Van Dyke Trial Live Blog: Defense Attorneys Begin Calling Witnesses

What to Know

  • Van Dyke is charged with murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old McDonald nearly four years ago
  • The Chicago police officer was captured on dashcam video shooting McDonald 16 times the night of Oct. 20, 2014, on the city's Southwest Side
  • Van Dyke entered a plea of not guilty

Follow along live from court above and below. (NOTE: Not all witness testimony will be streamed live above. You may notice intermittent bars and pauses.)

After more than four years, Jason Van Dyke and his attorneys are telling their version of what happened the night Chicago teen Laquan McDonald was killed. 

The defense began their case Monday in the highly-publicized trial of the Chicago police officer charged with murder in the shooting that shook the city and the nation. And they're offering a new theory on what happened.

Special prosecutors rested their case against Van Dyke Thursday after calling 24 witnesses over three and a half days. 

Van Dyke is charged with murder after he shot McDonald 16 times the night of Oct. 20, 2014, on the city's Southwest Side.

Van Dyke's attorneys maintain the Chicago officer has been wrongly charged, saying he was acting within the law when he shot the teen, who at the time was an armed felon fleeing a crime scene. 

Among the first witnesses called Monday were other law enforcement officers who testified they had violent encounters with McDonald when he was a juvenile. 

"He came at me... he swung at me," said Miguel Dejesus with the Cook County Youth Detention Center. "I was able to pick him up and pin him against a glass partition." 

The defense also challenged the prosecution's autopsy analysis, alleging McDonald died shortly after one, maybe two, of the 16 shots fired. Previous reports indicated the teen died on his way to the hospital. 

"If it was the pulmonary artery, [his death] would have been minutes, maybe up to five minutes," testified pathologist Dr. Shaku Teas. 

Jurors have previously seen dashcam video showing the fatal shooting in which Van Dyke fired 16 shots at McDonald. But the defense plans to challenge the perspective of the video and show jurors a new recreation of the scene from Van Dyke's point of view. 

So far in the trial, the jury saw graphic autopsy images showing the more than a dozen gunshot wounds on the body of 17-year-old McDonald as a forensic pathologist detailed how each bullet affected the teen's body. 

They have heard testimony from several Chicago police officers and witnesses at the scene, seen the weapon Van Dyke used, and watched as FBI specialists demonstrated the shooting. 

Van Dyke has claimed he opened fire that night to protect himself and other officers. 

With the end of the trial still more than a week away, both the McDonald family and the Van Dyke family are praying for justice. 

"Justice is trying to figure out whether there was a murder," said Father Ed Cronin with St. Jane De Chantel Church. 

4:08 p.m.: As trial of Jason Van Dyke enters the defense phase, his Parish Priest calls for peace. For. Ed Cronin says, “We are deeply troubled by the kinds of protests we see. This city needs to be a peace. This case cannot tear is apart again.”

12:01 p.m.: Defense pathologist says Laquan McDonald likely died from a gunshot that went through his lungs. She says he died from blood loss. 

“How fast did he die?"

"If it was the pulmonary artery, it would have been minutes...maybe up to five minutes.”

11:28 a.m.: Pathologist says Laquan McDonald died as the result of only a few of his wounds. When asked: “Are you saying he died before some of those other wounds had a chance to bleed?" Dr. Shaku Teas answered, “Probably. He had bad circulation”

10:19 a.m.: Protests outside 26th and California as defense begins it’s case in the trial of Jason Van Dyke. First witness, a forensic pathologist re-examining autopsy of Laquan McDonald.

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