Witnesses Testify During Opening Statements of Richard Wanke Murder Trial


Nine years ago this February, someone shot and killed a Rockford lawyer in front of his home.

The case finally going to trial today.

Prosecutors argue a disgruntled former client pulled the trigger.

Wife:  “He’s been shot.”
Dispatch: Okay.
Wife: In his chest.
Dispatch: In his chest?
Wife:  There’s a hole, yes.

Greg Clark’s widow, Phyllis, sits on the stand as audio of the 911 call she made to police the day her husband was shot plays in court.

Wife:  “There’s blood on his chest.  I don’t know.”
Dispatch:  “There’s blood on his chest.”

Richard Wanke is accused of murdering Clark back in 2008.

Clark was shot outside his home as he cleared snow from his driveway.

Witnesses testified the snowblower he used kept running after the shooting.

Prosecutors say Wanke was angry at how Clark, his former attorney, represented him in a previous robbery case.

“And within the year of representing the defendant as a client, Mr. Clark was dead,” said Winnebago County Prosecutor, Marilyn Hite-Ross. “Mr. Clark was dead at the hands of his last client, the defendant.”

One piece of evidence is a blue minivan.

A witness who lived next to the Clarks said she saw the van parked in his driveway the day before he was killed.

She thought something was wrong because the Clarks were on vacation.

A day later, another neighbor said he saw the van speed away from the neighborhood, just moments before he found Clark’s body.

But defense attorneys say that argument is flawed, and Wanke had no motive to shoot and kill Clark.

“There’s no evidence of any financial reason, there’s no evidence of any real animosity between these two,” said Defense Attorney Nick Zimmerman.  “There’s no evidence that this would somehow benefit Mr. Wanke.  In fact Mr. Wanke’s case was all but done.”

The case will resume tomorrow morning at 9 am.

The trial is expected to last a couple weeks.

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