Wayne Weinke Jr. was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison for the 2006 death of his mother, Gloria Weinke, of Arlington Heights.
Judge William Lacy's decision amounts to a life sentence for the 58-year-old Park Ridge man, who was convicted of first-degree murder last May.
"I feel the sentence was fair," said Gail Deadwyler, Gloria Weinke's daughter. "I'm relieved he's paying for the consequences of his actions."
Prosecutors said greed motivated Weinke. They say he was angry over the conditions of a family trust -- valued at between $8 million and $10 million -- which left several properties to Deadwyler instead of dividing the estate among the three siblings.
Weinke, known as "Bud," threw his 77-year-old mother over the railing of her home at The Moorings during the early morning of July 18, 2006. Gloria Weinke, who had been diagnosed with cancer in 2005, lay at the bottom of the stairwell for 14 hours until a Moorings employee found her, prosecutors said..
From her hospital bed days later, Gloria Weinke made a videotaped deposition in which she repeatedly said Weinke threw her down the stairs. She died in October 2006, from injuries she sustained during the fall.
"She was scared, lonely and so very sad," testified Deadwyler. "She suffered horrible indignities as she lay on her back for 11 weeks, (but) she handled every bit of it with dignity and poise."
Although seriously ill at the time, Gloria Weinke had been living on her own and working part-time as a bookkeeper for the family business, Way Ken Contractors Supply Co. in Chicago, prosecutors said.
Citing the victim's age and the defendant's position of trust, prosecutors asked for an extended sentence beyond the 20-to-60-year range.
"He had all the opportunities in the world ,and this is what he does," said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney James McKay.
Weinke showed little emotion during the hearing. Averting his eyes from the witnesses, he looked instead at his family and dozens of supporters. He did not speak during sentencing, and his attorneys did not call any witnesses. They did, however, provide Lacy with a binder full of letters expressing support for Weinke.
Defense attorney Peter Hickey argued Weinke's innocence during closing arguments, referencing the lack of DNA and blood evidence. He stated that Weinke had no motive because Gloria Weinke intended to change her will, a statement Deadwyler later disputed, claiming the trust was irrevocable.
Defense attorney Jed Stone will handle Weinke's appeal.
"I do not believe for a moment the evidence supports a finding that Wayne threw his mother over a banister. I do not for a moment believe that she landed at the bottom of a staircase and her only injury was a broken pelvis. I don't believe the evidence supports her lying there from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.," Stone said.
"I'm representing an innocent man who today was sentenced to 40 years in hell for a crime he did not commit."
While Stone described his client as kind, loving and generous, Deadwyler called her brother Wayne "evil." She claimed he "worshipped the almighty dollar" and cared more about money than their parents.
"You've torn this family to shreds," she said. "You killed your mother in a fit of rage."