Judge Orders Mother of Laquan McDonald to Testify at Hearing Or be Barred from Trial

Jason Van Dyke, escorted by police officers and sheriff's deputies, leaves the Leighton Criminal Court Building following a hearing in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald on Aug. 14, 2018. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)
Jason Van Dyke, escorted by police officers and sheriff’s deputies, leaves the Leighton Criminal Court Building following a hearing in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald on Aug. 14, 2018. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

The judge overseeing the murder case against Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke said Tuesday that the mother of the teen shot by Van Dyke must appear in court later this week to testify or she will be barred from the courtroom during the trial.

Lawyers for Van Dyke, who is charged in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, want McDonald’s mother, Tina Hunter, to testify at trial about the teen’s troubled past. Hunter had been slated to testify at a court hearing last month but never showed up.

On Tuesday, Van Dyke’s attorney, Randy Rueckert, told Judge Vincent Gaughan that a process server has twice visited Hunter’s home with a subpoena for her to appear as well as a check to cover travel expenses. Both times, he said, “the same gentleman came out of the house” and refused to accept the papers.

“It’s obvious that she’s in the house, and she doesn’t want to be served,” Rueckert said.

After chastising Rueckert for not using other accepted methods to serve Hunter — such as registered mail — Gaughan said Hunter should be alerted that she won’t be able to attend the murder trial if she continues to duck service of the subpoena. He rescheduled the hearing for Thursday morning.

“She’s not going to be allowed to come into this courtroom unless she appears (on Thursday),” Gaughan said.

Efforts to reach Hunter by phone were unsuccessful Tuesday. Her former lawyers who represented her in negotiations with the city also did not return calls seeking comment.

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SOURCE: Jason Meisner
Chicago Tribune