In video testimony from her hospital bed, Gloria Weinke said her son, Wayne Weinke Jr., threw her down the stairs of her villa at The Moorings in Arlington Heights in 2006 and left her to die following a dispute about her will.
Weinke, 77, died a few months after the video deposition was taped.
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What caused her death, and how she plummeted 12 feet down the stairs, is at the heart of the trial that began Tuesday at the Cook County criminal courthouse in Chicago.
Wayne Weinke Jr., of Park Ridge, is facing several charges in the nearly seven-year-old case, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery of a senior citizen and aggravated domestic battery.
In opening statements, Assistant State's Attorney James McKay said Weinke "snapped" after learning his mother planned to leave the Chicago building, which housed their family business, solely to his sister, rather than being divided among the three siblings.
Weinke had been running the family's contractors supply business with his brother. His sister did not work there, but his mother still did, doing bookkeeping and account work.
At 4:45 a.m. July 18, 2006, Weinke went to his mother's independent living villa, threw her 136-pound body over the railing of the basement stairs and left her to die, even though she begged him to push the emergency call button and told him she loved him, McKay said.
"It's all about anger. It's all about greed," McKay said.
Wayne Weinke's attorney, Peter Hickey, said there is no forensic evidence to support Gloria Weinke's story. He said Gloria died of cancer and other pre-existing problems, not injuries sustained in the fall.
"She was actually getting better ... and recovering from her injuries," he said.
Hickey described the mother-and-son meeting that morning as "pleasurable," and that they were looking forward to a big family reunion that weekend.
Videotaped testimony from Gloria, made days after the incident and played Tuesday, showed the grandmother lying in her hospital bed, explaining what happened.
"I didn't fall down the stairs, he threw me," she said repeatedly. "He threw me over the railing like a sack of potatoes."
However, Gloria struggled to recall details of how her son lifted her or threw her, saying it happened too fast for her to notice. She said she told him she loved him, and he replied, "You hate me."
Wayne Weinke Jr., whom she called "Bud," was in the hospital room with his lawyer during the videotaping. Gloria talked to him casually during the interview, though he didn't appear on camera.
"He knows what happened," Gloria Weinke said in her video testimony. "I trust he is going to be honest about this in the end."
She also expressed disbelief that a child could do this to a parent. She said the change in her will wouldn't hurt Bud or his brother, and would help his sister.
"We were a very close family until two people thought a piece of property was more important," she said in the video.
Weinke Jr., dressed in a suit and tie, did not watch the video as it aired in open court Tuesday and did not show any emotion during his deceased mother's testimony.
Three additional witnesses took the stand Wednesday. Moorings employee Fidelino Santiago, 78, of Des Plaines -- who found Gloria Weinke 12 hours after her fall -- and Arlington Heights Fire Lt. Mary Klein both testified that Gloria Weinke told them her son had thrown her over the railing.
Arlington Heights police officer Robert Caraway also testified to overhearing Gloria Weinke say that to another officer on the scene.
The bench trial, before Cook County Judge William Lacy, will resume Wednesday. The trial is expected to continue through next week.