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People v. Jackson





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. LOUIS B. GARIPPO, Judge, presiding.


After a bench trial, Prentiss Jackson (defendant) was found guilty of aggravated battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 38, § 12-4) and not guilty of attempted murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 38, § 8-4). The trial judge sentenced him to a term of 3 to 9 years in the penitentiary. Defendant appeals, presenting two issues for review: (1) whether the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant caused the injury complained of; and (2) whether the State failed to carry its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant was not acting in self-defense.

On June 27, 1973, at approximately 5:30 p.m., Mrs. Birdie Billingslea was shot while crossing Madison Street between Oakley Street and Western Avenue in Chicago. She sustained injuries which required intensive care for about 27 days and further hospitalization for another month. The facts surrounding the incident were in dispute.

Mrs. Billingslea testified that immediately prior to being shot, she had left a laundromat on West Madison Street and was headed for her car which was parked on the opposite side of Madison. After reaching the middle of the street, she heard shots, was hit by a bullet and fell to the ground. The witness did not know in which direction she was facing when hit or from which direction the bullet came. She did not see anybody shooting a gun.

Officer Robert Loughran testified that he and his partner, Officer Callaghan, were on duty in an unmarked car on June 27, 1973. At approximately 5:30 p.m. they were waiting at a traffic signal at the intersection of Oakley and Madison Streets in Chicago. The officer heard a few shots being fired directly in front of them on Madison and observed a car traveling in their direction. When the car was directly across from an individual identified as defendant, he pulled out a gun and fired several shots at it. The car continued proceeding eastbound on Madison as the shots were fired.

Officer Loughran further testified that they then proceeded, and were about in the middle of the intersection when he first observed a woman, identified as Mrs. Billingslea, walking diagonally across Madison from north to south. She was to the left of defendant between him and the officers. Officer Loughran then saw two final shots being fired, the last of which struck Mrs. Billingslea, and saw her fall to the ground. At that time no other shots were being fired. They went to Mrs. Billingslea's aid and called for assistance.

While with Mrs. Billingslea, the witness observed defendant walk west on Madison and get into a Cadillac automobile. He stopped briefly at the intersection of Western and Madison for a traffic light and then turned south on Western. Both officers entered their car to pursue and pulled him over near 100 South Western shortly thereafter. Defendant, the sole occupant of the car, was placed under arrest, advised of his Miranda rights, and put into the police car. Officer Loughran drove the Cadillac and his partner drove the squad car back to the scene and then to the police station.

Loughran searched the Cadillac for a weapon and recovered a loaded gun with six spent shells from a false plate in the dashboard. He went into the office and informed his partner. At this time, Loughran testified, defendant stated, "Well, I guess you got me," and "Well, am I in a lot of trouble?" The officer replied that he presumed so since the woman was about 65 years old and in serious condition. Defendant answered, "Well, I didn't mean to shoot her. I was shooting at the car."

On cross-examination, the witness testified that no artificial street lighting was required because it was still bright at 5:30 p.m. He saw Mrs. Billingslea fall after the last shots were fired and concluded that it was the same bullet that inflicted the injury. However, he admitted not knowing if the bullet which wounded her had been from one of the shots previously fired. He also conceded that the police report concerning the incident did not indicate that any oral or formal statement was taken.

No ballistics tests or fingerprint dust of the weapon was conducted. A vehicle registration check showed that the car did not belong to defendant.

Officer John Callaghan testified that defendant was firing a gun in an easterly direction on Madison Street about 50 yards from the intersection when he first observed him. He then noticed a woman with a grocery bag crossing Madison from north to south in a southeasterly direction. After defendant fired the last shot, the woman, identified as Mrs. Billingslea, fell to the ground, approximately 40 feet from defendant. The officers, at this time, were pulling through the intersection and were estimated to be about 30 feet closer to defendant.

The witness testified that while defendant was in their office at the station, his partner entered with the gun. Defendant then stated, "Well, I guess I'm in trouble now," and asked whether the woman was alive. On cross-examination, the officer admitted that the case report did not indicate an oral statement had been made. He also could not testify whether Mrs. Billingslea had been shot at a prior time, walked along, and just stumbled.

Bernard Johnson, a witness on behalf of defendant, stated that on June 27, 1973, he and Prentiss Jackson were coming from the south side en route to his girl friend's house on the west side. The car in which they were riding belonged to Bobby Long. The two decided to stop at a hot dog stand at Western and Madison. Defendant went into the stand to order while Johnson stood outside talking with five or six other persons who were standing in front of a funeral home about two doors away. When the shooting started, Johnson ran into the funeral home and then ran into the hot dog stand to tell defendant that they should leave. Defendant paid for the hot dogs and they returned to the car and drove off.

A policeman, identified as Officer Loughran, stopped the car, ordered them to exit and searched their persons but found nothing. At that point, another officer, identified as Callaghan, drove up with an individual who pointed to defendant and said, "That's the boy right there." The police then put defendant into an unmarked car and drove away. Another officer took the Cadillac. The witness ...

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