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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

[IL] Catherine Weiland's said-suicide with a Chicago police officer's service weapon

Catherine Weiland 
August 26, 1961 - February 18, 2009 

Chicago police Sgt. Steven Lesner says that Catherine Weiland killed herself with his service weapon while he was in the bathroom.


CHICAGO COP WASHED HANDS BEFORE TESTS IN DEATH INVOLVING HIS GUN
Chicago Sun Times
By Tim Novak and Chris Fusco
September 15, 2013 5:56PM
Updated: September 16, 2013 7:59AM
[Excerpts] As Catherine Weiland sat dead on her couch with a bullet wound in her head from a Chicago police sergeant’s gun, the sergeant washed his hands before investigating officers tested him to see whether he might have fired the weapon... The records show [Chicago police Sgt. Steven] Lesner washed his hands in [Catherine] Weiland’s apartment sometime after the shooting, which he reported at 1:42 a.m. He did so before the first police arrived two minutes later, according to Adam Collins... Lesner’s gun “was not fingerprinted because the grips on the gun are not a surface that prints can be obtained from.” The police did swab the gun for DNA. But they never provided Lesner’s DNA to the state crime lab, so no DNA tests were conducted on Lesner’s gun... Lesner called 911 from his cellphone. The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications has declined to release a recording of the call. The investigation into Weiland’s death was assigned to a team of detectives led by Detective Thomas Conley, who, like Lesner, played for the FOP Stars, a police union hockey club...   The State Police Crime Lab said it wasn’t given Lesner’s clothing to test for gunshot residue. [Full article here]

LAST MONTH: 

FOUR YEARS LATER, OFFICER STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION IN WOMAN’S DEATH
Chicago Sun Times
By Tim Novak and Chris Fusco
August 19, 2013 12:06AM
Updated: August 19, 2013 10:58AM
[Excerpts] Four years ago, a Chicago Police sergeant [Steven E. Lesner] responded to a quarrel between a woman and her ex-boyfriend at a restaurant and ended up driving her home, stopping on the way to buy her a bottle of wine. After he finished his shift, Sgt. Steven E. Lesner went back to Catherine Weiland’s apartment on the Northwest Side with another bottle of wine and a six-pack of beer. He got there around 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 17, 2009 — a Tuesday night. By 1:40 a.m., the slender, brown-haired woman was dead in the home where she grew up, shot in the head with a bullet from Lesner’s service weapon. Lesner told detectives that Weiland ... killed herself in the living room... The police and Cook County medical examiner’s office concluded the death was a suicide... Tests by the Illinois State Police crime lab found gunshot residue, or GSR, on Weiland’s left hand - not her right hand. Weiland was right-handed... Jody Weis, Chicago’s police superintendent at the time of Weiland’s death, says he didn’t recall being told about the case... Asked about the case, the police now are saying for the first time they believe Weiland shot herself with her right hand... At the time of Weiland’s death, he was married... Lesner told investigators he gave Weiland a ride home in his police vehicle because she was intoxicated... and he said he stopped and bought her a bottle of wine. Department rules forbid officers from transporting liquor in a police vehicle... Weiland wasn’t examined to determine if she’d had sex... “Sgt. Lesner stated no sexual relations took place... In Weiland’s bedroom, police found a half-empty bottle of Michelob Ultra, the beer Lesner had been drinking. Lesner told them he didn’t know how it got there... [Full article here]

...D.F.
Bottom line = A married cop with two kids and a wife goes to a intoxicated single woman's apartment late at night. He met this woman on a disturbance call and knows she is intoxicated and upset.He has no business being there. He knows she is distraught from arguing with her boyfriend, yet leaves his gun out. If he wasn't there in the first place (Which he shouldn't have been) the gun wouldn't have been there and she might be alive today!!...

...M.K
Four things amaze me about this story. 1. That it's taken 4 years to work towards a conclusion to this situation. 2. That Sgt. Lesner was not disciplined in ANY way for his breaking of cop rules and lack of good sense. 3. How did he not hear a gunshot fired in the apartment? And 4, Michelob Ultra? Yuk. How about a 6 pack of Heineken or Rolling Rock? Get some taste dude!...


BACK IN 2009:

CHICAGO COP REASSIGNED AS OFFICIALS PROBE USE OF HIS GUN: Woman apparently killed herself with the weapon, Chief of Detectives Thomas Byrne says
Chicago Tribune
By David Heinzmann
February 20, 2009
[Excerpts] Chicago police officials have assigned a veteran sergeant to desk duty while they investigate why his gun was used in the apparent suicide of a Northwest Side woman he had encountered during a domestic-disturbance call... The sergeant, whom the Tribune is not naming because he has not been charged with a crime, has a history of misconduct allegations. In 2001 he was kicked out of the Special Operations Section after an internal affairs investigation over allegations of theft. No charges were brought against him... He returned to the Patrol Division and was later promoted to sergeant. [Full article here]

UPDATE: 

CPD’s responses to questions regarding the death of Catherine Weiland
Chicago Sun Times

Here are the Chicago Police Department’s responses to questions from the Chicago Sun-Times regarding the death of Catherine Weiland.

