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People v. Winfield

MAY 5, 1971.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

JEROME WINFIELD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. FRANCIS T. DELANEY, Judge presiding.

MR. JUSTICE BURMAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendant, Jerome Winfield, was indicted on charges of attempt murder and aggravated battery. After a jury trial, he was convicted of aggravated battery and sentenced to serve not less than three nor more than five years in the Illinois State Penitentiary.

On appeal, the defendant contends that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and that the sentence imposed was excessive. He first brought this appeal directly to the Supreme Court, however, the cause was transferred to this Court.

On March 3, 1968, two uniformed police officers, Alfred Schultz and Desmond Butler, responded to a radio call that a man with a gun was threatening persons at 6007 South Park in Chicago. When the officers arrived at the address, they were informed that the man was in the basement. The officers drew their guns, and proceeded in single file down a narrow stairway to the basement. When they were three feet from the bottom of the stairway, the defendant, holding a knife in his hand, jumped out of the basement apartment. Schultz, the lead officer, told the defendant to drop the knife and to freeze. When the defendant took two steps forward, Schultz grabbed him by the throat. Schultz testified that the defendant then "swung over my arm and struck my arms a couple of times and I struck his arm, pushing the knife away from me." Schultz then pushed the defendant away and stated that he would shoot if the defendant did not drop the knife. The defendant replied, "You will have to shoot me," and lunged forward. Schultz shot him in the left shoulder region and then disarmed him.

On cross-examination, Schultz testified that the defendant did not have a gun and that the defendant never succeeded in cutting him with the knife.

Officer Butler, who followed Schultz down the stairway, testified that he as well as Schultz told the defendant to drop the knife. After the defendant lunged in "more or less a stabbing motion up toward Officer Schultz's face" and brushed against Schultz's arm, he Butler, unsuccessfully attempted to knock the knife from the defendant's hand with a baton. Schultz then pushed the defendant away, warned him to drop the knife, and shot once.

Anna Winfield, the defendant's mother, testified that her son, Jerome, was despondent over his job when he arrived at her apartment on the day in question. Jerome stated that he wanted to die, and at about 2:30 P.M. he telephoned the police and told them, "Send the police out right away. I have everybody lying on the floor. I'm a crazy man." The police called back and her son said, "Send them right away." When the doorbell rang, Jerome rushed out the door. She heard someone threaten to kill him if he did not put down a knife. She got up, started toward the door, and heard Jerome say, "Kill me." She heard a shot and saw Jerome fall. Her son did not go up the stairs, and when the shot was fired, he was just standing on the landing.

Alvin Winfield, the defendant's brother, testified that he heard his brother, who was depressed and despondent, say that he wanted to die. Just before the shooting he was with his brother in the kitchen. Jerome picked up a cake knife; and when the doorbell rang, he went out. Afterwards, Alvin heard a shot and left through the back entrance.

Edward Winfield, another of the defendant's brothers, testified that on March 3, 1968, Jerome appeared intoxicated and depressed. He heard his brother call the police and tell them that he wanted to die. When the doorbell rang, Jerome said, "That must be the police. I have got to have something in my hand for them to kill me." Jerome then went out the door. Edward heard a voice say, "Drop that knife." Jerome replied, "Go ahead and kill me. I'm not going to drop the knife." A voice then threatened to blow Jerome's brains out if he did not drop the knife. Edward said he watched Jerome from the living room during the exchange of words, and at no time did he see Jerome start up the stairs or touch anyone. After a shot was fired, he saw his brother fall.

Brenda Anderson, the defendant's cousin, testified that she was standing outside 6007 South Park Avenue when the police arrived. Officer Schultz asked her whether the man had a gun and she answered, "No." She was standing next to Schultz when the shooting occurred. Schultz twice told the defendant to drop the knife, and then he threatened to shoot if he did not drop the knife. The defendant was just standing at the bottom of the stairs; but when he continued to hold the knife, Schultz fired. On cross-examination she was shown a statement which bore her signature. She was then asked if the following question was propounded to her several hours after the incident and if she made the following response:

"Q. Did you see Jerome make any move toward the police officer with the knife?

A. Yes, after the police told him to drop it, the first time, Jerome took a step toward him."

She denied that she made the answer and stated that she had not read the statement completely before signing it.

Detective Everett Renfroe testified in rebuttal that he interviewed Brenda Anderson on March 3, 1968, that he asked her specific questions, and that he typed the questions and the answers exactly as given. He further testified that he asked the ...


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