that Deputy State’s Attorney Jim Brun asked Whisenand whether a bag of clothing found during the investigation had been tested for gunshot residue. It was, Whisenand said. Brun then asked Whisenand whether he was familiar with a Illinois State Police Crime Lab report that “indicated they did, in fact, detect particles characteristic of background samples on the clothing in that bag.” Whisenand affirmed that background particles had been found.

The problem, Azhari says, is that the background particles are not actually evidence of gunshot residue. But he says Brun led the jury to believe they were.

“He’s insinuating that the background particles are gunshot residue and, in fact, they are not,” Azhari said. “Background particles are just natural environment particles.

“If they tested my hands or your hands, or my clothes or your clothes right now — and we’ve never fired a gun — we would have background particles.”

When a grand jury member later asked Brun for a clarification, Brun said, according to the transcript: “There were particles — the way the lab report and the testimony was presented, there were particles consistent with gunshot residue.”

Azhari said prosecutors had not presented anything new in the six years since the shooting

Page 2 of 2 – “There’s been no new evidence that I’m aware of in the 967 pages of discovery that I’ve reviewed that has anything that’s come up since 2008,” he said.

Kevin Haas: 815-987-1410; khaas@rrstar.com;@KevinMHaas

via http://www.rrstar.com/article/20140530/NEWS/140539935/


There is going to be a lot of hype going around since today’s announcement  by the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office of charges against Richard Wanke regarding the 2008 murder of his attorney, Gregory Clark. For the record, we do not believe that any charges are merited in this murder case which has been (and still is as of today) listed as an UNSOLVED MURDER  for several years on the Rockford Police Department website. As we understand it, the murder investigation has been at a stand-still for years with no new evidence being uncovered. The existing evidence in the case to-date has been described to us as chaotic at best  since the murder occurred in an open neighborhood, in the middle of a major Rockford snowstorm,  and resulted in speculation about potential multiple suspects,  contradictory statements and sparse information. As far as we know, no direct evidence connects Richard Wanke, to the murder, and NO NEW EVIDENCE IS BEING ADVANCED EVEN NOW by the SA, as justification for charging him 6 years after this heinous murder.

What we do know is that this particular unsolved murder is has been a thorn in the side of the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office since it happened. It has been a contentious issue raised often by contending candidates in electoral elections for the office. It has been the subject of unsubstantiated public opinions aired in the press by various law enforcement and related individuals. And, from the outset, the investigation and resulting criminal process has been handled, as some would say, as a “rush to judgment” directed against Richard Wanke, who received an arguably the maximiun  prison term possible in another minor infraction as a result. So, the real question we should all be asking ourselves at this point  (instead of assuming) is: Is this justice? Does the evidence really justify the charges, or is this just an attempt by the SA and Rockford to save face with the community and the public by charging the usual suspect?


This article is substantially just a reprint of the same information the Rockford Register-Star prints on each anniversary of the murder of Greg Clark. The authorities put out the hint that they are confident that they have the right individual targeted in their investigation and that they simply are tightening up the evidence in the case before they arrest the suspect.

In reality, we know that the authorities don’t hold off waiting to arrest someone when they feel they have sufficient evidence of complicity in a crime. Saying they have a suspect when the evidence is not sufficient to connect the suspect to the crime is always a face-saving tactic, particularly when the investigation is not being worked for other angles and possibilities.

It it too bad that the RRStar and bereaved family members are simply accepting what the authorities claim. The RRStar should either investigate this story in depth from a new and broader perspective (we are sure that Clark faced threats from a few clients and that there were other security threats in his neighborhood) or join the family in pushing for a new, unbiased reinvestigation by police or an outside source.

We are just as interested in this happening, because, apparently, it will be necessary for someone else to solve this homicide and product the suspect to the police before they will consider other options. And otherwise, the longer this case pends out, the more likely it is, in this case as in others, that the authorities will simply stoop to manufacture the evidence they think they require. That will resolve nothing, and is exactly what causes wrongful convictions.

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By Corina Curry RRSTAR.COM

ROCKFORD — A blizzard dumping historic amounts of snow across the city. Government offices, including the courthouse, shutting down because of the inclement weather. The buzz of snowblowers in neighborhoods across the city.

All stood as eerie reminders this week of a shooting three years ago that took the life of a local attorney.

Gregory H. Clark, 60, was killed Feb. 6, 2008, while pushing a snowblower on the sidewalk around his home in the 1700 block of Oak Forest Drive. Police said a gunman jumped out of a van, shot Clark several times in the back and jumped back into the van, which sped off.

It was just before 2 p.m. The Winnebago County Courthouse, where Clark mainly worked as a defense attorney, was closed because of a heavy snowfall.

Later that day, police arrested two people — housemates Richard E. Wanke, one of Clark’s clients, and Diane Chavez.

While prosecutors publicly called both people of interest in the homicide investigation, neither was charged with Clark’s death at the time and that has not changed in three years.

No one else has been charged, either — leaving the mysterious midday attack on an unarmed attorney clearing snow in front of his house one of the community’s most-puzzling unsolved murder cases.

“This time of year is difficult,” said Bart Henbest, Clark’s business partner and son-in-law. “Anytime there’s a bad snowstorm. It brings back memories.”

via Investigation goes on 3 years after Rockford lawyer’s shooting death – Rockford, IL – Rockford Register Star.