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People v. Martin





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES N. SULLIVAN, Judge, presiding.


At the conclusion of a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant, Freddie Martin, was convicted of burglary (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 19-1), armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 18-2), and the murders of Catherine and Herbert Alferink. He was sentenced to 150 to 450 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the murder of Catherine Alferink, 150 to 450 years for the murder of Herbert Alferink, 20 to 60 years for armed robbery, and 3 to 9 years for burglary, the sentences to run concurrently. We affirm.

The issues presented for review are (1) whether defendant's right to counsel was violated in consequence of his being interviewed outside the presence of his attorney; (2) whether the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to quash a search warrant and in failing to disclose the identity of the informant upon whose statements the warrant was issued; (3) whether the evidence admitted at trial concerning other crimes and occurrences denied defendant his right to be tried only on matters with which he had been charged; (4) whether there was error in refusing to dismiss a juror for cause; (5) whether the trial judge erred in allowing the State to delay examination of physical evidence by the defense and contradicted its own discovery order; (6) whether the prosecuting attorneys' conduct was inflammatory and improperly aroused prejudice against the defendant; (7) whether the court erred in refusing to call a witness as a court's witness; (8) whether the court erred in admitting into evidence a policeman's field contact card; and (9) whether the State failed to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

A warrant for the search of Freddie Martin and the premises of 8840 South May, Chicago, Illinois, was issued on January 18, 1976. The complainant subscribing to the warrant was Officer Nick Graves of the Harvey, Illinois, Police Department. In his complaint, Officer Graves alleged he had been informed by a citizen that Freddie Martin was responsible for the murders of Herbert and Catherine Alferink 2 days earlier and of the murder of another unidentified man 3 weeks before that. Officer Graves was also advised that a land deed, made out to Herbert Alferink, and the wedding rings belonging to Mrs. Alferink were to be found at 8840 South May. The complaint for the warrant reads as follows:

"Your affiant Det. Nick Graves of the Harvey Police Department, Harvey, Illinois, has on 18 Jan. 76, engaged in a conversation with an informant who stated to me that the person responsible for the murders of the two old people in Harvey, two days ago is a Freddie Martin, 8840 S. May, Chicago, Illinois, that hidden in the residence at 8840 S. May, Chicago, Illinois is a deed for land in Florida made out to a Herbert Alferink, also taken were wedding rings from Mrs. Alferink. Informant also stated that Freddie Martin had also killed an old white man down the street from his residence and taken a large coin collection, about three weeks ago. Informant stated he was afraid for his life as Freddie Martin told him if you tell anyone, I'll kill you too. Affiant Det. Nick Graves acting on this information contacted Inv. Long, Chicago Police Department and ascertained that in the area of 8840 S. May, Chicago, Illinois, on Dec. 1, 1975 an elderly white man had been killed and a large coin collection taken. Also that Freddie Martin has a police record dating back to 1966, with convictions for burglary and armed robbery with sentence to Joliet Prison, Last sentence being 3 May, 1971, 5-10 years for armed robbery. Affiant Det. Nick Graves then ascertained thru interviewing Agnes Golec, daughter of victims, Herbert and Catherine Alferink that missing from victims was a set of wedding rings, white gold and a land deed in the name of Herbert and Catherine Alferink for land in Florida."

Freddie Martin was arrested on January 16, 1976, by Chicago police officers for offenses not related to this case. On January 19, 1976, he was interviewed at the Criminal Courts> Building in Chicago by Officer Thomas Morrison of the Harvey Police Department. Prior to going to the Criminal Courts> Building, Officer Morrison had called Assistant State's Attorney Louis Leone and told him of his plan to interview Martin. Leone said he called the public defender's office and asked whether Martin had been assigned an attorney and was told that one had not been assigned.

After ascertaining that defendant did not have a private attorney, and after the public defender's office seemed to refuse appointment of an attorney to Martin, Leone said he and Morrison went ahead with the interview. Martin was read his Miranda rights; he stated he understood those rights, but wished to waive them, and proceeded to make a statement. Leone testified further that Martin stated he understood his rights and had nothing to hide. Leone also stated he heard Martin say he was in a hotel in Chicago with his wife on the night the crimes were committed.

At a hearing on the defense motion to suppress the statement, three assistant public defenders testified. None could remember granting permission to interview Martin and none admitted to refusing to represent Martin. After arguments by both sides, the court denied the defense motion to suppress the statements made by Martin. The court noted that the Miranda warnings had been given properly.

On March 10, 1976, defendant Martin was charged with two counts of murder, two counts of armed robbery, two counts of burglary, two counts of aggravated battery, and one count of attempt murder. All counts referred to occurrences on January 15, 1976, involving the victims, Herbert and Catherine Alferink. Martin entered a plea of not guilty.

A motion by the defense to quash the search warrant and suppress evidence obtained as a result of the warrant was denied by the court on June 1, 1976. The defense also made a motion in limine to restrict the testimony of Martin's wife, Gwenda. Following a hearing on September 8, 1976, the trial court ruled Gwenda Martin could testify about acts of defendant, but not about conversations between husband and wife.

