APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ROBERT
J. DOWNING, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Nathaniel Gaddy and Robert Woods were charged with the murder of Robert Hughes, Jr. In a bench trial, defendant Gaddy was found guilty and defendant Woods not guilty. The court sentenced defendant Gaddy to a term of forty (40) to fifty (50) years. On appeal defendant contends: (1) the prosecution failed to prove defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) there was no probable cause for defendant's initial detention and questioning and, therefore, the court erred by admitting into evidence statements made by defendant during this period; (3) the court erred by admitting into evidence oral statements made by defendant following his arrest; (4) the sentence was excessive.
Michael N. Smith testified for the State that on October 18, 1968, at approximately 8:45 P.M. he was in front of Spencer School, 214 N. Lavergne, with Robert Hughes, Jr. when some shots were fired. He dropped to the ground, and while on the ground he looked across the street and observed defendant Gaddy with a rifle. He not only could identify Gaddy by his clothing and characteristic green hat, but he could even see defendant's forehead. Defendant Woods and one Charles Williams were with Gaddy. Smith knew defendants Gaddy and Woods prior to this incident. After the shots were fired, Smith noticed other people fall to the ground. Closest to him were Howard Fort and Calvin Stennis. Robert Hughes was also on the ground. Immediately thereafter all ran into the school where Smith observed the injured Hughes run upstairs and onto the fire escape. Approximately fifteen (15) minutes later the police arrived. Later that evening Smith gave a statement to the police at the Austin District Police Station. On the night in question Smith had in his possession a .45 automatic pistol. He also testified that on one occasion prior to the incident, while walking in an alley behind Gaddy's house, he observed defendant cleaning a rifle.
Charles Williams, originally indicted as a co-defendant in the case, but subsequently discharged, testified for the State that on October 18, 1968, at about 9:00 P.M. he looked out of the school entrance window and saw flashes come from a gangway across the street. He recognized defendant Gaddy as the individual who fired the fatal shot by the green hat defendant characteristically wore and which the gunman was then wearing. Earlier that evening he had been with Gaddy and, therefore, could recognize defendant by his clothing. Williams ran from the school after the shooting and saw Gaddy and two companions, Robert Woods and Wilbur Lee run from the alley behind the gangway from where the shots were fired. Williams was reluctant to give police his statement, and at trial, at the request of the State, he was declared a court's witness.
Officer Claude Erwin, who arrived at the school shortly after the shooting occurred, testified for the State that on the night in question the lighting conditions in the area were fair.
Catherine McKinney, landlady of defendant Gaddy, testified for the State that on October 18, 1968, at about 5:30 P.M. her dog was shot in the backyard of the building in which defendant lived. She had had an argument with defendant no more than a week prior to this incident. Defendant stipulated that the bullets removed from the dog and from the deceased Robert Hughes were from the same .22 caliber rifle. On occasions previous to October 18, she had seen defendant Gaddy wearing a green hat, but she did not remember if he wore it that evening.
Calvin Stennis testified for the State that on October 18, 1968, approximately thirty (30) minutes before the shooting occurred, he saw a boy who was wearing an army jacket standing on the curb in front of Spencer School. That boy might have been Michael Smith. When the shooting occurred Stennis was with Hughes on the school steps; he did not notice where the boy in the army jacket was standing. Howard Fort was inside at the school dance at the time.
Detective Lanners testified for the State that he arrived at Spencer School on October 18, 1968, at about 10:45 P.M. The school floodlights were on and the lighting conditions were very good. He received a description of the offenders from Detective Rooney who was already on the scene interviewing witnesses. Other police officers were also present. Later that evening at 15th District Police Station, Lanners interviewed several witnesses. That evening police questioned defendant Gaddy but he was released. On October 22, 1968, Detective Lanners, after receiving a description of defendant Gaddy from Michael Smith, arrested Gaddy and advised him of his rights. After being advised, defendant denied being present at the scene of the murder. On December 2, 1968, Lanners saw defendant at Cook County Morgue, at which time defendant threatened him. On January 15, 1969, Lanners was present in Branch 43 (Judge Epton's Courtroom) when defendant Gaddy, defendant Woods and Charles Norris were called.
Charles Norris testified for the State that in February of 1969, in Judge Epton's Court (Branch 43), he had a conversation with defendant Gaddy, wherein defendant admitted killing Robert Hughes.
Frank Hundrieser testified for the defense that area photographs presented by defense were authentic, and truly represented the lighting conditions of the area as of the night they were taken, April 27, 1969. He believed the State photographer achieved a lighter effect by using a flashgun when he took his photographs.
Ernest Harris testified for the defense that on October 18, 1968, he saw defendant Gaddy at 7:00 P.M. and 10:00 P.M. Between that time Harris was in a pool room located at Cicero and Maypole with Michael Horn, Wilbur Lewis, Jeffrey Johnson and defendant Woods. Woods never left the poolroom during this period. Also, during this period Michael Horn had in his possession defendant Gaddy's green hat. At approximately 10:00 P.M. Gaddy came into the poolroom.
Wilbur Lewis testified for the defense and confirmed Harris' testimony.
Ledora McDonald testified for the defense that on October 18, at about 9:15 P.M. she was with defendant Gaddy when she heard a shot. However, on cross-examination she testified that she thought the shot occurred after she had talked to defendant. Also, on both direct examination and cross-examination she testified that she was on the east side of Lavargne (across the street from Spencer ...