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People v. Bennett

OPINION FILED MARCH 7, 1980.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

ROSA MARIE BENNETT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EDWARD C. HOFERT, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of voluntary manslaughter (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 9-2(b)), and sentenced to 1 1/2 years to 4 1/2 years in the penitentiary. On appeal, she raises the following issues: (1) that the State's failure to produce her torn sweatshirt violated her right to due process of law and Supreme Court Rule 412; (2) that the trial court erred in admitting testimony regarding the surgery performed on deceased prior to death, along with a photograph of deceased revealing surgical incisions; (3) that the trial court erred when it offered no additional instruction or clarification in response to juror's questions during their deliberations; (4) that she was denied the effective assistance of counsel; and (5) that the State did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

The following pertinent facts were adduced at trial.

For the State

Anton Majcen, Chicago Police Officer

He and his partner, Robert Andler, responded to a call at about 5:30 a.m., April 16, 1975, regarding a man shot at 2350 South State, Chicago. Defendant answered the door at apartment 402 of that address, and informed him that she had just shot her husband. She indicated that the gun was on a dresser in the bedroom. He saw the deceased lying on the floor with blood coming from his head. As his partner attended to the victim, who was alive at that time, he recovered the gun. On the way to the police station defendant told him that she and deceased had a quarrel beginning at 11:30 p.m. on the previous night, during which she was struck by deceased several times, and that about 5:15 on the morning of April 16, during the course of an argument, deceased raised a bottle in his hand and attempted to strike her. She picked up a gun and fired four shots at deceased.

Later, at the police station, he heard defendant repeat the story to John Ferguson, a detective from Area One Homicide. Defendant said she was struck in the back, head, chest and arms, but declined any medical attention. He noticed no cuts or bruises on her face, nor tears in her clothing.

On cross-examination, he stated that defendant wore a turtleneck sweater, a jacket and a scarf on her head when she was arrested. He did not examine her for bruises under the clothing.

Robert Andler, Chicago Police Officer

During his and his partner's investigation, he was with defendant for about one hour that evening, but he noticed no cuts or bruises on her body.

John Ferguson, Chicago Police Officer

At about 7 a.m. on April 16, 1975, he took an oral statement from defendant. She told him that deceased started an argument with her at about 9 p.m. at their home on the previous evening, that they quarreled about deceased's excessive drinking and about what she had prepared for dinner, and that deceased struck her in the face. She also said that later that evening, deceased insisted that she go out with him. As she dressed, deceased approached her with a bottle in his hand. She felt that he was going to strike her with the bottle, so she fired the gun at him five times, though it discharged only four shots.

Defendant also gave a written statement. In it she stated that she shot deceased because, "He had been beating on me since 12:00 midnight for no reason at all." When asked about injuries arising from the beating, defendant stated, "I am four and one half months pregnant. I have an appointment at Michael Reese Clinic, pre-natal clinic today at 8:30 a.m. I do have a headache." He noticed nothing unusual about her appearance, with the exception of a small swelling on a portion of her forehead. Her clothes were not torn or dismantled.

On cross-examination, he admitted that defendant complained of headache pains while ...


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