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People v. Daniels





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


Following a jury trial, defendants Ernest Terry and Roosevelt Daniels were convicted of murder and armed robbery. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, pars. 9-1 and 18-2.) They were respectively sentenced to terms of 50-100 and 75-150 years for the murder, and to concurrent terms of 10-30 years for the armed robbery. Defendant Curtis Akins was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to one term of 10-30 years. On appeal, they contend that the trial court erred when it refused to allow the testimony of a previously undisclosed witness, and that they were denied the effective assistance of counsel. Additionally, Akins and Terry contend that they were not convicted beyond a reasonable doubt; Daniels and Terry contend that they were denied a fair trial by the prosecutor's closing argument; and Terry contends that he was improperly arrested, that certain identification procedures were impermissibly suggestive and that his sentence was excessive.

The following pertinent facts were adduced at trial.

For the State

Andrew Williams

He sold narcotics and used them three or four times a week. On January 10, 1975, at approximately 9 a.m., he went to Curtis Akins' residence at 331 South Bell in Chicago to purchase narcotics. Defendants Daniels and Akins were on the scene when he arrived, and other people, including defendant Ernest Terry and Michael Coleman arrived shortly thereafter. After Daniels asked Coleman about some money, Daniels told Terry and another man to take Coleman to the back porch. Daniels and the other men went to the porch and closed the door, and Williams heard some "hollering" and "a whole lot of talking." Akins said that he was "going out there to see if he can [sic] get something," and went out to the porch. As Akins opened the door, Williams saw Terry, Daniels and the other man kicking and beating Coleman, who was lying on the floor. Daniels had a board, and one of the other men had a pipe. Although the porch door was closed again, he heard Daniels continue to ask Coleman about money. Akins returned, showed Williams a watch, and said he was going to "see if he could get something else." Akins then went back to the porch. As Akins opened the door, Williams again saw that Coleman was on the floor surrounded by the others, and heard that Daniels was asking about money. He saw that Coleman was moving, but did not hear him say anything. Williams then left the apartment. He first told a police officer what he had seen when he spoke to Officer Tom Kinsella in May of 1975.

On cross-examination, he acknowledged that the porch door was opened each time for three to five seconds and that he never went out on the back porch. He admitted that although he worked for Kinsella as a paid police informant from January to May and saw him at least once a week during that period, he did not tell Kinsella about the incident until May of 1975. He admitted that he never saw Akins take or remove anything from Michael Coleman.

Mrs. Cornelius Cowens

On January 10, 1975, she lived on the second floor of an apartment building at 5106 West Van Buren. Her grandson Michael Coleman lived with his family on the first floor. At approximately 8 a.m. Michael was in her apartment and, after using her phone, he left. At approximately 11 a.m. she received another phone call from an unidentified caller who said, "if you don't get $60, Michael Coleman will be dead." About half an hour later, she saw Michael "in the bed" after "they had brought him home." After calling an ambulance for him, she gave $60 to Maurice Coleman, Michael's younger brother. Maurice went outside, and when she looked out the window, she saw a man sitting in an old white car. She later accompanied Michael to Loretto Hospital.

On cross-examination she acknowledged that she could not recognize the individual sitting in the white car. She also acknowledged that Michael Coleman did not tell her that defendants Daniels, Terry or Akins beat him up.

Maurice Coleman

At 11:15 a.m. on January 10, 1975, he talked with his grandmother about a phone call she had received. About 45 minutes later, an old white car pulled up in front of their residence and his brother Michael staggered out. After he helped Michael inside, his grandmother gave him $60. He went outside to the car and handed the money through an opened window to one of the two men sitting in the car. When he went to the police station the next day to view a lineup, he saw a car parked across the street from the station. It was the same car his brother had staggered out of. He went inside the station, viewed a five or six man lineup, and identified Ernest Terry as the man who had accepted the $60.

On cross-examination he acknowledged that he did not tell the police that the white car had a broken taillight. He estimated that he looked into the car and at Terry for about 30 seconds. He acknowledged that on January 10, 1975, he only described Terry to the police as a black male with a mustache and combed-back hair, and that when ...

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