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People v. St. Pierre

JANUARY 22, 1975.

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

v.

CLAYTON ST. PIERRE ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES M. BAILEY, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE JOHNSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendants were convicted of murder after a jury trial. Clayton St. Pierre was sentenced to a term of 20 to 40 years and Michael Wood was sentenced to a term of 14 to 28 years in the penitentiary. Donald Denic, who was indicted for murder and tried with the defendants, was found not guilty.

The following issues are raised on appeal: Whether the court erred in refusing defendants' request for an accomplice instruction; whether the court erred in submitting an improper instruction to the jury on the elements of proof necessary to find Michael Wood guilty of murder; whether the defendants were denied the effective assistance of counsel guaranteed them under the sixth amendment of the constitution by incompetence and conflict of interest on the part of their attorneys; whether the evidence was sufficient to establish defendants' guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; whether Michael Wood was denied equal protection of the law by section 2-7 of the Juvenile Court Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 37, par. 702-7(1)) which provides that no boy under the age of 17 or girl under the age of 18 may be prosecuted for an offense under the laws of this state.

Larry Bolton, the State's first witness, testified that at around 2 A.M. on the morning in question, he met Michael Wood, his roommate, at the corner of Buena and Broadway in Chicago. They talked and Michael told Larry to return to their apartment to get Clayton St. Pierre. Michael, however, failed to explain why he wanted St. Pierre.

Larry followed Michael's instructions and returned to his apartment, at 849 West Buena, where he met Jean Ellis, Charles Wood, Clayton St. Pierre, and Donald Denic. Larry told St. Pierre that Michael wanted to see him. St. Pierre walked to the kitchen, took a knife from the cabinet, and put the knife in his pocket. Larry advised St. Pierre that he did not need a knife but St. Pierre did not respond. Denic, St. Pierre, Larry Bolton, and Charles Wood left the apartment and walked back toward Broadway where they met Michael Wood. Michael explained to the group that someone had called his mother "a whore." The group split up, Charles Wood and Larry Bolton proceeded through the alley, and the three defendants proceeded down Broadway.

When Larry Bolton reached the corner of Sheridan and Broadway a fight was in progress. Michael Wood, Donald Denic, and Clayton St. Pierre had surrounded Jim Hawkins, the deceased, and punches were being thrown. Larry Bolton yelled "pigs" and looked for the police, but he didn't see any. When he turned back to the fight, he noticed that Mr. Hawkins was on the ground and he saw St. Pierre stab him.

Then, a car sitting on Sheridan Road began blowing its horn. Denic and St. Pierre ran by Larry, but Michael Wood walked towards him. He was helping his brother, Charles Wood, who had hurt his knee during the fight. Michael showed Larry a bloody knife and told him to take it, but Larry refused. Larry testified that the knife in Michael Wood's possession was not the same knife that he saw St. Pierre take from their kitchen.

Larry Bolton returned to his apartment. Denic and St. Pierre arrived shortly thereafter, at which time Larry noticed a bloody knife sitting on the kitchen table. Then Michael Wood arrived and asked St. Pierre what he did with his knife. St. Pierre told him that it was in the kitchen sink. Michael Wood stated that he had buried his.

Investigator Toenings testified that he had a conversation with Donald Denic at the police station after Denic's arrest. Denic first denied having any knowledge of the murder, but he later admitted that he had been recruited by Michael Wood to look for a man that insulted Wood's mother. When the trio saw the man on the street later that evening, Denic stated that he saw Clayton St. Pierre stab the man twice.

Patrick Brogan, a Chicago police officer, testifying for the defense, stated that he first saw Mr. Hawkins, the deceased at 1 o'clock on the 18th of October. Officer Brogan testified that he noticed, while talking to Hawkins, that he had a cut in the center of his forehead.

Sergeant Gegner testified that he encountered Hawkins at approximately 11:45 P.M. at the corner of Buena and Broadway. The officer stopped because Mr. Hawkins appeared injured; he suffered from a head or forehead injury. Sergeant Gegner transported Mr. Hawkins to American Hospital where he received medical treatment. When Sergeant Gegner encountered Mr. Hawkins at 2:15 A.M. on October 18, 1972, he was seriously injured and unable to talk.

Mrs. Ruth Wood was the third witness for the defense. She first met Mr. Hawkins at 9 P.M. the corner of Buena and Broadway. Mrs. Wood stated that Mr. Hawkins grabbed her arm and made an illicit proposition to her. However, she pulled away from him and crossed the street. At about 11 P.M. that same evening, Mrs. Wood encountered Mr. Hawkins once again on Buena. She testified that the decedent was talking with three unidentified Negroes. The man was holding a shiny object in his hand. Mrs. Wood entered Broadway Liquors and shortly thereafter Hawkins entered the store, bleeding from a wound on his head. He had a shiny blade in his possession.

Bobby Quintello testified that he was tending bar at 4200 North Broadway. At approximately 8 P.M. that evening, a man, identified by the witness as the deceased, entered the liquor store, went into the washroom, and left. Shortly thereafter, around 9 P.M., the man returned and requested a beer. He was denied service because he appeared to be slightly intoxicated. Bobby Quintello noticed that he was bleeding very badly from a head wound. When Quintello asked the patron to leave and he refused, the police were summoned and they escorted Mr. Hawkins from the premises.

Clayton St. Pierre, the last witness for the defense, testified that at approximately 2 A.M. Larry Bolton entered the apartment and told him that Michael Wood was looking for him. St. Pierre stated that he went to the kitchen, selected a knife from the cabinet and placed it up his sleeve. Then St. Pierre left the apartment, along with the other people who were there, and they met Michael Wood at the corner of Buena and Broadway. Michael Wood told the group that he wanted to talk to the man who had called his mother a whore. Michael Wood, Donald Denic, and Clayton St. Pierre ran to Broadway and Sheridan where they met Hawkins. Michael Wood and Hawkins talked for a few minutes. A fight ensued, and St. Pierre saw Mr. Hawkins approaching him with something shiny in his hand. Mr. Hawkins grabbed St. Pierre, and they wrestled on the ground. Then, St. ...


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