Guilty as Charged
A Cook County jury tonight convicted a reputed gang member charged in the 2009 murder of a Chicago police officer.
After deliberating for nearly 2 1/2 hours, the jury found Shawn Gaston, 22, guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder in the fatal shooting of Officer Alejandro “Alex” Valadez, 27.
The verdict was read about 9:06 p.m. in a courtroom packed with Valadez's family, friends and fellow officers.
Gaston, wearing a black button-down shirt and with his dreadlocks in a ponytail, watched without expression as the jurors filed into the courtroom before delivering the verdict. He looked at his family after the verdict was read, his expression unchanged.
Many of Valadez's relatives were crying softly throughout Wednesday's closing arguments. Their sobbing became louder after the verdict was read, and they hugged and cried in the hallway as people filed out of the courtroom.
A short time later, Valadez's sister Brenda, who is also a Chicago police officer, told a group of reporters that her family is happy Gaston was convicted but is still devastated by her brother's killing. The pain is worst, she said, when she thinks about her brother's son.
“My nephew, who was born three months after my brother was murdered, will never know what his daddy's hugs and kisses feel like,” Brenda Valadez said, surrounded by her parents, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, and dozens of other relatives and police officers.
“His daddy will not be there on his first day of school. His daddy will not be there to cheer him at T-ball or guide him through life and share all those wonderful memories that wonderful and loving fathers share with their sons.”
UPDATE: Post moved from 2300 hours last night to current top spot.
Labels: officer down