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Wrongly accused or greedy killer? Case of man accused of tossing mother over railing goes to judge

Updated: June 2, 2013 6:29AM

Wayne Weinke Jr. looked on, expressionless, as prosecutors called him by turns obsessive, greedy and entitled during the nearly three-hour closing arguments in his murder trial.

His mother’s videotaped deposition — taken as she lay in her hospital bed — was the cornerstone of the criminal trial at 26th and California, and during final arguments, prosecutors and the defense sparred over Gloria Weinke’s ability to identify her son as her attacker.

In rehashing evidence of Weinke’s motivation for allegedly throwing his elderly mother over a railing in her Arlington Heights home in 2006, prosecutors returned over and over again to his rage when a piece of property from the family business was given to his sister.

After hearing from attorneys that the property on Milwaukee Avenue would no longer be part of his inheritance, Weinke allegedly screamed at his mother, at one point calling her a “f------ b----.”

“His explosion (at hearing his parents’ decision) showed the extent of his anger and obsession,” Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Sherie DeDore told Cook County Judge William Lacy.

That “explosion” culminated in Gloria Weinke being thrown over the railing guarding her basement staircase, left to lie in her own blood for 14 hours, according to prosecutors.

Gloria Weinke, 77, was diagnosed and treated for cancerous tumors before her fall, though prosecutors reviewed medical evidence they said showed she was responding well until the injuries compromised her immune system. Weinke died in October 2006, three months after her fall, a fact DeDore played upon when reminding the judge the injuries need only have contributed to her death to qualify as homicide.

Prosecutors showed an animation of a man picking up an elderly woman and dropping her over a railing, before she landed at the bottom of the stairs.

In response, Weinke’s attorney Peter Hickey criticized the work of the Arlington Heights police and what he called their single-minded pursuit of Wayne Weinke as the perpetrator.

“What we had here was not a police investigation,” Hickey said. “It was a police corroboration. They had a theory and they wanted to fit their case to it.”

Hickey said police failed to consider whether Gloria Weinke had fallen down the stairs and test the scene for evidence of that — illustrating, he thinks, law enforcement’s decision to pin the crime on his client.

Hickey asked the judge to consider testimony from Gloria Weinke’s friends and relatives that showed some slips in her memory as evidence of potential dementia or Alzheimer’s, calling into question her identification of her son in the deposition video.

Weinke was angry about the property, Hickey allowed. But why would his client harm the one person that could make it right in his parents’ will?

Many family members attended the closing arguments, though there was a clear division between the groups seated on either side of the courtroom.

Weinke didn’t just fracture his mother’s bones, assistant state’s attorney James McKay said in his emotional rebuttal to Hickey’s arguments.

“He fractured her family,” McKay said.

Lacy, who is presiding over the case at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago, will render a verdict May 28th.

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