Live Updates From The Jason Van Dyke Murder Trial

Lisa Fielding
September 17, 2018 - 11:14 am

(Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via AP)

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Follow along live with Rob Hart and Lisa Fielding from the courtroom below.

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Opening statements began Monday in the murder trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, with an major decision marking its start.

Almost four years have passed since Jason Van Dyke shot and killed 17 year old Laquan McDonald near 41st and Pulaski. Van Dyke fired sixteen shots.  Officers initially said McDonald charged at them with a knife.

As court began Monday, Judge Vincent Gaughan denied the defense's motion to change location of Jason Van Dyke trial. Judge Vincent Gaughan said he has "faith in the citizens of Cook County." 

Late last week his legal team decided to move forward with a jury trial, rather than a bench trial, with 12 jurors and five alternates selected over the course of the week. 

But over the weekend, protestors held a rally because they say the jury did not reflect the racial makeup of Cook County.  There's only one African American on the jury.

Van Dyke’s attorneys had previously asked the court for months to move the trial because of the high-publicity the case has received. They also filed a motion seeking to dismiss the chosen jury panel because the jurors had to pass protesters who held signs that said their client had been "guilty of racist murder." 

Judge Gaughan denied that request Friday and again on Monday, saying the jurors selected did not indicate they were intimidated by protesters outside the courthouse.  

Court began at 9 a.m. Monday.

Van Dyke, 40, was charged with murder in November 2015 in the shooting death of 17-year-old McDonald. The shooting was captured on Chicago police dashcam video, showing Van Dyke firing his gun at McDonald 16 times the night of Oct. 20, 2014, on the city's Southwest Side. He was charged with six counts of first-degree murder in November 2015 and 16 counts of aggravated battery in March 2017.

Van Dyke entered a plea of not guilty.

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