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People v. Bailey

MARCH 10, 1965.




Appeal from the Criminal Court of Cook County; the Hon. ROBERT L. HUNTER, Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded with directions.


Rehearing denied April 5, 1965.

This is an appeal taken by William Vernon Bailey, defendant, from a judgment entered in the Criminal Court of Cook County. The judgment was entered on the verdict of the jury finding the defendant guilty of the crime of voluntary manslaughter. By the judgment the defendant was sentenced to a term of not less than ten nor more than twenty years in the Illinois State Penitentiary.

In this court the defendant contends that the verdict is contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence, *fn1 and that the defendant was denied due process of law since he was denied counsel.

The defendant was indicted for voluntary and involuntary manslaughter; he pleaded not guilty to each of the charges, and the jury returned a verdict finding him guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Since it is here argued that the verdict of the jury was against the manifest weight of the evidence it becomes necessary to consider the evidence in some detail.

The case was tried before a judge and jury. The defendant testified that he had been married to one Dorothy Bailey, the deceased, in June 1949. They had lived together as husband and wife, residing in a large apartment building equipped with an automatic elevator, on Palmer Avenue in the City of Chicago. On the morning of June 16, 1963, the defendant left home, leaving his wife in bed reading the Sunday paper. At about 9:25 that evening the defendant returned to his apartment. During the day he had been drinking at a tavern on Leland Avenue. When he entered the apartment the premises were dark except for one small 25-watt lamp on a table. The defendant testified that he was intoxicated at the time.

When he entered the apartment the defendant saw his wife lying on the bedroom floor. He picked her up, placed her in bed and got into the same bed with her. At about 2:00 or 2:30 in the morning of June 17, the defendant awoke, shook his wife and tried to waken her. He then noticed that she was bruised in the face, and he could not waken her. He telephoned a friend and told him there was something wrong with his wife. His friend advised him to call the police or fire department for an ambulance, but this advice he did not follow.

He stated that he then took off the housecoat which his wife was wearing — and which was introduced in evidence at the trial — and dressed her in a skirt and dress. He noticed that there was blood under her nose and that her face was black and blue, and there was blood on her legs. He went into the kitchen, got a cloth and wiped off the blood.

When the ambulance driver and his assistant arrived the defendant told them his wife was in the bedroom, and the ambulance driver, after he saw her, said she was dead. The defendant further testified that he went back to the living room and blanked out, remembering nothing further.

He stated that the next thing he remembered was that he was driving down the Ryan Expressway, and that he went to a tavern in Cicero, where he had several drinks and purchased some liquor. He fell asleep on the bar and was awakened by the bartender who told him to get a room in a hotel. He took the liquor he had purchased and went to a hotel. He testified he remembered going out of the room once or twice, but nothing else. He woke up in the hotel room and found a man occupying one of the twin beds. The man told him that he, the defendant, had run into him the day before and invited him to stay over night. Concerning this, the defendant testified he had no recollection.

Defendant further said that when he checked out of the hotel he had only six cents. The two men went to the defendant's car and the stranger drove it to Chicago and parked it in a lot between Monroe and Adams Streets. They took some tools from the car to a shop on Madison Street where the stranger pawned them and gave the defendant $3.

The defendant stated he tried to telephone his home but received no answer. He then called a man he knew who told him his wife was in the County Morgue and that the authorities were looking for the defendant to charge him with murder. He testified that he started to drink again, found a room where he spent the night, and the next day got a job with a chemical company where he worked all day. His job was to move 50-pound paper bags containing chemicals, taking them out of a baggage car, putting them in a trailer, then taking them out of the trailer and putting them into other trailers. He worked there nine hours.

The defendant testified that in 1958 he had been in Manteno for treatment for drinking, and that he now decided to go there again. He called the same friend with whom he had spoken previously and told him he was "turning himself in out there." He also asked the man to get him a lawyer, and told him he was going over to Manteno. His friend told him to call back if he was unable to check in at Manteno. The defendant went to the hospital, gave his name to a woman in charge, and she told him to sit down and he would be able to see a doctor. The defendant testified that he got so sick he couldn't wait, and went out and rejoined his companion in the car. The companion drove him back to a tavern in Manteno and left him. From the tavern the defendant again called his friend in Chicago, asked him about getting a lawyer, and the friend said there was one there who would talk with him. The friend then put Detective Mahoney on the 'phone and the defendant talked with him, thinking that he was a lawyer. He told the detective where he was and when he left the tavern he was arrested and brought back to Chicago.

The defendant testified that he and his wife had no trouble in their marriage and that on the morning of June 17 he had not struck his wife. He said that his wife had fallen out of bed twice and that each time he had put her back in bed. On cross-examination he testified that when he first left the house the day of the homicide his wife had no facial bruises, nor did he notice anything wrong with her chin or her nose; that when he left the apartment the last time he did not know whether his wife was alive or dead; and he said that between 9:30 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. he slept and heard no outcries from his wife.

The driver of the ambulance testified on behalf of the State that the call to go to the defendant's apartment had come through an undertaker who had called the ambulance service where he was employed. He rang the bell and someone from upstairs unlatched the downstairs door. When he got to the apartment the door was open. The apartment looked as if it had been ransacked. He saw a bedroom and a woman lying in bed. She had black and blue marks all over her body, and she was badly beaten about the face. He found no heart beat. The defendant then walked in, identified himself, and said his wife had fallen down a flight of stairs and he wanted to get her to a hospital. The witness told him she was dead. The defendant went over to his wife, picked up her arm and tried to shake her. He shoved the witness and ran out of the apartment, after which the witness chased him into an alley.

The witness testified that at that time the defendant was wearing a white shirt and blue trousers and that he had scratch mark bruises on his hands up to about his elbows. The witness stated that he was familiar, through his experience as an ambulance driver, with persons under the influence of alcohol; that he detected no smell of alcohol on the defendant, and that in his opinion the defendant was sober at the time. He further described the condition of the living room to the effect that furniture was turned over, lamps were knocked down, and drawers pulled out. He also stated that as he drew up in front of the apartment in his ambulance he saw two men standing in front of the building, and he saw a black Cadillac automobile circle the block a couple of times when he was chasing the defendant. He reported the presence of the car to the police.

Frank Schira, a police officer, testified that he arrested the defendant on June 24, 1963, in a tavern in Manteno, Illinois.

James Lanners, a police officer of the City of Chicago, assigned to the Homicide Unit, went to the apartment of the defendant. At that time he saw the driver of the ambulance and his assistant. He saw the deceased lying on the bed and noted bruises on her face and a large discoloration across the right breast. There were abrasions and small lacerations on her arms and she was bleeding from the mouth and nose and from the vagina. There were stains of blood on the sheet and pillow case and on the woman's housecoat. He saw a wet towel on the window sill in the bathroom which had ...

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