Daywatch: Attorneys grappled over 30-year-old evidence at close of unusual double murder trial

Good morning, Chicago.

For years, Gerald Reed’s claims of abuse by Chicago detectives were in the spotlight. All eyes were on his tangled case as the justice system, once again, had to grapple with a decades-old legacy of police torture.

But last week, as Reed was finally brought to a retrial, the focus shifted in a crucial way: Entirely separate from his allegations of torture, is he actually guilty of a gruesome 1990 double murder?

“He is responsible,” said special prosecutor Mary Jennings in closing arguments Thursday. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say he is responsible.”

Reed’s attorney Elliot Zinger, in turn, called the evidence thin and speculative.

“You can’t guess people into the penitentiary,” he said in his closing.

All week, Reed sat at the defense table with a look of keen attention. He rarely took his eyes off the attorneys as they argued or cross-examined, except to take energetic notes or pull a discreet puff of an inhaler. The stakes for him are high, but not quite the same as those of a typical murder defendant.

Read the full story from the Tribune’s Megan Crepeau.

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Prosecutors to make history with opening statements in hush money case against Donald Trump

For the first time in history, prosecutors will present a criminal case against a former American president to a jury Monday as they accuse Donald Trump of a hush money scheme aimed at preventing damaging stories about his personal life from becoming public.

A 12-person jury in Manhattan is set to hear opening statements from prosecutors and defense lawyers in the first of four criminal cases against the presumptive Republican nominee to reach trial.

Chicago police officer killed in Gage Park had spoken just last year at memorial for fellow officer

When his friend and fellow Chicago police Officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso was fatally shot in the line of duty last year, Luis Huesca called him “one of those guys that actually deserved this star” in a remembrance video. Huesca tapped a badge pinned to his lapel, etched with the slain officer’s number 7649: “He was very proud to wear this star.”

Just over a year since Vásquez Lasso’s killing, the Chicago Police Department is mourning Huesca’s death after he was shot and killed while heading home from his shift early Sunday morning, two days shy of his 31st birthday.

Johnson safety plan slow out of the gate, but mayor vows ‘root causes’ approach will work

A year after he took office, Mayor Brandon Johnson’s plan is still in its early stages, and crime remains a stubborn scourge across the city. And his move away from investing more in policing to address the problem has further enflamed opponents who have long distrusted his approach.

Wind and solar in limbo: Long waitlists to go online a ‘leading barrier’ to clean energy

Ninety miles west of Chicago, the corn and soybean fields stretch to the sky, and dreams of the clean energy future dangle — just out of reach.

To the east of Route 52, there’s the first phase of the 9,500-acre Steward Creek solar farm, in the works since 2019.

To the west, there’s South Dixon Solar, which once hoped to begin construction on 3,800 acres in 2022.

Both projects have been approved by the Lee County Board. But neither can be built, according to a county official, due to PJM Interconnection, a powerful but little-known entity that controls access to the high-voltage electric grid in northern Illinois.

Today in History: First Earth Day observed

On April 22, 1970, millions of Americans concerned about the environment observed the first Earth Day.

A rally was held in Chicago’s Civic Center plaza, featuring participants wearing gas masks and others carrying black balloons with the word “gasp” printed on them. See photos from the Tribune’s archives.

After 25 years of selling tamales in Chicago, a mother in US illegally returns to Mexico without her family

Battling health problems and a ticking clock, Claudia Perez, 63, chose to leave the life she’d built for herself and her family over the past 25 years. Though she was a successful street vendor in Little Village, she was in the country without legal permission. And she yearned to return to Mexico to hug her aging siblings, visit her parents’ graves and see the houses she’d built for her family using the money she’d earned selling tamales in Chicago.

How Caleb Williams convinced the Bears he can rewrite their QB history: ‘I just like his cool under pressure’

The true test of Caleb Williams’ growth will come at the next level — very likely in Chicago. Bears general manager Ryan Poles has been immersed in a monthslong vetting process of not only Williams’ football skills, but also his focus, mental toughness and emotional maturity. It’s a journey Poles began with great curiosity and now is finishing with equal parts optimism and comfort.

“You have to look at past behavior and past struggles,” Poles told the Tribune. “Even if those weren’t handled in the best way, you just want to hear guys take ownership of where they came up short. If they are blind to it or deny it but you can see it very clearly, that would be a concern of mine.”

Column: The Chicago Blackhawks need new blood who demand accountability — even if they have to be a jerk about it

Through hours of end-of-season interviews with reporters at Fifth Third Arena, the players, head coach Luke Richardson and general manager Kyle Davidson painted a picture of what the roster needs to take the next step toward becoming a contender, and it boils down to these attributes: skill, self-sacrifice and accountability. Blackhawks writer Phil Thompson has more.

Conductor Andrew Davis, music director emeritus of Lyric Opera, dies at 80

Sir Andrew Davis, the widely beloved music director and principal conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago for some 21 years and one of the great operatic figures of his generation, died Saturday of leukemia, with the Lyric announcing his death Sunday morning. Davis was 80 years old and had been living in a retirement community in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

A double murder in the 1920s left one big question: Was Warren Lincoln insane?

“For five hours yesterday, three experts on insanity talked with Warren Lincoln in an effort to determine whether the man who murdered his wife and brother-in-law, hacked off their heads, and then forgot whether he burned or buried their bodies, could be a candidate for the asylum or for the gallows,” the Tribune reported in January 1924, a year before the trial began.

Ultimately, the state decided Warren Lincoln was sane, and that the gruesomeness of the crime was simply an effort to get away with it.