Cop Found Guilty In Off-Duty Killing Of Vendor p. 32

By: Mark Fitzgerald CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER Gregory Becker was found guilty April 19 on all counts in the 1995 fatal shooting death of a vendor of StreetWise, the city's homeless newspaper.
Becker was found guilty of armed violence, involuntary manslaughter and three counts of official misconduct in the death of StreetWise vendor Joseph Gould.
Becker, who has been suspended from the police force since the shooting, faces a 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence on the armed violence count and sentences of three to five years on the remaining charges. Sentencing was set for May 28.
After a two-week trial that included testimony from Becker, the jury took six and a half hours to find the police officer guilty on all charges.
Becker, who is married, was off duty and had been drinking and dancing with his girlfriend, Joey Preston, when they encountered Gould after leaving a nightclub early in the morning of July 30, 1995.
Prosecutors during the trial said Gould was holding a bucket and washrag when he asked Becker and Preston for some money. Prosecutors contended Becker went into his car trunk to get his gun and that the gun discharged and killed Gould as Becker was pistol-whipping the homeless man. Becker and Preston sped away from the scene, hoping they were not spotted, prosecutors contend.
Becker and Preston testified at the trial that Becker had his back turned on Gould when the homeless man tried to grab his gun. The gun discharged in the struggle and the two left without realizing Gould had died, the couple testified.
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?copyright Editor & Publisher- April 26, 1997.


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