APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. MATTHEW
J. MORAN, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE STAMOS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Defendant, Feiruz Szabo, was charged by indictment with the offenses of aggravated battery and attempt murder in connection with an assault upon her husband's paramour, Patricia Massey. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, pars. 8-4, 12-4.) Upon a jury trial, defendant was found to be guilty of the offense of reckless conduct. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 12-5.) Judgment was entered on the verdict and defendant was sentenced to serve a term of confinement of nine months in the House of Correction.
From entry of the judgment of conviction defendant appeals contending (1) that the trial court erred in permitting the State to adduce testimony establishing that defendant did not make a statement to police immediately following the assault; (2) that she was prejudiced and deprived of a fair trial by the introduction of certain rebuttal testimony establishing that defendant made inconsistent and incriminating statements to the arresting officers; and (3) that the sentence imposed was excessive.
A review of the evidence adduced at trial reveals that on July 24, 1974, Patricia Massey sustained second and third degree burns over her face, torso, arms and legs as the result of being splattered with a pan of scalding cooking grease thrown by defendant Feiruz Szabo. Massey testified that prior to the date of the incident she had been acquainted with defendant and her husband, Peter Szabo; that the Szabo's were living separately; and, that she and defendant's husband had become romantically involved in the interim. On the date in question, defendant drove to Massey's home and informed her that defendant's husband was in jail and was asking for Massey.
Together, defendant and Massey drove to defendant's home in Maywood, Illinois, where, according to Massey, defendant invited her to be seated before a kitchen table located approximately four feet from the stove. Massey observed that defendant removed a skillet from the stove and proceeded to heat a quantity of grease. Defendant also received a telephone call during this time.
According to Massey, defendant thereafter called Massey's name and, when Massey looked up in response, defendant threw the skillet of hot grease on Massey's face. Massey testified that defendant cursed and announced that "she was tired of my messing over her and tired of Pete messing over her and she couldn't stand it anymore." Defendant then produced a length of clothesline and proceeded to beat Massey.
Within several minutes, Maywood police officer John Griffin arrived on the scene and discovered the injured Massey. Massey informed the officer, in defendant's presence, that defendant had thrown hot grease on her. Defendant did not respond to this allegation. Griffin testified that he transported Massey to hospital facilities where she was confined for two months. As a result of her injuries, defendant suffered diminished vision and required skin grafts. According to the treating physician, examination of her wounds indicated that Massey's legs were together at the time the burns were inflicted. Officer Griffin returned to defendant's home and effected her arrest.
Defendant testified in her own behalf and admitted having injured Massey but indicated that her actions were in self-defense. According to defendant, Massey entered the kitchen of her own volition while defendant began to cook a meal and was seated so as to overhear a telephone conversation between defendant and her husband. The conversation escalated into a heated argument. Defendant testified that she heard Massey stand up and scream for defendant to grant her husband a divorce while threatening to "kick my [defendant's] ass." Defendant indicated that she reached for the skillet in order to protect herself and, momentarily forgetting that the pan contained hot grease, threw the contents of the pan in Massey's face.
Defendant also testified that she was in shock when the police arrived on the scene but that she subsequently told the arresting officers the "same things" which she told the jury. In rebuttal, the State adduced the testimony of Officer Griffin to establish that defendant did not inform him that her actions had been inadvertent or in self-defense. On cross-examination by defense counsel, the officer revealed that defendant told him that she had been talking, had become angry and had thrown grease on defendant.
Defendant initially contends that the trial court violated the teachings of Doyle v. Ohio (1976), 426 U.S. 610, 49 L.Ed.2d 91, 96 S.Ct. 2240, in permitting the State to elicit testimony establishing that defendant did not make a statement to police immediately following her assault upon Patricia Massey. In this regard and during its direct examination of Officer Griffin, the State adduced the following:
"Q. * * * After the initial remarks that Patricia Massey made to you, did Feiruz Szabo say anything?
A. I don't recall her saying anything."
No objection was raised to this question by defendant.
Defendant subsequently testified in her own behalf that she inadvertently injured Massey while acting in self-defense. On cross-examination, ...