CHICAGO – The trial of a man accused of killing an off-duty Chicago police officer in 2010 during an attempted robbery began Tuesday with prosecutors contending the defendant believed his victim was an "easy target."
In her opening statement, Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Keating said Anton Carter attempted to rob Officer Michael Bailey of his new car. Carter's action sparked a shootout in which Bailey, 62, emptied his gun, but was shot three times, she said.
"He saw an older gentleman, salt-and pepper hair. He was standing next to a shiny brand-new Buick Regal," said Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Keating told jurors in opening statements. "He walked up to him. He pointed his gun in that target's face."
Bailey had just finished a shift on then-Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's security detail and was wearing a baseball jersey over his uniform as he washed his auto, which a family member said he purchased as a pre-retirement present for himself.
Keating alleged that after the shooting, Carter, 32, began to brag about what he did.
Cook County Circuit Judge Stanley Sacks, after a reliability hearing, ruled prosecutors can call jailhouse informants as witnesses in the murder trial. The informants allege Carter confessed to them in separate conversations after he was sent to prison on a parole violation about two months after the shooting.
Assistant Public Defender Ed Koziboski told jurors Carter's talk amounted to nothing but bluster. He added Carter's confessions to friends and fellow inmates were inconsistent with what actually happened.
"He saw this as an opportunity to mythologize himself, to make himself look like more than he was," Koziboski told the jurors in his opening statement. "He started making up stories."
Carter wasn't charged with the murder until a year after Bailey's death. His trial was delayed by the prosecutors' trying him first on carjacking charges, for which Carter was convicted.
Bailey was among five Chicago police officers killed in 2010, one of the department's deadliest in its 164-year history. Prosecutors obtained convictions in the four other slayings.