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People v. Jackson

APRIL 24, 1974.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. PHILIP ROMITI, Judge, presiding.


The defendant, Andre Jackson, was charged in an indictment with the murder of William Adamore, the armed robberies of Shirlene Armour and Robert Bell, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm to Robert Bell, aggravated battery using a deadly weapon. He was found guilty of all the charges after a jury trial. The trial court sentenced him to a term of not less than 30 nor more than 60 years on the murder charge, 10 to 15 years on the armed robbery of Shirlene Armour and 10 to 15 years on the armed robbery of Robert Bell, and 5 to 10 years for aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. All of the sentences are to run concurrently.

The defendant contends on appeal that (1) his right to a fair trial was denied by certain prosecutorial misconduct, (2) the common law record improperly reflects that he was sentenced for aggravated battery using a deadly weapon, and (3) his sentence for aggravated battery causing serious bodily harm is excessive.

The evidence shows that at about 11:15 P.M. on August 6, 1970, Barbara Barksdale, the manager, and Shirlene Armour, her sister and owner of a tavern at 924 West 69th Street were in the premises. Two of their customers, William Adamore and Robert Bell, were seated at the bar. The tavern was well lit.

Two men entered and ordered a beer. Shirlene testified that one of the men, whom she identified at trial as the defendant, asked her name and told her in return that his name was John Frederick. She conversed with him and shortly thereafter went to the window to change a record album. When she turned around the defendant had a gun pointed at her and demanded all the money in a drawer. She complied. The other man robbed the patrons. The defendant then told Robert Bell he was "smart" and that he was going to teach him a lesson. Defendant struck Bell in the jaw with his gun and it fired, wounding him (Bell) in the shoulder. The bullet passed through Bell's shoulder and struck William Adamore in the head, killing him. The defendant turned and said "I'm sorry it had to happen like this, but I didn't have a choice." He and the other man then backed out the door and Shirlene immediately called the police.

The two women gave a description of the defendant to the police. They both noted a scar on his left cheek near the chin. In addition to Shirlene Armour, both Miss Barksdale and Robert Bell identified the defendant at trial, and their testimony substantially corroborated that given by Mrs. Armour.

Willie Lee Wilson testified that the defendant was at her home on August 6, 1970, from about 6:30 P.M. until about 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning. The defendant took the stand in his own defense and also testified that he was with Willie Lee for the period of time stated by her. On cross-examination he admitted that he had also used the name of John Frederick. In rebuttal Officer Ivory Hampton testified that when he informed Willie Lee Wilson, during the investigation, that the defendant stated he had been with her on August 6 she denied it and told him she had been at home with her husband and children that evening.

The defendant first contends that it was reversible error for the trial court to deny his motion for a mistrial where the prosecution introduced evidence which showed his involvement in previous unrelated crimes.

Objection is first made to certain testimony given by Officer Ivory Hampton. He testified that he and another officer received a call that there was a robbery in progress at the tavern and they went directly to the scene. The following day, August 7, 1970, Shirlene Armour and Barbara Barksdale were requested to come to the police station and did so. Officer Hampton then was asked by the prosecutor:

"Q. After they came in, would you tell the ladies and gentlemen of the jury what, if anything, occurred?

A. They came in. We gave them the books of the male, Negroes robbery and sex offenders."

An objection to that testimony was made by the defense counsel and sustained by the judge who immediately instructed the jury to disregard the answer. We note here that Hampton then testified that defendant's picture was not found in the books by the two women and no identification was made at the time. His subsequent testimony revealed that it was at the next meeting between him and the women on August 9 that the identification of a photograph of the defendant was made from different books.

The other testimony on which defendant bases his contention of reversible error was given by Sergeant Eli Harris during his questioning by the prosecution. Harris testified that he was supervisor of the unit to which Officer Hampton was assigned. He was then asked by the prosecutor:

"Q. Calling your attention to August 9th and 10th, did you have occasion to become assigned or involved in a matter with Investigator Hampton?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Tell the ladies and gentlemen of the jury how you first became involved in the matter ...

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