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Defense slams witness’ credibility in trial of slain U. of C. grad student

Amadou Cisse kiled ’07.

Amadou Cisse, kiled in ’07.

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Updated: November 3, 2011 9:35AM

When Eric Walker chauffeured four others during the group’s Hyde Park robbery spree, his neighborhood friend “Meechie” directed them toward their victims and ended up shooting and killing a University of Chicago graduate student, Walker testified Tuesday.

Demetrius “Meechie” Warren fired his revolver when Amadou Cisse jerked away and resisted as Warren and another man, Benjamin Williams, tried to grab Cisse’s book bag, Walker said at the start of the alleged gunman’s jury trial.

Meechie “was holding the gun toward his chest area. He shot him. I heard it . . . I basically had seen the flash and seen [Cisse] fall down,” Walker, 20, said, recounting the Nov. 19, 2007, incident.

Defense attorney Richard Kling hammered away at Walker’s credibility, insinuating that Walker was only motivated to finger Warren because prosecutors promised him a more lenient 20-year prison sentence for armed robbery in exchange for his testimony. While being grilled by Kling, Walker, mumbling and occasionally laughing while on the stand, admitted he initially told detectives a “short” man named “Mon Mon” shot Cisse, because Warren had threatened and beaten him up a week after Cisse’s murder. Warren, 21, is 6-foot-5.

“You don’t know what I’ve been through,” Walker told Kling. “I didn’t want nothing to happen to me. I came up with a story.”

Walker, then 16, said that Warren told him he was going to “pull some licks” when Walker picked Warren and his three friends up on the South Side. Walker said he remained in the car when they approached their targets.

On Tuesday, assistant Cook County state’s attorney Andreana Turano showed jurors a picture of the sweatered Cisse’s body lying on the pavement, his black book bag just inches away from his bare feet.

Cisse, a Senegalese national, had just defended his doctoral dissertation in chemistry days before he was slain. The university awarded the 29-year-old his Ph.D. posthumously at graduation the following month.

Cisse graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in 2001 with a B.S. degree in chemistry, physics and mathematics.

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