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People v. Bolton

MARCH 30, 1973.

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

v.

LEON BOLTON ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Kankakee County; the Hon. VICTOR N. CARDOSI, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DIXON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied May 1, 1973.

This was a prosecution in the Circuit Court of Kankakee County for murder against Leon Bolton, Charles Marshall and Tommy Watkins. After a jury verdict of guilty, the trial judge sentenced the defendants for a term of from 90 to 150 years. All three defendants have taken this appeal contending, first that the People knowingly used perjured testimony to obtain the convictions.

On Dec. 15, 1970, the victim disappeared from her home. During the next four days her relatives, neighbors and the local police searched the fields around her house for some sign of her. On the fifth day, Dec. 20, her body was found in one of the fields. She had been shot six times.

Within two weeks, the police had five suspects in custody. The first of the suspects was Philip Troupe. Based on statements of Troupe, the defendants, along with a Leo Collins, were arrested and indicted for murder. (Collins also gave the State's Attorney a statement. In it he said that Bolton and Marshall had killed the victim and that no one else was present. The State gave notice that Collins' statement "may be exculpatory in nature with reference to said Tommy Watkins". Collins was granted a severance. He did not testify in the instant case, nor was the exculpatory statement presented to the jury in behalf of Watkins.)

Troupe was called as a prosecution witness. The jury was excused and the judge questioned Troupe, his attorney, and the prosecutor Fontenot about Troupe's willingness to testify. Both attorneys advised the judge that Troupe was testifying in return for the State's promise that he would not be prosecuted for murder. The following appears:

"Mr. Fontenot: I might further show to the court that Philip Troupe was declared a delinquent on Feb. 10, 1971 under Case No. 70-J-4232 wherein he confessed to two counts *fn1 of the Petition and Count I of the petition as to murder was stricken as to him.

As far as —

The Court: When you say Count I as to murder — was that an agreement between you and defense?

Mr. Fontenot: That was by representation that the State would handle all matters with reference to Troupe as a juvenile at which time he did consent — and which he did do — to testify before the Grand Jury in the Indictment of the present case on trial. * * *

The Court: * * * And that if he does take the stand to testify, so far as the witness is concerned, whatever statements he may make which are incriminating so far as murder is concerned will not be by the State used to charge him with murder. Am I correct in that.

Mr. Fontenot: That is correct, Your Honor."

The Court then addressed Philip Troupe:

"Q. You are taking the stand because there has been an agreement between your lawyer and the State that the State will not prosecute you for murder?

A. Yes."

The jury was thereafter brought in to hear Troupe's testimony. He testified that on the night of Dec. 15, he and the defendants went to the home of the victim where she was raped and later shot in a field ...


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