Ex-Chicago police officer acquitted of killing girlfriend

A jury late Friday acquitted a former Chicago police officer who was accused of killing his girlfriend after weighing whether they believed his claim that the mother of his child was killed in self-defense.

Pierre Tyler, who joined the Chicago Police Department in 2016 and was a cop at the time of the shooting, took the stand in his own defense on Friday, arguing that Andris Wofford, 29, pointed a gun at him before she was shot and killed in a struggle over the gun.

The jury took the case around 5 p.m. after attorneys delivered closing arguments. Emotional family members of Wofford left the courtroom after the verdict was read around 9:30 p.m.

Tyler’s family members cried and hugged in the courtroom, one saying “thank you Jesus.” His lawyer, Tim Grace, leaned down, telling relatives, “he’s coming home tonight.”

During his testimony, Tyler stood up in the witness box and mimicked for the jury the series of events that he said led to the shooting death of his girlfriend in December 2021.

Wofford pointed a gun at him, he testified, her finger on the trigger, hands slightly shaking and eyes darting. Showing the movements to the courtroom, Tyler said he grabbed her in an attempt to disarm her, but instead, her hand went backward and the gun fired. Wofford was shot in the face.

“As her arm goes up, the firearm goes off,” he said. “Her body fell.”

Tyler, 32, was charged with murder. He took the stand on Friday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building following a week of testimony and claimed self-defense.

In an aggressive line of questioning, prosecutors weren’t having it. Assistant State’s Attorney Michelle Papa asked Tyler to describe each movement of his body during the shooting.

“It makes no sense, I agree,” Papa said in one instance when Tyler struggled to describe his stance.

“Objection,” Grace said loudly, which Judge Mary Margaret Brosnahan sustained.

Wofford, 29, the mother of Tyler’s young child, confronted him in her apartment in the 2100 block of North Nashville Avenue because she believed she had found evidence that he was married to another woman, prosecutors have alleged. Tyler testified that she was mistaken about a marriage, though acknowledged he was unfaithful.

During opening statements on Tuesday, Papa alleged that Tyler shot her as she tried to leave the apartment after the two argued. He then immediately began trying to cover up the shooting, lying to detectives who questioned him, she said.

A Chicago police detective testified on Thursday that Wofford’s body showed no sign of a struggle over the gun.

Grace, though, said Wofford, enraged and jealous, pointed one of Tyler’s guns at him. Tyler’s sister testified that her brother called her during the fight, and that she heard Wofford “screaming, yelling.”

Tyler told the jury that he removed his gun from his holster and put it on a table. As they argued, he said, Wofford picked it up and pointed it at him.

“I tell her to put the gun down, to calm down,” he said.

Then he reached for her in an attempt to take the gun away, he said, but her arm went up and the gun went off. Detectives never found the gun, they testified.

“How did you feel?” Grace asked.

“I can barely move,” he said.

He testified that he didn’t call 911 because he felt no one would believe him.

During the cross-examination, Papa pressed him on the chain of events, noting in questions that Wofford’s nails were “perfect” with no sign of a struggle.

“She puts on her coat, zips it up, gets her wristlet, gets a mask, gets everything ready to go,” she said. “Then all of a sudden she decided she was going to grab the gun. That’s what you want us to believe?”

A detective who interviewed Tyler testified Tuesday that Tyler told him he was meeting with a confidential informant — or CI — alone during the shooting. The detective told the jury it struck him as strange that Tyler would meet an informant alone without his weapon.

“You told detectives you went to meet a CI,” Papa said. “That was a lie.”

“It wasn’t,” Tyler responded.

“You went to meet a CI?” Papa asked.

“Saying a CI was a stretch,” he amended.

In closing arguments, Assistant State’s Attorney Jacqueline Griffin said Wofford was a “beautiful young woman with her whole life ahead of her.”

Prosecutors have said Wofford was ready to end the relationship, and argued that Tyler’s account of how she was shot was not credible.

“She was done with the relationship. She told him she was going to file for child support and keep him away from his kids. She was on her way out the door, put her coat on, zipped it all the way,” Griffin said. “She tried to leave. He wasn’t done.”

In his final statement to the jury, Grace, though, read text messages from Wofford that he said showed her state of mind. She wrote that she was going to “spazz” out and that “he don’t even know what he’s walking into.”

“She felt slighted,” Grace said. “She was consumed with rage.”

Grace acknowledged that prosecutors proved “what he did after the incident was wrong,” noting that Tyler should have called 911. But Grace contended to the jury that they did not prove Tyler murdered Wofford.

In rebuttal arguments, Papa said Wofford’s texts just show a woman fed up with the relationship.

“All they show you is a real-life woman struggling with her relationship and talking to her family about it,” she said.