Peters shooting conviction upheldBy Gregory Harutunian For Chronicle Media — March 22, 2018
The conviction and sentence of Scott Peters, stemming from the shooting of two McHenry County Sheriff’s Department deputies on a well-being check, was upheld.
The unanimous March 6 ruling by the state appeals court on his petition for a new trial based on prejudicial comments by a prosecutor and denial of medical attention for illness was summarily denied. His 135-year sentence also stands.
Scott B. Peters, 56, was found guilty of 15 separate charges encompassing seven counts for the attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer, three counts of aggravated battery with a firearm to a peace officer, and five counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm during an April 30, 2015 trial before McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather. It took approximately two hours for jury members to weigh the evidence and return the verdict.
“This is all we can hope for, as prosecutors … that the court will support our efforts and bring finality to the issue, and it also brings closure to the families,” said McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally. “We’re very satisfied with the outcome.”
“The evidence in this case was overwhelming,” he said. “Many times in a trial, emotions can run high. I stand behind our attorneys, and their comportment throughout the process.”
Scott’s appeal was heard Jan. 18 and was based on several comments by a prosecutor calling him a “lying liar,” during the closing summations, as well as a purported bodycam video that corroborated his claim of illness that precluded him from remaining in the court on eight separate occasions during one morning session. The trial was also marked by severely injured deputy Dwight Maness, a victim of the shooting, struggling before standing whenever the judge entered the courtroom.
Maness, 47, was completing therapy and died due to a blood-clot that resulted from his wounds one year later.
A 32-page ruling, issued by Judge Mary Seminara-Schostok, found some statements by prosecutors to be questionable and improper but not damaging enough to warrant a new trial. Michael Combs, Robert Zalud and Dan Wilbrandt of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, prosecuted the case.
“The evidence in this case was overwhelming,” said Kenneally. “Many times in a trial, emotions can run high. I stand behind our attorneys, and their comportment throughout the process.”
An Oct. 16, 2014 well-being check found McHenry County Sheriff’s deputies, Khalia Satkiewicz and Maness, dispatched to Peters’ residence at 1313 West Northeast Shore Drive in Holiday Hills. He refused admittance, and shouted, “Airborne,” prior to firing 12 rounds from an AR-15 assault rifle through his front door. Satkiewicz was shot in the chest with the round lodging in her ballistic vest, while Maness was shot in the lower back. The deputies retreated for cover, as Peters came outside and shot both officers, each in the leg.
A back-up third deputy, Eric Luna, emerged from behind the house to return fire. Peters fled the scene on foot and triggered a county-wide manhunt and search undertaken by more than 250 officers from various police departments in different jurisdictions, before being apprehended 16 hours later.
According to Luna’s testimony, at the 2015 trial, Peters was firing rounds and yelled, “I’m a U. S. Army paratrooper, I hope you’re ready to die today, because I am.” Peters’ defense attorney maintained his client had no knowledge of a safety check, and believed it was a break-in, and did not know it was deputies being fired upon until he came out of the house.
Peters was sentenced June 27, of that year, by Prather, at the McHenry County courthouse in Woodstock. He is currently being held in the Menard Corrections Center.
–Peters shooting conviction upheld–