A man accused of luring an off-duty Chicago police officer to a South Side alley and shooting him to death in 2010 has been found guilty of first-degree murder.
It took a Cook County jury four hours of deliberations Tuesday to find Bernard Williams guilty of murder in the death of Officer David Blake. The jury also convicted Williams, 25, of armed robbery.
Prosecutors said the then-18-year-old Williams killed the officer and raided a gun safe at his house. Blake was dating Williams' sister at the time.
"David has a nice collection (of guns). He welcomed Bernard Williams into his home, (showed him) his possessions, he knew the young man was interested in them," Assistant State's Attorney John Brassil told the jury in his closing argument. "That was (Blake's) downfall."
No physical evidence linked Williams to the killing of Blake, 45, nor was the murder weapon recovered. However, several of Williams' friends testified that he tried to recruit them to help in the murder and robbery, and that he confessed to them after killing Blake.
Part of the prosecution case hinged on the testimony of Williams' sister, Keana Baylis.
She took the stand and insisted several times under questioning that she didn't remember anything about her 2010 grand jury testimony. In that testimony, Baylis talked about her brother's interest in Blake's guns, that she overheard him confess to the killing, and that he denied it when she confronted him.
Assistant Public Defender Crystal Carbellos told jurors nothing tied her client to the crime, adding that investigators suffered from "tunnel vision" in targeting Williams.
"Nothing ties him to the crime scene, nothing," Carbellos told jurors. "Are you convinced ... with no evidence? Just some words that could be hollow and shallow?"
Blake, a veteran SWAT officer, was one of five Chicago police officers fatally shot in 2010. Charges were brought in connection with all five. Four trials have concluded in the conviction of defendants. One case is pending.