[Hpn] Chicago Ex-Cop Faces Retrial In Death Of Homeless StreetWise Vendor (fwd)

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Wed, 14 Feb 2001 19:59:24 -0800 (PST)

http://www.chicago.tribune.com/version1/article/0,1575,SAV-0102140299,00.html FWD Chicago Tribune - February 14, 2001 RETRIAL SET IN DEATH OF HOMELESS MAN FRIENDS PROTEST RELEASE FROM PRISON OF EX-COP CHARGED IN FATAL SHOOTING By Courtney Challos - Tribune Staff Writer About two dozen friends and relatives of a homeless man who was fatally shot in 1995 gathered Tuesday at the Criminal Courts Building to protest the release from prison of former Chicago Police Officer Gregory Becker, the man accused of the crime. Becker is facing a retrial on charges related to the shooting death of Joseph Gould, a StreetWise salesman who was killed following a July 30, 1995, confrontation with Becker. Becker was found guilty in 1997 in Gould's shooting death and initially was sentenced to 15 years in prison for one of the most serious charges against him. That sentence later was reduced to 10 years when the Illinois Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the Safe Neighborhoods Act, the law under which Becker was sentenced. Then, last August, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled that Becker's manslaughter and armed violence convictions were "inconsistent" and sent the case back for a new trial. Becker's conviction on a charge of official misconduct, however, was upheld. Becker was released from prison Jan. 19 on $250,000 bond, said his attorney, Patrick O'Brien. Becker had been in custody since May 1997. On Tuesday, as a new court date was set for March 6, Becker sat quietly on a bench in the second row of a courtroom. Two rows behind him was Gould's sister, Gwen, who was flanked by supporters, including representatives from StreetWise, a newspaper designed to help homeless people earn money. Gwen Gould said she was devastated to see Becker out of prison and back in court. "To see him sit up there in front of me--my brother was shot out there on the streets--it's like nothing really happened," she said outside the courtroom. "We shouldn't even be here. It should have been over with a long time ago." Outside the courtroom, Becker said he was "absolutely" glad to be out of prison. "That goes without saying." The 1995 confrontation between Joseph Gould and Becker occurred just after midnight as Becker left a River North tavern and dance club with Joey Preston, described in court records as his girlfriend. According to trial testimony, as Preston and Becker walked toward Becker's parked car on Franklin Street, Gould approached the couple and began talking to Preston. Preston told Gould to leave them alone, but Gould refused. Becker then retrieved Preston's purse and belongings, including his service revolver, from the trunk of his car. During the trial, Becker testified that Gould grabbed for the handgun while he was attempting to place it in his waistband. Other witnesses said they saw Becker strike Gould in the head with a black object and subsequently heard a gunshot. END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** Visit HPN for CONSTANTLY UPDATING NEWS on Homeless People: *************************************************************** Over 10,000 articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people Been Homeless? Then JOIN! EMAIL Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ***************************************************************