Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 different counts of aggravated battery for each bullet that took the life of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald on October 20, 2014, in Chicago. However, a new report claimed he may only serve an extremely light sentence for what was a cold-blooded killing of a teenager.
According to court documents filed Monday, special prosecutor Joseph McMahon “indicated he would not take a hard-line position at sentencing,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Originally, it was believed Van Dyke would receive a minimum of 96 years. However, his 12-year-old daughter wrote a letter to the judge saying, “I have been bullied at school about what has happened. Kids come up to me and say that my dad is a murderer. That hurts so much when people say that to me. My dad is not that.” Now, he may only be sentenced to 18 years.
“McMahon gave his blessing for a sentence that could restore Van Dyke’s freedom while he’s still young enough to rebuild his life,” the Chicago Tribune explained. “While outlining a way for Van Dyke to be sentenced to as little as 18 years in prison, McMahon did not make a specific recommendation as to how many years the ex-officer should be incarcerated.”
The defense was asking for probation instead of any jail time.
A jury of eight women and four men — seven of them white, one Black, three Hispanic and one Asian — found the former officer guilty, which immediately revoked Van Dyke’s bail.
The horrific video of the killing appeared to show Van Dyke fired at McDonald 16 times within 14 seconds. The video was released one year after McDonald’s death and showed the teen walking away instead of confronting officers, which is what Van Dyke falsely said happened. McDonald continued to be shot at even after he fell to the ground from the initial bullets.
Our condolences go out to the family of Laquan McDonald. Nothing can bring him back but we hope Jason Van Dyke will be held fully accountable. He was being held in solitary confinement and sentencing was expected to take place Friday.