COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Officer Dante Servin "thought for sure he was going to be shot" when he opened fire near Douglas Park in March 2012, killing an unarmed woman, a fellow detective said Thursday as Servin's trial continued.
Servin, now 46, was off-duty when he began shooting at four people at about 1 a.m. on March 21, 2012 — striking Antonio Cross in his hand and 22-year-old Rekia Boyd in the back of her head. Servin has long maintained he saw Cross pull a gun, but police never recovered a weapon, and prosecutors said Cross was holding a cell phone.
Servin now faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct.
As prosecutors called their final witnesses Thursday, Officer Ed Heerdt testified that Servin claimed he stepped outside his Douglas Park home the night of the shooting to take out his trash.
Dante Servin and defense attorney Darren O'Brien. Photo by John J. Kim.
In a nearby alley, Servin spotted Boyd and longtime friend Ikca Beamon trailing behind Cross and another man. The group was loud, according to Heerdt, the lead detective on the case, and Servin asked them to quiet down.
Assistant State's Attorney Maria Burnett, who prosecuted a related assault case that was later dismissed, said Servin "thought the men were being derogatory to the women."
She also noted that Servin had worked roughly 18 hours on March 20 as an election judge. Servin told Burnett over the course of her investigation, she said, that he'd been heading out to get a burger when he dragged his trash outside and spotted Boyd and Cross.
Words were exchanged, and one of the men with Boyd said "I don't give a fuck," according to Heerdt.
That's when it went downhill.
Servin claimed he saw Cross pull a gun and point it at him, Heerdt testified. In response, Servin tensed up, drew his own glock, reached over his shoulder and began shooting, firing off five rounds.
Detective Ed Heerdt testfies. Photo by John J. Kim.
"He said, 'Don't! Don't! Police! Police!'" Heerdt said. "He thought for sure he was going to be shot."
Servin told Burnett, meanwhile, that he may have been shot, she said. The officer claimed he heard a gunshot and felt "something" on the back of his head before he began to shoot, Burnett testified.
When Cross took the stand earlier this week, he said he'd been holding a cell phone that night and never had a gun. While some witnesses backed up Cross' version of events, others testified that he purposefully waved his cellphone at Servin as if it were a gun in order to spook the officer.
"To this day, I believe he [Cross] had a gun and he got rid of it," Servin told investigators, Burnett said. Earlier Thursday, a Chicago police detective had testified that police and a search dog had checked the area and could not find a gun.
When asked whether security cameras could've captured the shooting, Heerdt said Servin did have cameras mounted on his home but "he told me the system was inoperable and I was satisfied with that."
Following three days of witness testimony, the prosecutors rested their case on Thursday afternoon.
Servin's defense team asked Judge Dennis Porter to dismiss the case, arguing that Cross and other witnesses provided contradictory testimony, and that Servin had been acting in fear of his life when he began shooting.
Judge Porter said he'd make a decision Monday, when the trial resumes at 1:30 p.m.
Follow @EricaDemarest on Twitter for the latest updates.
Dante Servin. Photo by John J. Kim.
- When the trial began last week, Boyd's relatives and close friends offered emotional testimony. Prosecutors claimed Servin had acted recklessly, while the defense team argued he only fired because he thought Cross had a gun.
- Earlier this week, Cross asked Servin "Why the f--- did you shoot?" He claimed Servin opened fire without saying a word. Defense attorneys picked apart his testimony, claiming earlier statements differed from what he said on the stand.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: