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People v. Fisher

JANUARY 19, 1973.

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

v.

LEROY J. FISHER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ROBERT J. COLLINS, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE DRUCKER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

In a jury trial defendant Leroy J. Fisher was convicted of murder and received a sentence of 50 to 100 years. On appeal he raises three points: (1) that the trial court erred in permitting the State's Attorney to cross-examine a defense witness as to his use of other names; (2) that it was error for the State's Attorney to comment on the failure of the defense to call two persons to testify who had been mentioned in the testimony of other defense witnesses; and (3) that the sentence is excessive and should be reduced.

The homicide, a shooting, took place in a housing project at 117 South Rockwell Street in Chicago on May 2, 1970, at about 10:00 P.M. At trial defendant contended that he had acted in self-defense. The prosecution contended that the shooting was without provocation or justification. According to the State's witnesses the deceased, Willie Lomax, his brother and two companions arrived at the building at about 10:00 P.M. with the intention of going to a party in apartment 507. They pressed the button for both elevators. The elevator which arrived first stopped only at even numbered floors. They decided to take the elevator to the sixth floor and walk down to the fifth floor. As they exited the elevator on the sixth floor they encountered defendant who was standing near the elevator. He asked them: "Where do you crib at?" The defendant had a gun in his belt; the deceased was unarmed. The four men continued to walk to the stairwell and down the stairs. As they did, defendant began to shoot. Two bullets hit the deceased. No gun was found on deceased.

The State also called the woman who was giving the party in apartment 507. She testified that one of the three men who accompanied the deceased to the building was among the invited guests.

The defendant contended that he was giving a party the night of May 2, 1970. The defense called defendant's mother, his sister, a friend by the name of Tyrone Dodson and defendant. Their testimony in some respects conflicted with each other's and in some instances contained self-contradictions. Essentially defendant tried to establish that he was giving a party, that the four men arrived at his apartment and that he asked them to leave. As he was escorting them to the stairway, the deceased turned around and began shooting at him. Defendant claims that he then pulled his own gun and returned the fire. Defendant's sister testified that she saw the four men come to the apartment and leave. She saw her brother leave too. She testified that there were about 35 people at the party and that there were too many people on the porch for her to see the actual shooting. Aside from the defendant, the only other witness to testify that the deceased had a gun was Tyrone Dodson. Dodson testified that he was at defendant's party; that while on the porch he saw deceased and two others get off the elevator and head for the stairs; that an argument with defendant arose and deceased suddenly turned around and began firing at defendant.

OPINION

• 1 Defendant's first contention is that the "trial court erred" in permitting the State's Attorney to question a defense witness, Tyrone Dodson, as to his use of other names.

The testimony was:

Cross-examination by Mr. Egan:

"Q. What is your name?

A. Tyrone Dodson.

Q. Do you have any other names?

A. Anthony.

Q. ...


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