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People v. Howard

NOVEMBER 14, 1975.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. FRANK J. WILSON, Judge, presiding.


Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of the murder of William Young in violation of section 9-1 of the Criminal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 9-1) and was sentenced to 150 to 200 years in the penitentiary. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred when it: (1) denied his motions to dismiss and to sever; (2) found that he had been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (3) restricted his cross-examination; (4) admitted evidence concerning the death of one of the witnesses; and (5) allowed the State to make improper remarks during opening and closing arguments.

Defendant was arrested for the murder of William "Pooky" Young on March 16, 1973. The trial court tolled defendant's 120-day term on July 3, 1973, on motion of defendant when his attorney, Sheldon Banks, failed to answer ready for trial. The case had been continued on motion of the State from June 26, 1973, to July 2, 1973. Banks was notified that the case would be continued until July 3 due to a death in the judge's family. Thereupon, on two separate occasions, Banks notified the State's Attorney's office that he could not be in court until 12:30 p.m. on July 3 due to pending matters in another court. At 10:45 a.m. on July 3, the trial court tolled defendant's term when Banks failed to answer ready for trial. At noon, the judge again called the case, but Banks still had not appeared. There is nothing in the record to indicate that Banks ever did arrive in the courtroom that day. On September 17, 1973, defendant moved to dismiss the charge under the mandatory 120-day provision of section 103-5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 103-5.) The trial court denied that motion, and the case eventually went to trial on October 29, 1973.

At trial, the following evidence pertinent to this appeal was adduced.

For the State:

William Fields

He lives at 6815 South Union in Chicago. He heard a car stop in the alley behind his apartment at approximately 8:30 p.m. on February 26, 1973. The car pulled away after three or four shots were fired. He saw a body lying in the alley and called the police.

The pathologist's report, entered into evidence by stipulation of the parties, established that William Young had been shot six times in the head and once in the arm.

Larry Leverston

He was a member, along with defendant and co-defendant Larry Hoover, of a street gang known as the Family. The top position in this gang was held by Hoover. On or about February 21, 1973, he was at a meeting along with ten or eleven other individuals, including defendant and Hoover when Hoover ordered the execution of William Young (also known as "Pooky") and Joshua Shaw for withholding money from the sale of drugs from the gang. At another meeting he attended on February 26, 1973, at approximately 10 p.m. Hoover stated that "they had gotten Pooky and threw him in the alley around 68th and Lowe and shot him in the head." Defendant pulled a gun from his holster and said "this is the way we take care of business." Defendant told him that they located Young around the Kennedy-King College campus, held him for a few hours, and then took him to an alley where they shot him in the head. On cross-examination, he admitted that he was currently charged with murder. The trial court sustained State's objections to defense questions on whether he had been indicted, whether he was incarcerated on other charges, and whether he would get favorable treatment for testifying for the State.

James Hogan

He is an investigator with the Chicago Police Department. He interviewed Joshua Shaw in the emergency room at St. Bernard's Hospital two days after the Young homicide. Shaw had been shot six times. Later, he returned to the hospital and took a statement from Shaw which placed defendant with Young at Kennedy-King College on the date of Young's murder. He also interviewed defendant. Defendant first denied that he had seen Young on February 26. When confronted with Shaw's statement, defendant admitted bringing Young to the Roberts Motel on February 26, 1973, at Hoover's request, and then releasing him when Young said he did not want to see Hoover. He also took a statement from Hoover in which Hoover denied ever receiving a phone call from defendant on February 26, 1973.

Anthony Salerno

He is a Chicago police officer. On September 27, 1973, he responded to a police call and found the body of Joshua Shaw in an alley behind 6531 South Bishop. He felt no pulse or heartbeat. He "picked up Shaw's head, which was laying in a pool of blood." Over defense objections, he stated that he discovered ...

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