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People v. Washington

FEBRUARY 13, 1975.

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

v.

JAMES WASHINGTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EARL E. STRAYHORN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE ADESKO DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendant, James Washington, was indicted for the murder of Glen Williams and in a bench trial he was found guilty. He was sentenced to a term of not less than 20 nor more than 30 years in the State penitentiary. Defendant now appeals and maintains that the trial court erred in not granting his motion to suppress a statement he made to the police and that the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We do not agree.

There is no question in this case but that the defendant shot and killed Glen Williams. The State's theory of the shooting is that it constitutes the offense of murder, while the defendant maintains that he acted in self-defense.

At trial, Officer Boleslaw Filipiak of the Chicago Police Department testified that on June 30, 1972, he was assigned to investigate a shooting that had occurred at 1142 E. 63rd Street. Officer Filipiak and two other policemen received a communication that a suspect had been chased into an apartment building at 6213 S. Greenwood, and they proceeded to that address. Upon arriving at 6213 S. Greenwood, Officer Filipiak entered a first-floor apartment that was occupied by Minnie Williams. After Officer Filipiak spoke with Minnie Williams for approximately 20 minutes, she led him and the other policemen present down to the basement of the apartment building. She unlocked the basement door, entered and came out with the defendant.

Officer Filipiak testified that as soon as the defendant came out of the basement, he asked, "Is he dead?" Officer Filipiak then stated that he advised the defendant of his constitutional rights and that defendant asked again, "Is he dead?", and Officer Filipiak responded, "Yes, he is." The defendant was then transported to a police station.

The next witness to testify on behalf of the State was Investigator Anthony Katalinic of the Chicago Police Department. Investigator Katalinic testified that on June 30, 1972, at approximately 6:55 P.M., he responded to a call that a man had been shot on the street at 1142 E. 63rd. Upon arriving at the scene, Investigator Katalinic observed a man lying in the street in a large pool of blood. It was determined that the man was dead and that his name was Glen Williams. Investigator Katalinic left the scene of the shooting and went to the Woodlawn Hospital to note the injury to the victim. While at the hospital, Investigator Katalinic was advised that the defendant, James Washington, had been taken into custody. Officer Katalinic then proceeded to area 2 homicide.

At area 2 homicide Investigator Katalinic informed the defendant of his constitutional rights and asked him if he wanted to make a statement. Investigator Katalinic testified that the defendant stated that he did not wish to make a statement. The assistant State's attorney then asked the following question, and Investigator Katalinic gave the following response:

"Q. And subsequent to that time was anything said in your presence in the presence of James E. Washington?

A. Yes, James Washington stated that the deceased and his other friend had been bothering him and harassing him and that they had taken his car. He stated, `Yes, I shot him.'"

Investigator Katalinic testified this statement was not made in response to any questioning of the defendant by himself or any other police officers.

The next witness called by the State was George Williams, the brother of the victim. He stated that on June 30, 1972, at approximately 7 P.M., he and his brother Glen Williams and a friend by the name of Leon Ferguson were walking down 63rd and University. Williams stated that he and Ferguson were walking together and that Glen was about 10 feet ahead of them. Williams testified that he saw a man approach whom he knew as "Fats" and made an in-court identification of the man as the defendant, James Washington. Williams stated that he saw the defendant pull out a shotgun and fire at the back of Glen Williams. According to Williams, Glen fell off the curb, and then the defendant ran up behind him and fired again. Williams and Leon Ferguson chased the defendant and saw him enter an apartment building at 6213 S. Greenwood. They then returned to the scene of the shooting and encountered two policemen. Williams told them where defendant had fled. Williams was then taken to the Woodlawn hospital and then to area 2 homicide. He testified that while at area 2 homicide he saw the police bring in the defendant.

The defense called Benita McNeal, the sister of the defendant, and she testified that the deceased Glen Williams, his brother George Williams and several other men frequented the house of the defendant several times during the month preceding the shooting. She stated that the deceased, his brother George and the other men came to the defendant's house armed and looking for the defendant. She testified that on one of these visits, Glen Williams told her and her sister-in-law, Minnie, that if they did not tell him where the defendant was, he and the other men would kill them. Mrs. McNeal stated that he repeatedly reported this harassment and intimidation to the police department.

The defendant testified on his own behalf and stated that be shot Glen Williams only after Glen Williams fired at him with a .22-caliber revolver. The defendant testified that this bullet struck him in his right palm between his first finger and thumb. According to defendant, Glen and George Williams and several other men harassed him and his wife on several occasions during the month preceding the shooting. Defendant testified that the deceased made demands for money to him and threatened to kill defendant if he did not meet those demands. After the shooting, defendant ran from the scene and stated that he was being chased by about 20 men. He testified that he was carrying a shotgun on the date in question because his life had been threatened. Defendant also stated the wound on his right hand was not treated until July 1 at the Cook County Jail. It was stipulated between the State and defense that on July 1, 1972, defendant was treated in the Cook County Jail for an abrasion to the right hand.

In rebuttal, George Williams testified that during the month of June, 1972, he did not go to the defendant's apartment and have a conversation with the defendant's wife. He also stated that he never saw his brother go to the defendant's apartment and engage in a conversation with the defendant's wife. Williams denied that he knew the defendant's sister, Benita ...


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