Judge in Jason Van Dyke Case Denies Motions for New Trial, Sets January Sentencing Date

A sentencing date was set for Jan. 18

Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted in October of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, will be sentenced on Jan. 18, a judge said Friday. 

The sentencing date followed a ruling denying motions for a new trial and to set aside a jury's verdict in the case.

Van Dyke appeared before Judge Vincent Gaughan for the second time since his conviction in a trial that captured the nation. He wore a prison-issued jumpsuit and a Department of Corrections windbreaker as he stood in open court.

Lawyers for both sides argued their positions on a motion filed by Van Dyke's defense seeking to set aside the jury's verdict convicting him of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. 

The judge denied that request. 

Attorneys then argued motions for a new trial, which was also denied by Gaughan. 

The ex-Chicago officer made his first post-trial appearance in October, but no sentencing date was set. Instead, Van Dyke's defense filed two new motions - one requesting a new trial and the other asking that the judge set aside the jury's verdict in his case. 

Van Dyke was convicted on Oct. 5 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the fatal shooting of McDonald

The long-awaited verdict came almost exactly four years after Van Dyke shot 17-year-old McDonald 16 times on the city's Southwest Side.

Dashcam video showing the shooting shook the city and the nation, sparking massive protests and calls for justice.

Van Dyke's attorneys have maintained the Chicago officer was 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.

They have vowed to continue fighting the decision.

Not long after his conviction, Van Dyke was transferred to the Rock Island County Jail in far northwestern Illinois, one of 45 jail detainees who are being kept outside of Cook County.

The move was for security reasons, not due to any health concerns, a spokesman for the Cook County sheriff's office said, adding that Van Dyke was a high-profile case for whom more security was deemed appropriate. 

Second-degree murder carries a four- to 20-year prison sentence, but can also result in four years of probation instead of prison. Aggravated battery carries a six- to 30-year sentence, 85 percent of which must be served.

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