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People v. Carter





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. PHILIP ROMITI, Judge, presiding.


After a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant, Raymond L. Carter, Jr., was found guilty of murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 38, par. 9-1). Subsequently he was sentenced to a term of 30 to 60 years. The issues for review are: (1) whether defendant was found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; and (2) whether there was a material variance between the indictment and the proof adduced at trial.

We affirm.

Prosecution witnesses established that on March 6, 1973, at about 4 a.m., defendant awakened the occupants of a home directly across the street from 1246 Clinton in Berwyn, Illinois. He told them he was returning home from work and heard a woman screaming in the building across the street and asked them to call the police. Defendant told the officer who responded to the call that, shortly after hearing a woman scream, he saw a man run from the side door of the building. He described the man as being in his mid-20's, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, and having a medium build. He also described that person as having long blond hair with dark roots and that he was wearing a black jacket and dark pants.

While defendant remained outside, the officer went into the building at 1246 Clinton and discovered the body of the victim, Christine Heckmann, age 23, lying on the floor. She was naked from the waist down, her bra was pushed up exposing her breasts and a rug covered the top half of her body. Her clothes were on the floor nearby, and the walls and ceiling were spattered with blood. The victim exhibited some signs of life when the officer arrived, but she was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The police officer then accompanied defendant to his nearby home and asked to use the telephone.

The autopsy report stated death was caused by severe skull fractures and cerebral lacerations resulting from multiple, blunt impacts to the head of the victim. The report also stated there were abrasions on the victim's thighs, as well as scuff marks in that area.

Later the same day, defendant voluntarily answered questions at the police station. A composite sketch of the man defendant said he saw running away from the victim's apartment was made but the description given by defendant was materially different than the description he had first given, and it bore a strong resemblance to defendant. When the discrepancies were called to his attention, defendant stated, "I killed her."

Defendant's confession was taken at 4:45 p.m. on March 6, 1973, little more than 12 hours after the crime was discovered. He stated he was aware of the legal consequences of his statement and that he had received both food and drink when he requested it during the day. He stated he was at a friend's house about 3 hours before leaving about 1 a.m. After walking around, he went to the victim's apartment and found the rear door unlocked. He went inside the living room and found the victim asleep on the couch. He stated she was clothed in a dark-blue blouse and checkered slacks. He hit her repeatedly with his fists and then went blank. When he left her apartment about 3:50 a.m., the victim was lying on the floor naked from the waist down and her bra was pushed up. Her face was puffed up and a rug partially covered her body. He stated he did not remember taking off her clothes or having sexual relations with her, but he could have done so. He admitted he did not see anyone run from the building as he had first told police.

Prior to taking his statement, it was noticed defendant had brown spots that appeared to be dried blood on his pants. His shirt, which was subsequently found in the hamper in his home, also had bloodstains. A laboratory technician testified the stains found on defendant's shirt, on the outside of his pants and on the inside of the crotch area of his pants were Type A blood, the same type as the victim's, and was a type common to approximately 40% of the population. The technician further testified that hair recovered from defendant's clothing was comparable to that of the victim; however, no sperm was found on either the victim's or defendant's clothing, and the ring defendant wore on the little finger of his right hand was not damaged and did not contain any bloodstains.

A search of garbage cans and rooftops in the area failed to disclose the weapon used to inflict the victim's injuries, even after defendant's attorney told police it could be found on a rooftop in a particular block. It was also determined that defendant was about 70 feet from the place he stated he saw the man running from the side door, and the area was illuminated only by two widely separated streetlights. The side door referred to by defendant was locked from the inside.

At trial, defendant's mother testified she was awakened at about 4:30 a.m. on March 6, 1973, and defendant told her there was nothing the matter, but a policeman wanted to use the telephone. Defendant told her he thought he had heard a woman scream and ran into the apartment where he saw the woman lying on the floor. There was blood all over her face, and she looked as if she had been shot in the eye. He said he then ran across the street and told the people there to call the police.

She further testified she went to the police station later the same day at about 6 p.m. and was told defendant was being held for the crime. When she asked him how he was, defendant said, "all right, mom, but I'm all mixed up." He told her he had nothing to eat in the 10 hours he had been there, but was not hungry. When defendant's statement was placed in front of him, she told him not to sign it, and he said he would not.

Defendant testified at trial that after visiting a friend's house he was walking down the street and heard a moaning sound. He walked toward the back of the building and knocked on the door. When there was no answer, he pushed the door open and walked in. The woman was lying on the floor, and he knelt beside her to see if she was alive. He then went across the street and told the police there to call the police.

Defendant testified that when he was being questioned by police he became confused. First, he had denied killing the victim and then told them he did it. He denied the confession was a true account of what happened and he reiterated his denial of the killing. He also denied touching the victim when he knelt down and stated he had not noticed how she was dressed. However, he admitted telling the police about a man running from the apartment even though he conceded there was no such man, and he ...

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