Lamar Cooper. Sheriff's photo

Lamar Cooper. (Sheriff's photo / March 27, 2012)

A reputed drug dealer was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole today in the 2008 slaying of Chicago police Officer Nathaniel Taylor.

A Cook County jury convicted Lamar Cooper, 40, last month of first-degree murder in Taylor's slaying. Cooper, a convicted felon who had previously served time for attempted murder of a police officer, showed no emotion as Criminal Court Judge Nicholas Ford handed down the sentence.

Prosecutors said Taylor and other Calumet Area narcotics officers had a warrant to search Cooper's heavily fortified South Chicago neighborhood home for suspected drugs and weapons.

Cooper fatally shot Taylor as the officer approached his vehicle outside the home. Taylor's partner returned fire, wounding Cooper nine times in the chest, arms and abdomen.

Cooper's attorneys said he did not know Taylor was a police officer and fired in self-defense in what he thought was an armed robbery.

jmeisner@tribune.com

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