Paragraph 10 reads: "Defense attorneys Tom Breen and Todd Pugh argued that Tuduj is bipolar and was wrongly prescribed a toxic mix of antidepressants and sleep medication that caused paranoia and hallucinations and led him to snap. They want the judge to find Tuduj not guilty by reason of involuntary intoxication."
Trial begins in 2006 workplace killing
Employee killed boss with steak knife after demotion at Northwest Side construction firm, prosecutors say
By Matthew Walberg, Tribune reporter
- January 7, 2009
The workday started normally enough at the offices of Poter Construction and Development on Chicago's Northwest Side on May 16, 2006.
Accountant Christopher Haase arrived at about 7 a.m., started a pot of coffee and got down to work. Later, he and a co-worker were talking about how great the coffee tasted that day.
Construction estimator Tom Tuduj overheard them.
"He said, 'Oh, the coffee's good this morning? I think I'll have a cup,' and he walked right between us to go to the kitchen," Haase testified Tuesday before Cook County Circuit Judge Jorge Alonso.
Another prosecution witness, William Toby Zandier, said Tuduj stopped by his office for a bit to just "shoot the breeze."
But at about 8:15 a.m., Tuduj walked into the office of his boss, Gary Poter, and fatally stabbed him with a steak knife. Haase, Zandier and other employees heard the commotion, subdued Tuduj and tried to stop the bleeding from Poter's chest.
"There was blood everywhere, papers all over," Tuduj's supervisor, James Koback, testified. "It was a mess."
No one disputes Tuduj, 36, killed Poter. The issue that will determine his fate is why he did it.
Assistant State's Attys. Mike Clarke and Steve Rosenblum say Tuduj murdered Poter in a fit of anger over his demotion a day earlier. Tuduj, who had been with the company for only a few months, stood to lose about $10,000 in pay because of the demotion.
Defense attorneys Tom Breen and Todd Pugh argued that Tuduj is bipolar and was wrongly prescribed a toxic mix of antidepressants and sleep medication that caused paranoia and hallucinations and led him to snap. They want the judge to find Tuduj not guilty by reason of involuntary intoxication.
Rosenblum and Clarke repeatedly asked co-workers about Tuduj's behavior in the weeks and moments before the murder. Was he irrational? Did his eyes twitch or was his speech slurred?
"He was just a normal co-worker," Zandier said. "He was under the same stress as the rest of us."
The testimony of Haase and Koback was much the same.