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People v. Dagge

MARCH 14, 1973.

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

v.

WILLIAM DAGGE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



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

MR. JUSTICE ADESKO DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, William Dagge, was convicted of murder after a jury trial and was sentenced to the Illinois State Penitentiary for a term of not less than 14 nor more than 20 years. Defendant raises the following issues for review:

1. Whether the trial court erred in admitting defendant's extra-judicial confessions into evidence, as the products of knowing and voluntary waivers of constitutional rights;

2. Whether defendant was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt;

3. Whether the trial court erred in refusing defendant's jury instruction on the admissibility of confessions; and

4. Whether the trial court erred in admitting photographs of the murder scene into evidence.

The facts are as follows:

On October 8, 1969, at approximately 11:30 A.M., the body of Vera Allison was found in her apartment in the building she managed at 4727-31 North Kenmore in Chicago. She had been strangled with the cord from a vacuum cleaner through which a plunger had been inserted and used as a tourniquet. Her dress had been pulled up and her underclothing showed. The metal box in the kitchen closet where she kept the rent money she collected was empty. Two photographs showing the body of Vera Allison were admitted into evidence.

At about 10:30 P.M., on the evening of November 6, 1969, defendant William Dagge, entered Chicago Police Department headquarters and told the officer at the information desk that he wanted to be arrested as he had murdered his landlady. The officer detected an odor of alcohol on defendant's breath, but he did not believe that defendant was drunk. When the officer asked defendant why he had committed murder, defendant replied that he wanted to have sexual relations with the deceased and when she refused they struggled and he killed her. He also stated that he wanted money. The officer's first thought was that the defendant merely wanted to be arrested so that he could spend the night in the police station out of the cold, but as defendant told his story, the officer believed him, warned him of his rights and called in detectives.

Two Chicago Police Detectives, officers Howlett and Skelly arrived at headquarters to question defendant. They were generally familiar with the case of the murder of Vera Allison although they were not aware of all of the specific details involved as they had not been initially assigned to investigate the case. Defendant was informed of his constitutional rights and he then made an oral statement. He confessed that on the evening of October 8, 1969, he had a "sexual urge" and went to the apartment of Vera Allison to satisfy it. When she refused his advances, defendant related that he strangled her with a cord and a plunger.

The officers then took defendant to their offices at Area Six Homicide where defendant was advised of his constitutional rights and where a written statement was then taken from defendant. In this statement, defendant again set forth how he had murdered Vera Allison and where he had obtained the cord and the plunger. Defendant, however, refused to sign the statement he had given.

James Dagge, defendant's brother testified that on the night of Vera Allison's murder, he received a telephone call from defendant, who stated that he was hiding under his bed because of an argument taking place in his landlady's apartment. Defendant then testified in his own behalf and denied murdering Vera Allison.

Defendant testified that on the evening of October 7, 1969, he was in a tavern and was drinking throughout the evening. At approximately midnight he stated that he took a cab to his apartment to obtain more money to continue drinking. He stated that he was in his apartment for no more than fifteen minutes and returned to his waiting cab which took him back to the tavern. Defendant testified that after the tavern closed, he walked to his brother's house where he spent the night. He stated that he did not learn of the death of Vera Allison until the following day when he returned to his apartment.

Defendant stated that on the day of his confession he drank heavily and that he knew nothing of the cord and plunger until the police informed him of the way Vera Allison ...


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