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People v. Reed

OCTOBER 8, 1974.

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

v.

LORRAINE REED, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. SAUL EPTON, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE HAYES DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Lorraine Reed, defendant, was found guilty after a bench trial of the crime of murder in violation of section 9-1 of the Criminal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 38, par. 9-1). She was sentenced to a term of 14 to 20 years. Defendant appeals, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to establish her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the trial court erred in admitting evidence procured in violation of her fifth amendment right against self-incrimination.

At trial, Catherine Hendrix testified that on 4 October 1971, at approximately 7 P.M., she was at her home at 120 N. Hermitage, Chicago, Illinois. Present with her were: her children (two daughters); defendant; Leo Jones; Edward Jones; and the deceased, Ezekiel Brewer. Defendant, who had come to Chicago on the day before from Wichita, Kansas, and who was staying with the witness, was in the back bedroom (which was the childrens' bedroom). Mrs. Hendrix was playing cards in the kitchen. Ezekiel Brewer became "pesty" and she told him to go into the childrens' bedroom and lie down. A short time later, she heard what sounded like balloons bursting. Mrs. Hendrix checked with her children and found that they were not making the noise. She then asked Leo Jones to check the back bedroom of the apartment. Leo Jones went into the back bedroom and returned, saying that defendant shot Zeke. She immediately telephoned the police. Mrs. Hendrix also testified that, during the day, irritable words had passed between deceased and defendant owing to a mix-up as to the availability of clothing for a baby who was the one of defendant's children whose father was the deceased, but there had been no big argument or fight.

Leo Jones, defendant's brother, testified that on 4 October 1971, at 7 P.M., he was at Catherine Hendrix's home at 120 N. Hermitage, Chicago, Illinois. Defendant was in the back of the apartment, while he was playing cards in the kitchen with Edward Jones and Catherine Hendrix. Deceased was then in the kitchen. One Pinky Henderson left the apartment. A short time later, deceased left the kitchen area. He then heard what sounded like a firecracker or a popping noise. Catherine Hendrix checked with her children and found that they had not made the noise. The witness then went to the back bedroom where he observed Ezekiel Brewer lying face up on the bed. Defendant was the only other person in the room and was standing at the north end of the bed. Upon his entry into the room, defendant said, "I did it." He went up to Brewer and observed a bullet wound of the head. The police were called. Jones testified that, prior to the shooting, defendant and deceased had exchanged some words about one of defendant's children whose father was the decedent. Jones testified that, after the police officers arrived, one of them asked him to be present while they questioned defendant. The police asked defendant about the gun and she stated that she had thrown it out the window.

On cross-examination, Leo Jones admitted that on the evening of the incident, he had signed a statement at the police station stating that, when he had entered the room, defendant had told him that she didn't do it, it was an accident; that he had asked her what she meant; that she kept saying the same thing over and over that it was an accident. But Jones then testified on further cross-examination that he in fact had told the police officers that defendant had kept saying: "I did it."

Edward Jones testified that on 4 October 1971, sometime after 7 o'clock, he was in the apartment at 120 N. Hermitage, Chicago, Illinois, playing cards with Pinky Henderson, Leo Jones, and Catherine Hendrix. At approximately 7 P.M., Pinky Henderson left the apartment. Thereafter, he heard a popping sound similar to a firecracker. Catherine Hendrix checked to see if her children had made the sound but they said they hadn't. Catherine then said: "It's too quiet back there", referring to the room in which defendant and deceased were, and she asked Leo Jones to go back and check. Leo Jones then went into the back bedroom and returned stating that defendant had shot Brewer. The witness went into the back bedroom and saw Brewer lying on the bed. Prior to the shooting, defendant and Brewer had exchanged some words.

Pinky Henderson testified that on 4 October 1971, she was at the apartment of Catherine Hendrix at 120 N. Hermitage, Chicago, Illinois, playing cards with Catherine Hendrix, Leo Jones, and Edward Jones. Shortly before 7 P.M., she left the apartment. She returned to the apartment approximately 1 hour later and there were police officers present at that time.

Dr. Jerry Kearns, a pathologist for the Coroner of Cook County, testified that, on 5 October 1971, he conducted a pathological examination on the body of Ezekiel Brewer. The cause of death of Ezekiel Brewer was a bullet wound of the head and brain. There were no powder burns on the deceased, which indicated he had been shot from a distance of beyond 3 feet.

Lorraine Reed, defendant, testified in her own behalf that she had known Ezekiel Brewer for 4 or 5 years. She has a child, the father of whom is Ezekiel Brewer. On 4 October 1971, she had a conversation with Brewer, who asked if he could keep the child until she went back to Kansas and picked up her other children. She agreed to this procedure. Defendant testified that she then went into the back bedroom to lie down. The next thing she remembered was when the police woke her up. At that time Leo Jones was saying that she had said she killed Ezekiel Brewer. She testified that she did not tell Leo Jones that she threw the pistol out the window. Defendant denied ever shooting Ezekiel Brewer.

Leo Jones was called to testify for the defense. He testified that during his lifetime he had seen several instances of unusual or abnormal behavior by defendant. Defendant would go out of the house without shoes or a coat and walk 15 blocks during the winter. She would not pay her bills. Defendant has nine children, one of whom is in a mental institution in the State of Kansas, and a second of whom has recently been in a mental institution.

Defendant made an offer of proof that, if Ruby Bynum were called to testify, she would state that the grandfather of defendant had been placed in a mental institution, where he died. Further, a child of defendant is presently hospitalized in a mental institution in the State of Kansas, and another child of defendant had recently been hospitalized in a mental institution. She had observed defendant throughout her entire life and observed conduct on the part of defendant that was unusual. In her opinion, there were times when defendant did not know the difference between right and wrong.

In rebuttal, Thomas O'Halleran, a Chicago police investigator, testified that on 4 October 1971, he was assigned to investigate the shooting of Ezekiel Brewer. He interviewed defendant that evening for a period of approximately 3 hours, first for a short time at the apartment and then at the police station. During the entire interviw, defendant was coherent and answered all questions in an intelligent and responsive manner.

Also in rebuttal, Robert Reifman, a psychiatrist, testified that he is the assistant director of the Psychiatric Institute of the Circuit Court of Cook County. On 20 January 1972, he had examined defendant, and in his opinion defendant was legally sane at the time of the alleged offense.

Defendant's first contention is that the evidence was insufficient to establish her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendant urges that the evidence did not demonstrate that she killed Ezekiel Brewer wilfully and voluntarily, since the only link to her shooting of the deceased was her own admission that she did ...


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