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Slain Officer's Girlfriend Says She Can't Recall Implicating Her Brother

By Erica Demarest | April 19, 2017 7:40pm | Updated on April 21, 2017 11:31am
 Off-duty Chicago Police Officer David Blake (left) was gunned down in 2010. Bernard Williams (right) faces first-degree murder charges.
Off-duty Chicago Police Officer David Blake (left) was gunned down in 2010. Bernard Williams (right) faces first-degree murder charges.
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Facebook; Cook County Sheriff's Office

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — An Indiana woman whose brother is on trial for killing her boyfriend — Chicago Police Officer David Blake — repeatedly claimed she couldn't remember potentially damning testimony she gave before a Chicago grand jury in 2010.

Keana Baylis took the stand Wednesday afternoon as the trial against her younger brother, 25-year-old Bernard Williams, ran into its second day. She repeatedly answered "I can't recall" as prosecutors asked her questions about what she told the jury seven years ago, including testimony implicating her brother in the crime.

Williams is accused of shooting Blake six times in his head inside the off-duty officer's SUV on Nov. 22, 2010. Prosecutors allege Williams was hoping to steal the SWAT officer's extensive gun collection.

Williams' friend, Tyrone Jerry, testified Wednesday that Williams said he "wanted to hit a crib" and "take some guns" shortly before the fatal attack. The plan was to meet up with Blake, kill him and steal the keys to his gun locker, Jerry said.

After Blake was killed, about 6:30 p.m.,  Williams showed up at Jerry's South Side home yelling, "I did it! I did it! ... I killed him! I killed him!," Jerry said.

"He said he killed the officer," Jerry testified. "He shot him in his head."

When it was her turn to testify Wednesday, Baylis spoke briefly about her first encounter with Blake before answering nearly every question posed by Assistant State's Attorney Arunas Buntinas with, "I can't recall."

She was on the stand for 2½ hours.

According to Buntinas, Baylis testified before a grand jury in December 2010 that she spent nearly every weekend at Blake's condominium and knew he had a gun locker. She also testified that she called Blake the day of his death after her brother asked for keys to Blake's condo to retrieve something her brother claimed he left behind, Buntinas said.

Blake had previously given Baylis a key, which she lost, prosecutors said, so the officer offered to pick up Williams instead.

Upon hearing the plan, Baylis reportedly testified in 2010, her brother rubbed his hands together and said, "Yeah, buddy."

When asked to confirm her previous testimony — including claims she overheard Williams say "he killed Officer David" — Baylis repeatedly said, "I can't recall."

She repeated the sentence at least 80 times in court Wednesday.

During cross-examination, Baylis said she only made her 2010 grand jury statements after Chicago police officers threatened to take away her children if she didn't testify.

Former prosecutor John Dillon, who interviewed Baylis in 2010, testified Wednesday that  "she indicated she was treated fine, and she had no complaints when she was in my office. She told me that no one threatened her, and she'd been willing to testify for the grand jury."

Baylis said she first met Blake in June 2010, when he stopped her because the van she was driving was on fire. The fire was under the vehicle, Baylis said; she hadn't noticed.

Blake was off-duty and driving his own truck at the time, according to Baylis. He checked on her the following morning to ensure she got to work safely and was doing OK after the fire. A romance ensued.

The jury trial will pick up again Thursday morning in Cook County Judge Lawrence Edward Flood's courtroom.

Prosecutors expect the trial to conclude Monday or Tuesday.