Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announces that Richard Wanke (D.O.B. 5/25/1961) was sentenced to Natural Life in the Illinois Department of Corrections by the Honorable Judge Rosemary Collins. Wanke was found guilty of 30 counts of First Degree Murder after a jury trial in March. The jury also found that the defendant personally discharged a firearm that proximately caused death, that the victim was 60 years of age or older, that the murder was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner, that the murder was committed to prevent the victim from participating in a criminal investigation or prosecution, and that the murder was committed in a brutal and heinous manner indicative of wanton cruelty.
On February 6th, 2008, Rockford police were called to a residence in the 1700 Block of Oak Forest Drive for a shooting. They found the victim, Gregory Clark, with multiple gunshot wounds to his back, lying in the snow near his home. Mr. Clark was outside snow blowing his sidewalk when someone fired several shots at him. Clark died as a result of being shot. The defendant, Richard Wanke was later identified as the person who shot Clark. The victim was a Rockford area attorney. At the time of his death, he was the defendant’s attorney and was scheduled to represent the defendant at a sentencing hearing on February 8, 2008. On the day Mr. Clark was murdered, the Winnebago County courthouse was closed due to a snowstorm.
First Degree Murder is a Class M Felony that is punishable by a sentence of 20-60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections followed by three years of Mandatory Supervised Release. Under state statute, Wanke is eligible for a mandatory extended sentence of 45 years to Natural Life in prison.
Chief of Criminal Marilyn Hite Ross