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People v. Matthews

JULY 11, 1974.

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

v.

TUMMERY MATTHEWS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. MICHAEL A. ORENIC, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DIXON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendant, Tummery Juan Matthews, was indicted for the armed robbery and murder of Lovell Lockhart. After a jury trial the defendant was found not guilty of armed robbery but guilty of murder. The Circuit Court of Will County sentenced him for a term of not less than 50 nor more than 100 years. Defendant appeals contending:

1. That the trial court erred in refusing to answer a question asked by the jury.

2. That the court erred in refusing a manslaughter instruction.

3. That the State failed to prove the defendant guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

4. That the court erred in admitting certain evidence.

5. That the sentence was excessive.

On February 6, 1972, a police officer stopped Tummery Matthews, the defendant, on Interstate 55. Because he had no driver's license, the officer arrested him. Matthews spent the night in the Will County jail, but his car was left on the shoulder of Interstate 55 where he had been stopped.

On February 7, 1972, defendant asked for and received a recognizance bond. Matthews went to a tavern to drink and to call his parents and his employer. He attempted to find a ride to his car but was only able to find a taxi driver who took him to a service station.

At the service station defendant met Lovell Lockhart, who agreed to take him to his car in the station's towtruck. After a stop at an auto parts store, the two men went to the car, arriving at roughly 6 o'clock.

The police found Lovell Lockhart dead of gunshot wounds at approximately 7:30 P.M. Lockhart's body was sitting in the towtruck at the point on the freeway where Matthews' car had been parked.

In the early morning hours of February 8, police arrested Matthews at his home in North Chicago, Illinois. Subsequently, the wallet of the deceased, the keys to the towtruck, a toolbox from the towtruck, an empty box for a handgun, and ammunition were found in his possession.

Shortly after his arrest, Matthews confessed to the killing and the police taped his confession. He stated that when he and Lockhart got to his car, the car was too cold to start until they sprayed a fluid on the engine. After starting the car they returned to the towtruck. Lockhart wanted $10 or $11, but Matthews had only $5. The two argued. Lockhart hollered and waved his hand in Matthews' face. Matthews feared that Lockhart would attack him and he lost control and shot and killed Lockhart.

At trial, defendant disavowed his confession stating that it was coerced. He testified that a second car and driver was parked in the vicinity of his car when he and Lockhart arrived there. He testified that Lockhart was alive when defendant left the area. He testified to the effect that various items of evidence were planted and ...


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