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People v. Baske





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES M. BAILEY, Judge, presiding.


This is an appeal from a judgment of the circuit court of Cook County convicting the defendant, Richard M. Baske, of murder and burglary. After a jury trial and the judgment of conviction the court sentenced the defendant to a period of not less than 100 nor more than 300 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary.

The issues presented for review are (1) whether the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress statements; (2) whether the court erred in finding police officers properly searched pursuant to consent given by defendant's parents; and (3) whether the defendant was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The defendant was arrested and charged by indictment with the offense of murder in violation of section 9-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 9-1) and with the offense of burglary in violation of section 19-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 19-1). After a jury trial the defendant was found guilty of both offenses. From the judgment of conviction the defendant has taken this appeal. Prior to the jury trial, the defendant filed motions to quash his arrest, suppress evidence illegally seized and suppress statements. The hearings on these motions were conducted simultaneously and denied.

At the hearing on the motions, Investigator Daniel Fitzgerald testified he was assigned to investigate the homicide of Lorretta Hoppe. At 7:15 a.m. he proceeded to Holy Cross Hospital and examined the body of Lorretta Hoppe. The body was partially burned and contained multiple stab wounds.

Investigator Fitzgerald proceeded with the investigation by having a conversation with Officer Paluch. Officer Paluch told him where the fire and homicide had occurred, and gave Investigator Fitzgerald a wallet he had recovered from the scene. This wallet was found in front of the victim's house on the top of the front bushes. The wallet contained papers and identification belonging to Robert Stevenson.

Investigator Fitzgerald proceeded to the home of Robert Stevenson with other officers. They questioned Robert Stevenson about his wallet. He told them the wallet was his and on February 15th his car was broken into and his tape deck and wallet were missing. Mr. Stevenson said he thought Gary Gambera or Richard Baske could possibly be guilty of the theft.

Investigator Fitzgerald continued to the home of the defendant, Richard Baske, at 2229 West 72nd Street, and spoke with the defendant's parents. They did not know if their son Richard was home. The Baskes then went downstairs and returned with the defendant. Investigator Fitzgerald questioned the defendant. The defendant told him he had been out drinking and he returned home between 2 and 3 in the morning. Baske stated he did recall hearing the fire engines and fire sirens but that was all he knew about it.

Investigator Fitzgerald and the defendant went downstairs to the basement and the defendant pointed out a brown army field jacket as being his. Investigator Fitzgerald smelled the jacket and stated it smelled of smoke. The defendant then told Fitzgerald he got dressed when he heard the fire engine and he went to the corner to watch the fire with the neighbors. The defendant also stated at one point he opened the door so a stretcher could be removed. The defendant was then placed under arrest.

The defendant was transported to Area Police Headquarters and Sergeant Owen advised the defendant he had become a suspect in the death of Mrs. Hoppe and also advised the defendant of his rights which he read from a card. The defendant indicated he understood his rights.

Investigator Fitzgerald questioned the defendant in the interview room of Police Headquarters. The defendant stated he was not involved and he would take a lie detector test. Investigators Barrett and Bamberger transported the defendant to 11th and State Police Central Headquarters to take a polygraph test. Later, Investigator Fitzgerald received a phone call from these investigators and Fitzgerald was told that the defendant Baske had confessed his part in the crime.

After the polygraph test, the defendant was brought back to 39th and California and again questioned by Investigator Fitzgerald. The defendant was asked what he had said downtown and he gave a statement, which he signed.

The defendant named Michael Leonard in his statement as an accomplice, and Investigator Fitzgerald spoke with Michael Leonard, who denied participation in the offense. He stated he was at work all night. Leonard also gave the police the names of two persons that he worked with. These two people were contacted and they stated Leonard had been with them all evening. Investigator Fitzgerald then told the defendant Leonard seemed to have an airtight alibi. The defendant then stated it was not Michael Leonard but Gary Gambera.

The next witness for the People was Assistant State's Attorney James Klein. His testimony substantiated Investigator Fitzgerald's testimony.

Joseph Barrett, a homicide investigator, also testified for the People. Barrett was assigned to investigate the homicide of Mrs. Lorretta Hoppe. Investigator Barrett and his Investigator Bamberger transported the defendant to the crime lab at 11th and State.

After the polygraph test had been given, Barrett told the defendant he had failed the test.

On March 25, 1974, at 5 p.m., Investigators Barrett and Bamberger went to the defendant's home and asked Mrs. Baske if they could look through the personal effects of the defendant. Mrs. Baske stated they could look in the area where her son lived, in the basement of their home. Barrett and Bamberger then went down into the basement. They searched the basement and Bamberger found a hunting knife in a sheath.

Dorothy Baske, the mother of the defendant, testified this knife was usually kept in the tool room. Her husband used the knife to strip coating off a wire. Mrs. Baske did not know if Richard used the knife to strip coating off a wire or if Richard used the knife.

The defendant, Richard Baske, also testified at the suppression hearing. On direct examination Baske stated that from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 22, 1974, he was drinking with a friend.

At 7 p.m. the defendant was at the Fairfield Lounge and remained there until closing at 2 a.m., while drinking continually during that time, before going home.

On cross-examination the defendant stated he was still able to walk out of the tavern at 2 a.m. He stated he remembered walking home.

At 7 p.m. on March 22, 1974, the defendant was at the Fairfield Lounge where he had 15 drinks by 10 p.m.

Although the defendant stated he never left the house from 3 a.m. until 9 a.m. on the 23rd of March, he also stated he did leave his house and went to a restaurant on 71st and Western. He thought it was around 7 a.m. and he was heading back to the Fairfield Lounge to get his wallet. He stopped and had breakfast at 5 J's Restaurant. He stayed in the restaurant about 10 minutes and walked home past Mrs. Hoppe's house. He was not sure if the fire engines were there then or later on, after he had been at home and went back out. The defendant talked to his neighbors at the scene of the fire, and opened the door for the ambulance drivers.

Emmett Smith, a court reporter, also testified for the People. Smith recorded the statement of the defendant Baske at Area Headquarters. Smith did not notice anything unusual about the defendant. There were no conversations with the defendant off the record. The defendant was responsive to the ...

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