APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. L.
SHELDON BROWN, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE DRUCKER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Defendant was convicted, after a jury trial, of the crime of murder. Judgment was entered and he was sentenced to a term of one hundred to one hundred and fifty years. Defendant's sole contention on appeal is that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress a pre-trial statement obtained in violation of his constitutional rights.
The evidence at the trial may be briefly summarized. The State's first witness, Denise Keeber, testified that she observed the defendant drag the deceased by the hair out of a tavern down the sidewalk, kick her about the head, and hit her in the head with his fist. She further testified that she saw the defendant take a knife from his trousers and stab the deceased, after which he proceeded down an adjoining alley. A policeman who had been in the tavern then came out and ran after the defendant.
Annebel Johnson, a defense witness, testified that she observed the defendant strike the deceased in the stomach, push her out of the tavern and take from his person what appeared to her to be a knife.
The arresting officer, Officer Gary, testified that while off duty and in plain clothes he observed the defendant push the deceased out of the tavern. Shortly thereafter someone ran into the tavern and said, "He just killed her," whereupon Officer Gary went into the street, saw the victim lying on the sidewalk bleeding, asked, "Which way did he go?" and pursued the defendant down the alley. The defendant stopped on request and surrendered a knife when asked to do so by the officer. Officer Gary further testified that on being given the knife he placed the defendant under arrest and said, "You just killed a woman"; that then defendant stated, "The bitch needed killing."
The defendant testified that he "carried" the deceased to the tavern door by grabbing the collar of her coat and her arm. When he grabbed the deceased he stated he slapped and beat her while inside the tavern. He further testified that the death occurred as the result of the tavern door, opened by him as he held the deceased, driving the knife into her.
The jury found the defendant guilty of murder. The trial court upon hearing in aggravation that the defendant had previously been convicted of murder in 1947, and of manslaughter in 1960 as well as prison escape and parole violations, sentenced the defendant to one hundred to one hundred and fifty years.
Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress a pre-trial statement he made to the arresting officer. He argues that this statement was obtained in violation of his constitutional rights. At the hearing on the motion to suppress, Officer Gary testified that he witnessed an argument between the defendant and the deceased at a tavern. Shortly thereafter he was told by a bystander that a woman had been killed and that the man who did it was in a nearby alley. He went outside and over to the alley, called for the defendant to halt and identified himself as a police officer. Gary then testified: "I asked Mr. Jenkins for his knife, and he handed it to me from under his coat and he stated he had just killed a woman, and he stated, `The bitch needed killing.'"
On redirect examination Officer Gary testified that:
"First of all, when I approached him and asked him, `What did you do with the knife?' and he handed me the knife, this is the time I placed him under arrest. It was after that that I stated, `You just killed a woman back there.'"
Twice during the hearing the trial judge asked Officer Gary about defendant's statement:
"THE COURT: Q. Officer, where had you been prior to the time you saw this ...