APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. FRANK
J. WILSON, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE ADESKO DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Following a jury trial defendant was convicted along with co-defendant Andrew Howard of murdering one William "Pooky" Young and was sentenced to a term of 150 to 200 years' imprisonment. On appeal defendant contends that the trial court erred when it:
(1) Denied his motion for a severance based on admission of a post-arrest statement of the co-defendant;
(2) Admitted evidence concerning the death of one of the witnesses and that witness' testimony;
(3) Restricted cross-examination of a witness;
(4) Gave instructions regarding a conspiracy;
(5) Admitted evidence of other crimes;
(6) Allowed the State to make improper remarks during opening and closing arguments.
In addition, defendant asserts that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
On February 26, 1973, at approximately 8 p.m., a witness heard a car stop in the alley behind his apartment. The car pulled away after three or four shots were fired. This witness then saw a body lying in the alley and called the police. The victim, William Young, had been shot six times in the head and once in the arm.
The State's witness, Larry Leverston, testified that the killing of William Young had been ordered by defendant who with Leverston, defendant Hoover, and co-defendant Andrew Howard had all been members of an organization known as "the Family," which sold narcotics in the Englewood area of Chicago. Defendant, known as "King Hoover," was the leader of "the Family." On or about February 21, 1973, the three were all present at a meeting of ten or eleven members of "the Family." During the meeting defendant ordered the execution of William Young, Joel Ford, Joshua Shaw, and Tony Tucker for sticking up one of his dope houses. At another meeting Leverston attended on February 26, 1973, defendant stated that "he had gotten one of the guys that they was [sic] after and he wanted the other two, Josh Shaw, Tony Tucker killed also before the week was out." Defendant further stated "they had gotten Pookey and threw him in the alley around 68th and Lowe and shot him in the head." On cross-examination Leverston admitted that he was currently charged with murder. The trial court, however, sustained the State's objections to defense questions on whether Leverston had been indicted, whether he was incarcerated on other charges, and whether he was promised favorable treatment for testifying for the State.
Certain evidence was introduced at trial which applied particularly to co-defendant Howard. At Howard's preliminary hearing, before defendant had been arrested, Shaw's testimony placed Howard with Young on February 16, 1973. Howard had told a companion to shoot if Young tried to run. Further testimony revealed that Shaw had been shot to death on September 27, 1973. The transcript of Shaw's testimony at the preliminary hearing was thus read to the jury at the trial with certain references to defendant stricken. The court also instructed the jury not to consider Shaw's testimony against defendant.
Howard admitted after his arrest that at defendant's request he brought Young to the Roberts Motel on February 26, 1973, and then released him when Young said he did not want to see defendant. The court instructed the jury that "an admission may not be considered by you against any defendant other than the one who made it."
After the jury had been impanelled, defense counsel moved for a severance based on certain police reports he claimed he had received just before trial. ...