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People v. Gunn

JUNE 25, 1974.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES B. CROSSON, Judge, presiding.


Defendant, Clyde Gunn, was tried before a jury for the offense of murder of Willie Butler in violation of section 9-1 of the Criminal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 38, par. 9-1). The jury returned a verdict of guilty, the court entered judgment thereon, and sentenced defendant to a term of not less than 25 years nor more than 60 years in the penitentiary. Defendant appealed, Appellate Court General No. 59220. Subsequent to the murder conviction, defendant filed a post-conviction petition, which was dismissed by the trial court without an evidentiary hearing after arguments of counsel. Defendant appealed from this order, Appellate Court General No. 57431. Defendant's direct appeal and his appeal from the order denying post-conviction relief have been consolidated for review.


We will first consider defendant's direct appeal. He contends (1) that the trial court erred in refusing to declare a mistrial when, during the course of the trial, articles appeared in certain Chicago newspapers relative to an attempt escape from the Cook County jail, in which articles defendant's name was mentioned; (2) that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of another crime; and (3) that defendant was deprived of equal protection of the law because, since he was 17 years old at the time of the alleged offense, he had to be prosecuted as a male adult, whereas a similarly situated female of the same age could be treated as a juvenile offender.

Defendant filed a motion to suppress any statements, admissions, or confessions made by him. After the hearing of evidence, the trial court stated that in its opinion the statements, admissions, and confession were freely given by defendant and, therefore, the motion to suppress was denied.

At the trial, Jessie Smith testified that the deceased (Willie Butler), together with Willie's brother Cornelius, Thomas Griffin, Jimmie D. Smith, Lucius Washington, and himself were on their way by automobile to the Twilight Tavern at 45th and Wentworth, Chicago, Illinois, after having worked the 4 P.M. to midnight shift at the Adolph Plating Company. Shortly after midnight they parked the automobile on Wentworth Avenue, about a block north of the tavern, and were walking south when they were met by two men going north. Defendant grabbed Jessie Smith from behind and struck him on the head with the barrel of an automatic pistol. He pulled Smith into a vacant lot where, at gun-point, defendant took Smith's wallet, pointed the pistol at Smith's head and pulled the trigger three times, but the gun did not fire.

Cornelius Butler, brother of the deceased, testified that, when defendant grabbed Jessie Smith, defendant's companion (Gregory Taylor) fired two shots, one of which hit his brother; that he ran when he heard the shots; and that, when he returned, he saw that his brother was dead. After the shooting, defendant and Taylor jumped over a fence and fled.

David Henson, a Chicago police officer, testified that, on 23 June 1967 at about 8 A.M., he arrested defendant at 4500 S. Wentworth Avenue, Chicago; that defendant was standing at the corner and fitted the description of a person wanted for murder; that he asked defendant to stop and come to the squad car, but that defendant turned and ran north in an alley off of Wentworth; and that he caught defendant and took him to the police station.

John Boyle, another Chicago police officer, testified that he interviewed defendant at the police station on 23 June 1967; that, after defendant had been advised as to his constitutional rights, defendant gave an oral statement which was subsequently reduced to writing and signed by defendant in the presence of an assistant State's attorney.

In the statement defendant said that, about 10 P.M. on 22 June 1967, he and Gregory Taylor stole a car; that they drove around for approximately two hours and then parked the car on 45th Street near Princeton (Princeton is 300 West, and Wentworth is 200 West); that they went into the alley at 4400 South Wells Street, where Taylor took a jacket from in back of a garbage can; and that, as they walked back toward the car, Taylor pulled a sawed-off shotgun from underneath his coat and handed defendant an automatic pistol. Defendant further stated that, when he and Taylor were walking southbound in the middle of the 4400 block of Wentworth Avenue, they saw six men get out a car and walk toward the Twilight Tavern; that Taylor grabbed one of the men who was walking in the rear of the six and pulled him backwards and defendant then grabbed him; that defendant pulled the man into a vacant lot and was fighting with him; that at the time defendant heard two shots from the shotgun; and that Taylor ran into the vacant lot where defendant was fighting with the man and said, "I had to shoot one of them."

In the statement, defendant further stated that he and Taylor ran through a vacant lot and came out on Wells Street where he met a woman on the street (one River Lee Bully) and told her "this is a stickup" and tried to grab her purse; that the woman resisted and finally he grabbed her purse from her hand; that another woman came out of one of the houses on Wells Street and started screaming; that Taylor aimed the shotgun at her and shot one time, striking the woman in the face. Defendant said he and Taylor ran to the car which was parked on 45th Street near Princeton; that Taylor told defendant to get into the car and wait; that Taylor took the automatic pistol from defendant and went into the alley on Wells Street; that he came back in a few minutes without the guns. Defendant said that Taylor got in behind the wheel but could not start the car; that about this time the police were arriving on the scene; that Taylor jumped out of the car and started running and the police officers pursued him while defendant remained in the car; that, after the police left, defendant got out of the car and went in a different direction; that he went over to his grandmother's house, and, on the next morning at approximately 9 A.M., he returned to 45th and Wentworth; that he lived at 4462 Wentworth; and that he was standing on the corner when the police squad pulled up and placed him under arrest.

The written statement of defendant was read into evidence by an assistant State's attorney and exhibited to the jury.

At the trial defendant testified that on 22 June 1967 he worked from 6 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. at the Swift Lamb Sales and then went home; that about 11 P.M. that night he went to a park where he played basketball; that he left the park with Palmer Grimes about 12:30 A.M. on 23 June 1967; that he went to 47th and Calumet where he was approached by a woman who asked him for a date; that he went to her house in the middle of the block; that he took out $20 and she grabbed it; and that, when he tried to take it back, she cut him with a straight razor on the right wrist. Defendant said he left the house and walked to 47th and South Park and rinsed off his hand in a fountain; that he flagged down a paddy wagon; and that Police Officer Brumfield, the driver of the paddy wagon, took him to the Provident Hospital.

Defendant also testified that, after leaving the hospital, he spotted the woman and caught her; that they all went back to the hospital to treat the woman for a bruised knee; that then they went to the police station where he and the woman were questioned. Defendant also stated that he was released from the police station at about 8 A.M. in the morning and went home; and that he then left the house and went to the corner where two police officers picked him up on the corner and put him in a paddy wagon. Defendant said River Lee Bully was standing at the squadrol; that the police officers drove to the "stockyard" where some officers beat him; and that then they took him to the police station. Defendant further testified that the statement was given under duress; that the statement was not correct in relating the ...

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