Judge to rule in case of beanbag gun death next month

AP News
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Posted: Jan 16, 2015 7:04 PM
Judge to rule in case of beanbag gun death next month

MARKHAM, Ill. (AP) — The trial of a suburban Chicago police officer who shot and killed a 95-year old World War II veteran with a beanbag gun ended Friday with the judge saying he'll announce his verdict next month.

Judge Luciano Panici's ruling is expected on Feb. 6.

During the four-day bench trial, Cook County prosecutors who charged Craig Taylor with felony reckless conduct said the Park Forest officer had better and safer options than to shoot John Wrana repeatedly with the shotgun that fires beanbags at 190 mph.

Taylor's attorney countered that the officer acted properly and as he was trained to do when confronted with a knife-wielding Wrana in July 2013.

Taylor was one of several officers dispatched to the assisted-living facility where Wrana lived. A staff member reported that Wrana had become combative with staff and emergency workers who were trying to care for him.

Wrana, who had barricaded himself in his room, was shot five times with the beanbag gun before he dropped the knife and cane he was wielding. He died hours later.

Prosecutors and Taylor's attorney called expert witnesses to make their cases. And on Thursday, Taylor testified that he feared for his and the other officers' lives. He also said he was following a superior officer's instructions when he shot the weapon at Wrana and only kept firing because Wrana would not drop the 7-inch knife until after he was struck with the last beanbag.

Wrana's death was ruled a homicide by the county medical examiner's office that determined that he died of internal bleeding.

If convicted, Taylor faces a maximum sentence of up to three years in state prison.