Q: We’re working on a story regarding Catherine Weiland, who died after she was shot in the head with a bullet from Sgt. Steven Lesner’s service weapon. The police department closed the case, apparently before the forensic results came back showing gunshot residue on Ms. Weiland’s left hand, while the bullet entered the right side of her head from a downward angle.

A: This is incorrect. The bullet entered on an upward angle. The bullet entered her head on the right side 5 inches below the top of her head and exited on the left side 4 inches from the top of her head.

Secondly, death investigations in which no evidence of a crime exists are commonly closed prior to forensic evidence coming back. They are then reopened for review when forensic evidence becomes available. That’s precisely what took place in this incident.

The case was originally closed on March 14, 2009 as non-criminal. It was reopened on March 29, 2009 when a ballistics lab report from forensics came in. As is true with every such case, the case was reviewed to ensure any forensic evidence that came in was consistent with the original investigation. It was reopened again on August 27, 2009 when a lab report from forensics regarding the gun shot residue came in. Again, the case was reviewed to ensure any forensic evidence that came in was consistent with the original investigation. Everything was consistent with the original investigation and it remained non-criminal.

Finally, gun shot residue does not always attach to a person’s hand when they fire a gun. Offenders, victims and even suicide victims can test negative for GSR. With a semi-automatic handgun, GSR spray is limited to the ejection port and the muzzle. Since much of the GSR couldn’t come out the muzzle due to the placement of the gun, most of it could come out would be the ejection port on the top of the gun. Typically, GSR coming from the ejection port is sprayed up and away – not necessarily onto the hand holding the gun.

There are many factors that can affect GSR including ceiling fans, open windows, open doors, heat or AC blowing thru a vent, how a gun is held, the type of bullets used, the presence of blood, or actions taken by first responders to name just a few.

Additionally, I want to ensure you’ve carefully read page 11 in which Ms. Weiland’s family details her previous issues including threats to harm herself after fights with her ex-boyfriend. And, as you know, a domestic disturbance with her ex-boyfriend is what precipitated the original call on the night Ms. Weiland committed suicide.

Q: Ms. Weiland was right handed, but the tests show no gunshot residue on her right hand.

A: Based on the trajectory of the bullet, as determined by the Medical Examiner, and the shape of the entry wound, we believe that she used her right hand. This is consistent with her being right handed and not inconsistent with the GSR test for a person using a semi-automatic weapon

Q: Why did the police close the case before the forensic results came in?

A: Again, death investigations in which no evidence of a crime exists are commonly closed prior to forensic evidence coming back. They are then reopened for review when forensic evidence becomes available. That’s precisely what took place in this incident.

Q:Should the case have been reopened because of the forensic results?

A: Again, it was. The case was originally closed on March 14, 2009 as non-criminal. It was reopened on March 29, 2009 when a ballistics lab report from forensics came in. As is true with every such case, the case was reviewed to ensure any forensic evidence that came in was consistent with the original investigation. It was reopened again on August 27, 2009 when a lab report from forensics regarding the gun shot residue came in. Again, the case was reviewed to ensure any forensic evidence that came in was consistent with the original investigation. Everything was consistent with the original investigation and it remained non-criminal.

Q: Why didn’t detectives notate that Ms. Weiland was right handed?

A: Because the dominant hand isn’t a factor. People shoot themselves with their non-dominant hand, or with both hands.

Q: The reports don’t say whether there were any tests to indicate whether Ms. Weiland had sexual relations with Lesner. Were such tests conducted?

A: Sgt. Lesner stated no sexual relations took place between he and Ms. Weiland, and she was fully clothed at the time of her suicide. There were no signs of force or foul play and Sgt. Lesner was off-duty at the time of the incident, so no such tests were conducted.

Q: According to the reports Lesner admitted violating several department rules, such as transporting liquor he purchased for Weiland while he drove her home, and then failing to secure his weapon. Why wasn’t he disciplined for this?

A: An internal investigation into this incident took place and has concluded with a recommendation that must now complete the process proscribed by the member’s collective bargaining agreement.

Q: The Independent Police Review Authority had two investigators on the scene, but the authority refuses to answer any questions about this case, saying it is under review by the Internal Affairs Division. Ms. Weiland died more than four years ago. Why is the IAD case still open? When do you expect it to be completed?

A: An internal investigation into this incident took place and has concluded with a recommendation that must now complete the process proscribed by the member’s collective bargaining agreement.

Adam Collins
Director News Affairs
Chicago Police Department

http://www.suntimes.com/21989414-761/cpds-responses-to-questions-regarding-the-death-of-catherine-weiland.html
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder alleged said suicide usur illinois hx repeat teflon state politics]

4 comments:

  1. The Sargent had a hearing Fri. No decision for a couple months.
    http://www.dailynewsen.com/breaking/chicago-police-sergeant-admits-misconduct-and-apologizes-at-hearing-h2499698.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Daniel. Hugs. Sorry I've been behind. (Home stuff.) I'll catch up on the most recent movement. Catherine is also listed here:

    [U.S.] Too Many Said-Suicides of Law Enforcement Officer's wives, girlfriends, dates, and ex's
    http://behindthebluewall.blogspot.com/2013/09/too-many-said-suicides-of-law.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. AnonymousJuly 22, 2014

    Two words...

    Louis Gayton

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Feel free to email me and tell me what you mean.

      Delete

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