Jason Van Dyke, the man who killed Laquan McDonald, received a sentence of six years and nine months for the second-degree murder. Now, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and special prosecutor Joseph McMahon say by law, Van Dyke could have and should have received more time for the murder.
The prosecutor and attorney general want to know why the judge didn't sentence Van Dyke to six years for each of the 16 shots he fired at the teen and are lobbying the Illinois Supreme Court to reconsider the former police officer's sentence, USA Today reports.
“It is important that a police officer was held accountable for criminal conduct,” McMahon said in a press release, according to NBC News. “But we argued at the sentencing hearing that Jason Van Dyke should be sentenced for the aggravated battery with a firearm convictions (sic)."
Marvin Hunter, McDonald's great-uncle, believes the sentence is illegal. He reached out to the prosecutors in a letter, claiming the 81-month sentence violates Illinois' “one act, one crime” law. This law states a person convicted of multiple charges can only be sentenced to one charge and mandates the court work to convict that person on the most serious of the charges.
“Illinois law required Judge Gaughan to impose sentence on the aggravated battery convictions, not the second-degree murder conviction,” Hunter wrote.
The judge chose to ignore the aggravated battery charges and to sentence based only on the second-degree murder charge, as Blavity reported. In general, murder is considered more severe than an aggravated battery charge, but Illinois treats aggravated battery with a firearm as more serious than second-degree murder. As Van Dyke committed his crime with a gun, Hunter believes the case's judge misruled.
Raoul and McMahon seem to agree with Hunter.
“After conducting a thorough review of the record in this case and the law, and in consultation with the special prosecutor, I determined that a mandamus action must be pursued in the Illinois Supreme Court,” Raoul said at a press conference.
By law, Van Dyke is required to serve the minimum of half of his sentence; his team has recently asked that he be released on probation. Should he only serve the minimum time, Van Dyke could be out in a little over three years if his current sentence is not reviewed and overturned by his state's Supreme Court.
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