By Annie Sweeney
8:45 AM EST, January 9, 2013
Jurors weighing the fate of Robert Maday have asked to see two handguns he is alleged to have used in a high-profile escape and bank robbery in 2009.
The query came Tuesday as the federal jury weighing bank robbery, escape and weapons charges against Maday, 42, concluded its first two hours of deliberations without reaching a verdict. The request could signal they are considering an element of Maday’s defense – that there is doubt a gun was used during his alleged crime spree.
U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo said he will allow jurors to view the weapons for 90 minutes when deliberations resume Wednesday at the U.S. Dirksen Courthouse.
Maday is accused of snatching a gun from two Cook County state’s attorney’s investigators while in custody for a bank robbery conviction and being driven to the Rolling Meadows courthouse on an unrelated state charge. After stealing the second investigator’s gun as well, Maday escaped custody and went on a 27-hour crime spree in which he held up the same bank and stole cars from two victims at gunpoint, the charges allege.
Anthony Sassan, Maday’s attorney, hasn’t disputed that his client escaped custody but has focused much of his defense on whether Maday used a gun when he allegedly robbed a First American Bank branch in Bloomingdale during the alleged spree. A conviction on that count could significantly add to the prison sentence Maday would face.
In a videotape of the robbery at the bank, Maday never displays a gun, but prosecutors argued at closing arguments Tuesday that based on testimony from prosecution witnesses and Maday’s own statements to the FBI, a shadow underneath his T-shirt was the weapon tucked into his waistband.
But Sassan told the jury that Maday’s statements were made after he was involved in a high-speed chase with police and crashed a getaway car, requiring medical attention and medication. Sassan suggested the “bulge” in Maday’s waistband could have been a belt or a baseball cap.
“I’m not here to tell you he didn’t escape, just as I am not here to tell you today is not Tuesday,” Sassan said. “ …Are you convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the bulge in his shirt was a gun?”
Prosecutors dismissed the idea, reminding jurors that tellers testified that Maday told them he was armed and that they saw the impression of a gun.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Andrianna Kastanek told the jury she could address Sassan’s argument with four words Maday is alleged to have told tellers.
“I have a gun,” the prosecutor said slowly.
Kastanek also brushed off suggestions from Sasson that the bulge in Maday’s waistband could have been a hat.
“This isn’t a gun-shaped hat,” she said while holding up for the jury a white baseball cap recovered from Maday.
Prosecutors also told jurors it was illogical to believe Maday didn’t use a gun at the robbery. According to testimony, he stole the weapons from the county investigators, forcing them to release him. He then wielded a gun while stealing a vehicle from a woman to use for a getaway car. Both weapons were also recovered after the crash.
“Of course, he had a gun that day,” prosecutor Derek Owens said. “He was using these guns during the entire escape.”firstname.lastname@example.org