Former Chicago policeman convicted of grisly murder plot

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 February, 2014, 6:09am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 February, 2014, 6:09am


A former Chicago police officer who spent years on death row before his murder conviction was overturned has been found guilty of a grisly plot to kill a businessman but acquitted of a second plot to kill another businessman and his wife.

Steven Mandell was convicted of plotting to kidnap, torture, extort money, and then kill and dismember businessman Steve Campbell in an office he and an accomplice had equipped with saws and a sink in which to drain the person's blood.

Authorities in the US city say he wanted Campbell to transfer ownership of 25 buildings to him.

Mandell was acquitted of a murder-for-hire plot involving a second businessman and his wife. Prosecutors said Mandell targeted strip-club owner Anthony Quaranta and his wife to seize control of the lucrative Bridgeview club.

Authorities say Mandell and former Willow Springs, Illinois, police officer Gary Engel were about to carry out the crimes when they were arrested in October 2012.

Engel committed suicide soon after their arrest.

"Life is a gift to be valued," Assistant US Attorney Diane McArthur told jurors. "For Steve Mandell in 2012, it was something to be squeezed and drained."

Mandell, 62, has had multiple encounters with the law since he left a 10-year career as a police officer in 1983.

In 1993, he was convicted of killing Jimmy Pellegrino, owner of a suburban Chicago trucking company, three years earlier. Mandell spent eight years on death row for that killing before his conviction was overturned.