Reporting Mike Puccinelli
CHICAGO (CBS) – An alleged serial bank robber who escaped from custody in 2009 by slipping out of his restraints and taking a gun away from one of the officers taking him to court was on trial in federal court on Thursday.
Robert Maday is accused of overpowering two guards more than three years ago, then carjacking two women in separate incidents, before he was captured two days later.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports Maday went on trial this week, and on Thursday faced one of the women he allegedly carjacked after escaping in September 2009.
He’d hoped to make it to Pennsylvania after escaping, but only got as far as Hoffman Estates.
Domenica Pischetola testified Thursday that Maday approached her in September 2009, showed her a weapon, and demanded she give him the keys to her Volkswagen Jetta.
“Of course, I was really scared,” she said outside court after she testified. “I knew he wasn’t going to kill me at that point, but yes I was really scared. When I got inside the house, I couldn’t even get the phone to work, because my hands were shaking so bad.”
Pischetola said, at first, Maday tried to take her hostage.
“He says, ‘Look lady, I don’t want to hurt you, just get in the car. And I said ‘I’m not going anywhere with you,’ and proceeded to give him my keys.”
Maday was captured in that car after he crashed it while trying to flee from police.
After Pischetola refused to get in the car, Maday sped away alone, and was soon spotted by police. The chase ended after he crashed into Guillermo Gonzalez’s car, and then slammed into a light pole.
“They were screaming at him, trying to get him under control,” Gonzalez said.
In all, Maday was on the lam for 27 hours after he wriggled out of his shackles, and overpowered two security guards who were transporting him to the Rolling Meadows Courthouse for sentencing in a separate robbery case.
Maday allegedly removed restraints from his ankles, wrists and ankles as Cook County State’s Attorney’s office investigators were driving him to court. He then grabbed one of the officer’s guns, and forced them to drive to a nearby store. There, he took the other officer’s weapon and pants so he could put on civilian clothing.
He then forced the officers to handcuff themselves to each other, and fled the scene, then carjacked a woman in an SUV.
The escape triggered a massive manhunt all over the northwestern suburbs.
Joseph Fallon was one of the two officers overpowered by Maday. He wouldn’t talk outside of court, but testified that Maday said, “I’ll shoot you. I’ll kill you both.”
Maday ditched the first vehicle he stole, then carjacked Pischetola the next morning.
Pischetola said Maday seemed more interested in bragging than murder when she encountered him while heading into work.
“When he first approached me … he goes, ‘Lady, don’t you watch the news? I’m the guy who escaped from prison last night,’” she said.
She said she didn’t believe Maday.
“To be honest with you, I just remember thinking ‘Yeah, okay,’” Pischetola said.
While he was on the lam, Maday allegedly robbed a bank in suburban Bloomingdale, which he had allegedly held up a year before his escape.
He’s on trial for escape, bank robbery, and felony gun charges.
The trial should wrap up early next week.