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People v. Rowe

OPINION FILED JANUARY 28, 1977.

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

v.

ROBERT L. ROWE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. LOUIS WEXLER, Judge, presiding. MR. JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a bench trial, defendant was convicted of murder in violation of section 9-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 9-1) and sentenced to 14 years to 14 years and one day. On appeal he contends: (1) the trial court erroneously precluded him from testifying as to his state of mind at the time he shot the victim, and (2) he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

At trial the following pertinent facts were adduced.

For the State:

Nathan McCain

On June 8, 1974, he and another man were standing, talking on the northwest corner of 79th and May Streets. The weather was "nice," but hot and humid. "It was kind of light; kind of like haze, sunnylike." While they were talking, he noticed two men walking north on May. Defendant "looks like" one of the men. Fifteen to twenty feet behind the two men, also walking north, was a third man, later identified as Terry Grafton. Two teenagers were with Grafton. Defendant and his companion stopped at the alley. Defendant turned and walked back towards Grafton. The two men stopped within 2 1/2 feet of each other. He was about 100 feet away and no one stood between himself and the men. Defendant faced him, while Grafton had his back to him. He saw nothing in Grafton's hands and heard nothing said. Defendant pulled a gun from his right front pants pocket, pointed the gun at Grafton's head and shot him. Grafton fell immediately. He could still see Grafton's hands, but nothing was in them. Defendant stooped down and looked at Grafton. He then stepped back, put his gun in his pocket, looked around and walked north to the alley, where he rejoined his waiting companion. They both then "trotted west."

On cross-examination he stated that the man he was talking to left to catch a bus at about the time defendant was walking toward Grafton. Although Grafton's back was to him, he could see his hands. They remained at his side. He admitted he could not be sure that defendant was the man he saw, although he looked like him. He did not see defendant or his companion come from any building. Although he acknowledged knowing the victim, they were not friends.

On redirect examination he stated that he did not see Grafton's hands above his waist. When Grafton was shot, his arms were at his side.

Eli Smith — Chicago Police Officer

On the afternoon of June 8, 1974, he received a call that a man had been shot at 7848 May. He arrived approximately two minutes later and found a black male with a head wound lying on the sidewalk. There were two or three young people there; however, he saw nothing near or about the body.

Harold Huffman

He is the homicide investigator who was assigned to investigate the shooting of Grafton. On June 9, 1974, he and his partner arrested defendant at his apartment. He informed defendant of his constitutional rights and defendant stated he understood them. Defendant then admitted shooting Grafton and told him that Grafton and two other men had threatened him the previous Friday night at the bar where he worked. Defendant also told him that on the day of the shooting he was walking down the street when Grafton came towards him, "so he took out his gun and went over." Defendant stated he was alone when this occurred.

Upon reaching headquarters he requested a written statement from defendant, to which defendant agreed. This time defendant told him he had been on the street when Grafton, whom he had never seen before, came up to him, pulled a knife, and requested a match. Defendant said he then shot him. Both he and his partner heard this statement, which he typed up. Defendant read it, admitted it was true, but refused to sign it.

On cross-examination he insisted defendant did not use the word "accidentally." However, defendant did ...


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