Veteran Chicago police officer charged in alleged murder-for-money plot

The Associated Press

CHICAGO- An officer on the police force for 14 years has been charged with arranging a murder in a scheme to collect on a $500,000 life insurance policy.

Officer Edward Leak Jr. was ordered held without bail after being charged Thursday with first-degree murder and solicitation to commit murder for hire in the shooting death of Fred Hamilton, said Cook County state's attorney spokesman Tom Stanton.

Hamilton, 35, a driver for a South Side funeral home owned by Leak's family, was shot nine times when he stopped to change a flat tire in February 2004.

Prosecutors say Leak hired two men to ambush Hamilton as part of a scheme to collect on a $500,000 life insurance policy he had taken out on Hamilton.

In addition, Hamilton had made an anonymous calls to the police department's Internal Affairs Division months before his death claiming that Leak was involved in insurance fraud, Deputy Police Superintendent Hiram Grau said.

Leak, 42, was arrested Thursday after an internal investigation by the police department and its cold case squad.

Two other men - 44-year-old Alfred Marley and John Brown, 33 - were charged last year with first-degree murder in connection with Hamilton's slaying and are being held without bail, Cook County state's attorney spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.

Leak's family was shocked at the charge, said attorney E. Powell Dunham.

"The family is sure he did not do this," Dunham told the Chicago Sun-Times.

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