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People v. Lahori

JULY 13, 1973.

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

v.

ROBERT LAHORI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. KENNETH E. WILSON, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE ENGLISH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

OFFENSES CHARGED

Two counts of murder, under different paragraphs of the statute, for the killing of his wife. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(a)(1) and (2).

JUDGMENT

After a jury trial, defendant was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to a term of not less than 20 nor more than 30 years.

CONTENTIONS RAISED ON APPEAL

1. Defendant was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

2. The trial court erred in refusing to give a self-defense instruction to the jury, thereby depriving defendant of his right to have the jury instructed on the theory of his defense.

EVIDENCE

Eleanor Taylor, for the State:

She is the sister of the deceased, Barbara Lahori. As of April 26, 1970, she, Barbara, and Barbara's eight children (one of them being in California at the time), were living together in a three-bedroom apartment at 4632 S. Michigan, Chicago, Illinois. At 7:25 P.M., on that date, she, her sister, and the five-month-old baby were in the apartment when defendant arrived. She and her sister were in the kitchen, and defendant joined them there. Defendant was wearing an unbuttoned outer coat, and she could see his shirt and pants. She did not see a gun on his person at the time he entered the apartment, nor did she see him pick up a gun while in the apartment. After a few minutes, she went into her bedroom to iron a blouse. She did not have an ironing board, but was ironing on the mattress of her bed. A few minutes later, defendant went into her sister's bedroom, and her sister followed him. Defendant did not force Barbara into the bedroom. Her sister did not have a broom with her at the time. The witness' bedroom was separated from her sister's bedroom by a three- or four-foot-wide hallway, the two doors of the bedrooms almost directly across from one another. She was not facing her bedroom door while ironing, and could not look directly into the other bedroom, but turned around a few times to watch defendant and her sister.

Defendant and Barbara were together in Barbara's bedroom about five minutes when she heard her sister say, "Don't lay down, Robert, go home. I don't want to be bothered with you." She saw defendant pull a gun out of his left-side pocket. Then she heard shots, and turned around and saw Barbara stagger out of the bedroom into the hall. Her sister fell in the hallway about three feet from the living room with her head facing the living room. Defendant came into the witness' bedroom and pointed a gun at her. She pushed him against the wall; he said he wasn't going to shoot her; she kept telling him to drop the gun, which he did. She then ran downstairs to a neighbor's apartment to call the police. She was still in the neighbor's apartment when the police arrived about 10 minutes later and went upstairs. She followed them and heard defendant tell the officers that he had shot his wife.

Rosmond Howard, for the State:

He is a Chicago police officer. On April 26, 1970, at about 7:30 P.M., he and his partner went to an apartment at 4632 S. Michigan. He knocked on the door, and when defendant opened the door, he could see a revolver sticking in his belt. The witness took the gun with no resistance on defendant's part, and defendant said to him, "I shot my wife." He walked into the apartment and observed the deceased lying in the hallway between the bedroom door and the living room door, with her head facing the living room. He examined the entire apartment, ...


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