The trial court ruled each side would be given 10 peremptory challenges, and jury selection was commenced. Both sides exercised all of their challenges before voir dire was concluded. The defense asked that Elizabeth Reno be excused for cause after she said she thought her empathy for older people might affect her judgment. The trial court refused to excuse her since she indicated she would try to be fair. After the jury selection was completed, sequestration was ordered and evidence was presented.

Before trial, defense counsel requested to see the physical evidence the State intended to use at trial. The State indicated that evidence was available for examination at the Harvey Police Department. The defense objected to the use of "open file" discovery, but objection was overruled. The trial court assured the defense the physical evidence could be viewed before opening statements were made. The trial judge later ruled inspection would occur prior to introduction of individual items of physical evidence. On October 22, the defense again requested to see the physical evidence. The trial court then signed an order prepared by the defense which directed the State to produce all of the physical evidence for inspection immediately or lose the right to introduce it at trial. On October 25, defense counsel acknowledged they had seen four pieces of the State's physical evidence.

The first witness testifying on behalf of the People was Ruth Bronson, the daughter of the Alferinks. Ms. Bronson testified as to the condition of her parents and their home when she arrived there on the morning of January 16, 1976. Ms. Bronson had gone to her parents' home to take her mother shopping. She found the front door unlocked and the shades drawn. Upon entering the house, she noticed the television in the living room was on, both bedrooms had been ransacked, and there was a strong smell of gas. Ms. Bronson found the bodies of her parents on the kitchen floor. Herbert Alferink was lying face down, while Catherine Alferink was lying on her back with a knife stuck in her chest.

Ruth Bronson further explained that the Alferinks regularly received monthly Social Security checks, and Herbert Alferink's retirement check. The Alferinks kept money and important papers in a locked tackle box. Ms. Bronson was able to recall her parents owned a certificate, printed on blue-green parchment, issued by a Harvey bank. She also testified she had identified several items at the police station that had been missing from the house when she discovered her parents.

The State then called Harvey police officer William Arnett. He testified he was the first policeman to arrive at the Alferink house. He verified that Ruth Bronson was on the scene. There was a strong smell of gas inside the house. Arnett testified further that the house appeared to have been ransacked, and that suitcases and boxes were left open. He found the kitchen door locked and no sign of forcible entry. Several pieces of evidence, including photographs taken at the scene, were submitted to Officer Arnett for identification. He identified a fork found on the kitchen floor, the rope tied on both victims, and the knives removed from the chests of each of the bodies. No fingerprints were found on these items. No fingerprints were taken from other items in the house.

On cross-examination, Officer Arnett testified the kitchen area had been "contaminated" by the time he arrived; consequently he took no fingerprints.

The State next called Ronald Russell, a Cook County sheriff's police evidence technician. Officer Russell testified he examined the crime scene on January 16, 1976. He was assigned to inspect the interior and exterior of the house and to look for any physical evidence; he was to dust for and take fingerprints, and have necessary photographs taken. Officer Russell was unable to find any relevant fingerprints at the scene of the crime or any signs of forcible entry into the home.

The next witness for the State was Joseph Chaparols, a Cook County pathologist. He testified that on January 17, 1976, he performed autopsies on Herbert and Catherine Alferink. Catherine had been stabbed five times in the upper chest; she had abrasions on her lower and mid-chest and right thigh, plus hemorrhages in the areas of her ankles and right wrist. The cause of death was a stab wound which had severed the aorta and lung. Herbert Alferink had two stab wounds in his upper chest, one which penetrated the bone and one which cut the pulmonary artery and aorta. Stabbing was the cause of death.

Harold Hutchens, a dispatcher for the South Suburban Safeway Bus Lines, testified for the State. He said buses ran, roundtrip, daily between Harvey and Chicago, between the hours of 4:15 a.m. and 8:45 p.m. The buses ran from 63rd and Halsted, Chicago, to 154th and Park, Harvey.

Also testifying for the State was reserve Harvey police officer James Murray. He stated he observed defendant in a gas station in Harvey on the evening of January 15, 1976. Officer Murray asserted he observed the clothes worn by defendant and saw a portable television set in defendant's possession. He engaged defendant in conversation. Officer Murray reported this encounter with defendant on a field contact card which he turned into his supervisor and which, ultimately, over defense objection, was admitted into evidence. The State showed Murray a portable television set which he identified as resembling the one he had seen in defendant's possession. Murray could not recall seeing blood stains on defendant's clothing.

The next witness, Charles Brooks, a Harvey cab driver, testified he picked up defendant at the gas station and observed the clothes he wore and the fact that he was in possession of a portable television set. He drove defendant first to 103rd and Wabash Avenue and finally to 89th and May Street in Chicago.

The next State witness was Assistant State's Attorney Louis Leone who testified that after informing defendant of his Miranda rights on January 19, 1976, defendant waived his rights. Defendant then stated that on January 15 and 16, 1976, he had been with his ...

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