Hunt ends in arrest
Alleged gang member charged in murder of Tank Johnson’s bodyguard
After a two-week hunt, police charged an alleged gang member out on parole with murdering the bodyguard of Bears lineman Terry “Tank” Johnson in a nightclub scuffle.
Michael Selvie, 34, did not know either Johnson or Willie B. Posey before bumping into Johnson in Ice Bar on Dec. 16, police said.
The two men exchanged words, but had parted peacefully before Posey, 26–who also was Johnson’s boyhood friend and housemate–stepped in and hit Selvie.
That is when Selvie pulled out a gun and shot the bodyguard, said Lt. Anthony Riccio, acting commander of the Belmont Area detective headquarters.
Though the killing happened on a dance floor with plenty of witnesses, police struggled to get cooperation and consistent stories from people there, sources said.
Authorities hope Johnson will be a key witness in their case against Selvie, but one source familiar with the investigation said police have been frustrated by his changing account of events.
In the hours after the shooting, Johnson at first told police he was not at the bar, but later admitted that he was there. At one point, sources said, he described the gunman down to a gap between his teeth–but Johnson then failed to identify Selvie in a lineup Wednesday.
In an effort to get a complete and accurate account of what the football player saw, authorities asked him Wednesday to take a polygraph.
Lorna Propes, Johnson’s lawyer, said her client had been cooperative throughout the investigation, and she refused to allow the polygraph test.
“The state’s attorney’s office asked that Tank take a polygraph, and I refused because [the tests] are unreliable and there was absolutely no need to do that,” she said. “Tank Johnson has been cooperative with the police every step of the way.”
Just before police announced the charges Thursday night, Selvie’s lawyer Jayne Ingles stood outside the Belmont Area headquarters with her client’s mother, Essie Selvie, and said he was being railroaded by police desperate to make an arrest in a high-profile case.
“They wanted to make an arrest. It’s a very high-profile case,” she said. “So now they have one.”
Although Selvie’s criminal history includes 30 arrests and seven felony convictions, Ingles said he has no record of violence. Selvie is expected to appear in bond court at noon Friday, according to state’s attorney spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.
Police got a break in the case through a combination of forensic evidence on a shirt Selvie allegedly left at the scene, as well as identifications of him from photographs taken at the club, Riccio said.
Posey’s mother, Alice Gaines, and three sisters were driving back from Forest Park Thursday after visiting his gravesite when they heard the news on the radio.
After arriving at their South Side home, Gaines said she felt relieved and grateful to the police, the media and witnesses who stepped forward to solve the murder of her youngest child.
“It’s not going to bring him back, but it will put some closure for the family,” she said.