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Trial begins for prisoner who took gun from investigators en route to court

In this phoprovided by Illinois Department Corrections is 39-year-old Robert Maday bank robber who managed overcome two suburban Chicago officers

In this photo provided by the Illinois Department of Corrections is 39-year-old Robert Maday, a bank robber who managed to overcome two suburban Chicago officers who were transporting him Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009. While on the lam, authorities contend 39-year-old Robert Maday boldly robbed the same bank he allegedly robbed before. Police in West Chicago caught Maday on Friday after a car chase ended in a crash. (AP Photo/Illinois Department of Corrections)

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Updated: February 4, 2013 2:57PM

After he snatched a gun from one of the two Cook County state’s attorney investigators taking him to court in a northwest suburb in 2009, prisoner Robert Maday allegedly uttered this seven-word threat:

“I’ll shoot you. I’ll kill you both.”

A federal jury heard those words when Assistant U.S. Attorney Annie Kastanek began her opening statement in Maday’s trial Wednesday for his Sept. 17, 2009 escape from the men in Rolling Meadows.

They were transporting him there for a court appearance from the Kankakee County Jail. And during their hour-or-so drive, Kastanek said, Maday “slowly, steadily worked his way” out of a belt they used to restrain him along with the handcuffs and shackles he wore.

“He was waiting for an opportunity,” Kastanek said.

And when it came, she said, he snatched a gun from one of the investigators — it was loaded with 13 bullets with one in the chamber — and ordered them to drive to a nearby Meijer store.

He took a gun from the other officer, Kastanek said, told them to get into the backseat of the car, swapped clothes with one and demanded they handcuff themselves together.

And then, Kastanek said, Maday escaped and began a 27-hour crime spree that included a bank robbery in Bloomingdale and two car-jackings.

“The defendant committed crime after crime after crime,” Kastanek said.

It all ended in a high-speed car chase, she said, and afterward he allegedly admitted what he did to the FBI.

“He admitted to big-picture details,” Kastanek said, “and he admitted to minute details.”

Maday sat in the courtroom of U.S. Judge Ruben Castillo dressed in a blue shirt and often leaned forward with his arms crossed on the defense table during Kastanek’s comments. His lawyer, Tony Sassan, told the jury they shouldn’t take witnesses’ testimony at face value.

Maday is charged with escape, bank robbery and various gun crimes. Sassan asked jurors to scrutinize each count separately — and consider for example whether Maday was truly armed with a gun during the alleged bank robbery — rather than accept the full indictment.

“This duty of scrutiny doesn’t go away,” Sassan said.

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