Man who fired boss goes to trial

Just a day after Tom Tuduj received a subpar job evaluation and was told he would be docked $10,000, the construction employee swiped a knife from the Northwest Side company's kitchen and fatally stabbed his politically connected boss -- an act prosecutors said was motivated by pure rage and disgruntlement.

But Tuduj's attorneys maintained Tuesday their client was not in the right state of mind when Gary Poter was murdered 2½ years ago at the Poter Construction & Development Co., 5440 N. Cumberland.

Tuduj was depressed and sleep deprived days prior to the May 2006 crime, lawyers Tom Breen and Todd Pugh said during the first day of Tuduj's bench trial, adding that he fainted on the job two months before and was prescribed a toxic combination of medication about a week before the crime.

Poter, 48, of Northbrook, built and remodeled hundreds of low-income housing units in Chicago for developers, including mayoral ally Allison S. Davis and Tony Rezko, the once-powerful political fund-raiser convicted on corruption and fraud charges last summer.

Neither defense attorneys nor prosecutors mentioned Davis and Rezko but instead focused on the 36-year-old Tuduj's mental health.

Tuduj's former co-workers said Tuduj had job-related stress but never showed signs of mental instability.

The most aggravated anyone saw him was when he left Poter's office after the job review.

"He was angry and swearing," said Tamela Augusta, Tuduj's former assistant. "He said, 'I can't believe Gary [Poter] cut my fucking pay. How am I supposed to pay my fucking mortgage?' "

from the Sun-Times

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