Crime

Update: Jurors hear audio of McCallum Jr. saying, ‘I did what I had to do in my self-defense’

Randy McCallum Jr., who is on trial on charges of killing two men in Washington Park, did not take the stand in his defense Wednesday but jurors twice heard a recorded conversation he had with his stepmother.

McCallum, 26, called Gwendolyn McCallum in 2013 while sitting in the St. Clair County Jail during his first trial, which ended in a mistrial.

“I did what I had to do in my self-defense,” McCallum told his stepmother. “I am a thug. I did what I had to do.” He sat quietly and listened while jurors heard the recording.

I did what I had to do in my self-defense. I am a thug. I did what I had to do.

Randy McCallum Jr.

Randy McCallum Jr., the son of Randy McCallum Sr., the former mayor of Alorton, faces two counts of first-degree murder in the Sept. 19, 2009, killings of Charles Black and Kevin McVay in Washington Park.

Both the defense and prosecution rested Wednesday and closing arguments are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the St. Clair County Building before Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf.

Rudolf denied a defense motion by defense attorney Rick Roustio to tell jurors to disregard a 911 tape in which Black is said to have identified McCallum as the gunman.

Prosecutor James Piper argued the 911 call is the “most compelling” piece of evidence put forward by the state.

Outside the presence of jurors, Piper told Rudolf the 911 tape portrays how a “young man is begging for his life.”

“Randy, Jesus, Randy,” Piper quoted Black as saying. “It’s the ultimate dying declaration.”

Randy, Jesus, Randy. It’s the ultimate dying declaration.

Prosecutor James Piper

The prosecution first presented the recorded conversation between Randy McCallum Jr. and his stepmother Gwendolyn McCallum.

After the prosecution rested, Roustio also had the conversation played in the courtroom while his only witness, Gwendolyn McCallum, 49, was on the stand.

She testified that she has known Randy McCallum Jr. all his life and that he considered her his mother.

In the taped jailhouse conversation, Randy McCallum said he wanted to testify on his own behalf but Gwendolyn McCallum said her stepson ultimately did not testify in his first trial.

The trial that began on Monday is the second time McCallum has gone on trial for the charges. His first trial ended in a mistrial after one juror could not agree to a guilty verdict in 2013.

The defense had been expected to call Anthony Moore, who has signed an affidavit stating that he shot Black and McVay, but he did not take the stand.

Moore is serving time at the Menard Correctional Center, where he is being held on an attempted murder charge. Moore is not eligible for parole until 2041.

Roustio has interviewed Moore at Menard. “He told me that he did it,” Roustio has said.

Also on Wednesday, testimony for the prosecution included statements from a retired Illinois State Police investigator and a retired forensic scientist and current forensic scientists with the Illinois State Police crime laboratory about evidence in the case.

Donna Rees, a retired DNA analyst with the Illinois State Police, said a cigarette recovered from the scene had a high statistical probability of having Randy McCallum Jr.’s DNA on it.

Retired Illinois State Police officer James Walker testified that Randy McCallum Jr.’s name surfaced as a lead “pretty quickly” after Walker had arrived to help investigate.

Thomas Gamboe, an Illinois State Police forensic scientist who specializes in analyzing firearms, said ammunition he examined “could have been fired” from a weapon recovered.

Amy Hart, a forensic scientist who specializes in fingerprint analysis for the Illinois State Police crime laboratory, said fingerprints are usually not found on shell casings like the ones found at the shooting scene. Hart testified that she could not make any conclusions about who had handled the casings found.

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