Anton Carter found guilty of killing off-duty Chicago police officer Michael Bailey in botched carjacking in 2010
A jury on Thursday found Anton Carter guilty of the murder of Chicago police Officer Michael Bailey, who was shot and killed while off-duty in a botched carjacking in July 2010.
Earlier in the trial, the son and the widow of the slain officer each took the witness stand to recall in quiet and deliberate tones the chaos that erupted nine years ago in their own front yard.
Jurors also heard two men — one an inmate at the time — testify to overhearing Carter brag about the slaying.
In opening statements, Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Keating told jurors that Bailey, 62, looked like an "easy target" to Carter. "He saw an older gentleman, salt-and-pepper hair. He was standing next to a shiny brand-new Buick Regal," she said. "He walked up to him. He pointed his gun in that target's face."
The prosecutor said Carter attempted to rob Bailey of his new car, an early retirement present, sparking a shootout in which Bailey emptied his gun but was shot three times.
Testifying at the trial of Carter, Bailey's son, Michael Jr., said he had just returned to his attic bedroom after a night out when he heard two gunshots, then a pause and at least five more shots.
He jumped up, looked out the window and spotted his father lying motionless in the street. Bailey's wife, Pamela Bailey Wilson, was asleep in bed with two of her grandchildren when she heard screaming. She rushed out the front door.
"He was laying on his back and his eyes were still open, and I touched him and his body was warm," she said, shaking her head at the memory. "But he never moved or never acknowledged me or anything."
After hearing the gunfire, Bailey's son testified, he took two guns from the house and ran outside. He pulled open the unbuttoned jersey worn by his father over his blue police uniform and saw the bullet wounds.
"Once in the neck and once in the chest," the younger Bailey said. "Was your father talking?" Assistant State's Attorney Peter Goutos asked. "He was trying, but no," Bailey replied.
Bailey said he noticed a truck speed off, its tires squealing. Assuming the truck was connected to the shooting, he said he tried to shoot at it in a rage. But neither gun worked — one was not even real, unbeknownst to the son — so he tossed them aside and ran back to his father.
Prosecutors allege Carter fled on foot and within days started to brag about the shooting to just about anyone who would listen. Antion Brown, whose parents lived near the house where Carter was staying in late July and early August 2010, said he overheard Carter talk about the shooting to his friends twice in a span of a few days."
He said he went out. He needed some money, but it didn't happen that way. The man flinched like he On cross-examination, Brown admitted that at least one of Carter's own friends disbelieved his story about killing the officer.
Floyd Payne testified he heard Carter bragging in December 2010 when both were in a lockup at the courthouse in suburban Bridgeview.
"The dark-skinned skinny guy said something like he killed a police officer," said Payne, who went on to allege Carter also mentioned the shooting occurred early in the morning and that he told other detainees where he had stashed the weapon.had a weapon and he bucked," Brown said. "He directly said he didn't give a f---. He'd do it again."
In opening statements, Carter's attorney contended all that talk amounted to nothing but bluster.
"Anton Carter at that time was a 23-year-old young man, somewhat homeless, kind of a braggart," Assistant Public Defender Ed Koziboski told jurors. "(He) liked to present as kind of a tough guy, liked to present as an outlaw, someone who did bad things. And he saw this as an opportunity to mythologize himself, make himself look like more than he was. And he started telling stories."
Yet Carter's confessions to friends and fellow inmates were inconsistent with what actually happened, Koziboski said. "He will tell them things that didn't happen," he said. "He will tell them about an event that doesn't really look like what happened here, beyond what was available to the public on the news."
Bailey was among five Chicago police officers killed in 2010, one of the department's deadliest years in decades. Carter, now 32, was not charged with the killing until a year after Bailey's death.