Richard Wanke to be sentenced May 23 in Greg Clark killing

ROCKFORD–Richard Wanke, the Rockford man found guilty of shooting his defense attorney dead in 2008, will be sentenced May 23, Judge Rosemary Collins ordered Tuesday morning.

Wanke, 55, was found guilty of first-degree murder last week after an 11-day jury trial. He faces life in prison for shooting 60-year-old attorney Greg Clark three times in the back Feb. 6, 2008, outside Clark’s Rockford home. Clark was Wanke’s defense lawyer in a burglary case at the time of the shooting.

Related: Richard Wanke guilty of first-degree murder 

Prosecutors alleged that Wanke shot Clark because he wanted the attorney off his case.

Meanwhile, Wanke, through public defenders Nick Zimmerman and Rob Simmons, has filed a post-trial motion to challenge the evidence the state presented at trial. A status hearing in that portion of the case has been scheduled for April 3.

Shooting of Greg Clark

Clark was operating a snowblower outside his home on Feb. 6, 2008, when a man, believed to be Richard Wanke, approached him and shot him three times in the back with a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun. Clark’s wife and a 7-year-old girl playing in the snow saw the gunman run away from Clark’s body and flee the scene in a blue van. The van was later identified as the 1998 Dodge Caravan owned by Wanke’s landlord and girlfriend, Diane Chavez.

Wanke was taken into custody after the shooting but not charged. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison for burglary. He was weeks away from parole in 2014 when he was charged with first-degree murder in Clark’s death.

The jury took just over three hours last Wednesday to find Wanke guilty on all charges. The panel of seven men and five women found that Wanke discharged a firearm that proximately caused death, the victim was 60 or older, the crime was calculated and premeditated and that the murder was committed to prevent Clark from participating in a criminal investigation or prosecution.

The jury also decided the killing was brutal and heinous, indicative of wanton cruelty.

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