Slain mother testifies at son’s murder trial through video deposition
BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org April 16, 2013 5:42PM
Updated: May 18, 2013 6:49AM
After her son allegedly tossed her over a railing “like a sack of potatoes” and into the basement of her Arlington Heights duplex more than six years ago, an elderly Gloria Weinke looked back up to him.
“I love you,’” Weinke recalled telling her son.
“He said, ‘You hate me,’” she remembered.
Gloria Weinke died about three months later, but her weak and at times raspy voice echoed though a Cook County courtroom Tuesday from TV monitors as prosecutors played a videotaped deposition taken of her before she died at the murder trial of her son, Wayne Weinke Jr.
Appearing in her hospital bed, propped up on pillows and surrounded by medical equipment, Gloria Weinke, 77, answered questions from a prosecutor and sometimes sparred with a defense attorney in a deposition videotaped days after the alleged assault before she died.
While she couldn’t remember every detail of the early morning confrontation — she repeatedly told her son’s attorney it was “unbelievable” and happened very quickly — she insisted throughout the interview it was her son who sent her tumbling down the stairs.
“He picked me up,” Gloria Weinke said of her son sitting nearby in the hospital room, “and he threw me over the railing into the basement.”
After she told him she loved him, Gloria Weinke said her son flipped on a light and looked down the stairs. She pleaded with him to push an orange emergency button that would summon help.
“He turned off the light and walked out of the house,” she said.
The woman said she “just laid there” in her own blood “aching” for roughly 14 hours, struggling to stay awake so she wouldn’t slip into a coma.
“I was hurting so badly,” Gloria Weinke said.
Assistant State’s Attorney Jim McKay argued the man attacked his mother after learning a piece of property from his parents’ business had been given to his sister.
Until then, McKay said, Wayne Weinke thought his parents’ wills would divide their assets evenly among their three children.
“He snapped,” McKay said in his opening statement. “He went ballistic.”
Peter Hickey, Weinke’s defense attorney, said police and prosecutors set out not to investigate but simply to corroborate Gloria Weinke’s explanation of what happened. He said the evidence doesn’t support their theory, and he said neither Wayne Weinke’s DNA nor his fingerprints were found at the scene.
“She’s the only one there,” Hickey said, “if this happened.”
Gloria Weinke’s videotaped deposition kicked off the evidence in a trial expected to last into the middle of next week.
The elderly woman said she woke around 4:45 a.m. on July 18, 2006, to the sound of her doorbell. Dressed in her pajamas, she said she answered the door of her home at The Moorings of Arlington Heights and saw her son, whom she knew as “Bud.” He handed her the morning paper and said he’d been having trouble sleeping.
The pair talked about a planned family reunion, for which Gloria Weinke said she was “thrilled.” But later, as he was getting ready to leave, she said she told her son “we’ve gotta straighten this other mess out” — referring to the property dispute.
She said she walked back toward her living room, and that’s when, she said, her son threw her over the railing.
A guard from the senior living community finally came and found her.
“They check on everybody who does not go to a meal,” she said.
The elderly woman turned feisty at times in the video, jabbing her finger in the air and giving testy answers to her son’s attorney despite the seriousness of her injuries. She quickly corrected the defense attorney when he asked what happened when she “fell” down the stairs.
“I did not fall down the stairs,” Gloria Weinke said.
She countered one question from the attorney by asking him, “when did you quit beating your wife?” And she grew weary when the man asked repeatedly for specifics of how Wayne Weinke allegedly tossed her over the railing, which she couldn’t give.
“C’mon, this took two seconds to do,” she said.
She said she loves both of her sons in a motherly way, and she said she’s “sure they know what the Fourth Commandment is.”
Finally, when the defense attorney asked whether her family members would be upset about her injuries, Gloria Weinke rolled her eyes toward her son and said, “Not him.”
“He threw me down the stairs,” she said.