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People v. Gaither

NOVEMBER 27, 1968.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

THOMAS GAITHER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. WALTER P. DAHL, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE ENGLISH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

OFFENSE CHARGED

Arson. (Ill Rev Stats (1963), c 38, § 20-1.)

DEFENSE AT TRIAL

Accident.

JUDGMENT

After a jury trial, defendant was found guilty and sentenced to a term of 1 to 8 years.

POINTS RAISED ON APPEAL

(1) It was reversible error for the trial court not to conduct a hearing into the competency of the defendant.

(2) The indictment was invalid.

(3) It was error for the trial court to refuse a tendered defense instruction.

(4) The defendant was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

EVIDENCE

Flossie B. Gaither, for the State.

She was the wife of defendant. On May 1, 1965, she was living at 4339 West 13th Street, Chicago. She had been separated from her husband since October 1964, and had not seen him for approximately one month. She had leased this apartment from Shavin Real Estate and paid $90 per month rent. On the evening of April 30, 1965, she had retired to her bedroom at 10:30 p.m. At approximately 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., she was awakened by the coughing of one of her children. She left her bedroom and went to sleep with the children who were two and four years of age.

Later, in the early morning of May 1, 1965, she was awakened by a popping sound which came from the kitchen and the bedroom. She heard the front door slam. She opened the front door and saw defendant running down the stairs. The whole apartment was ablaze with fire. She put on her housecoat, grabbed her ...


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