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People v. Johnson





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. DONALD E. JOYCE, Judge, presiding.


After a preliminary hearing, finding probable cause on the charge of murder and no probable cause as to robbery, the defendant, William Johnson, was charged by information with murder, felony murder based on burglary, and burglary (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, pars. 9-1, 9-1(a)(3), 19-1). A jury found defendant not guilty of murder and not guilty of felony murder, but guilty of burglary. Defendant was sentenced to 4 to 15 years in the penitentiary.

We affirm.

In his appeal to this court, defendant contends (1) he was denied due process by the trial court's denial of his motion to dismiss the information charging burglary when the preliminary hearing court found no probable cause as to robbery; (2) the court erred in allowing the State to cross-examine its own witness; and (3) he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The evidence presented discloses that on the evening of March 12, 1976, Mary Thomas left her first floor apartment at 3134 North Clifton, in Chicago, and took her two children to the nearby home of her friend and babysitter, Chickie Koonce. After she left Koonce's apartment, Thomas and a friend, Rita Bailey, went to a neighborhood bar at Lincoln and George Avenues. There, Thomas purchased some heroin. Approximately an hour passed before she and Bailey returned to Thomas' apartment. When she arrived at the building, Thomas saw her friend, Gary Koonce, the son of Chickie Koonce, standing outside of her apartment window. She invited Gary into the building and he entered with the two women. Upon entering, Thomas saw Dale Oliver, the building manager's son, and another man. She invited them both to come into her apartment. Thomas, Bailey, and the three men went into the apartment.

Soon after, there was a knock at the apartment door. Thomas went to the door and heard a voice command, "Open the door [b____], I don't have time to [f____] around with you; I just killed a man on the third floor." Upon opening the door, she saw William Johnson, the defendant, whom she had known for 4 weeks. She observed two stereophonic speakers on the stairs next to him. The speakers were in brown wood cabinets with black covers and measured 2 1/2 feet by 1 1/2 feet. Thomas recognized the speakers as those she had seen several days earlier when Orren Carlton moved them into his third-floor apartment.

Thomas shut the door but defendant persisted in his efforts to gain entrance into the apartment. The door was opened again and defendant said he wanted to speak with Gary. Defendant asked Gary whether he would help carry some "stuff" out of the building. Gary answered that he could not help, and the door was again closed. When the door was opened sometime later, defendant was gone and the speakers were no longer on the stairs.

At about 9:25 p.m., Thomas and Bailey left the apartment and went across the alley to Chickie Koonce's apartment. While walking through a gangway leading to the Koonce apartment, Thomas saw defendant and another man, Jerry Marts, carrying a large brown box-shaped object.

On March 12, 1976, between 9 and 11 p.m., Charles Dickerson was at a tavern not far from the Koonce apartment when he saw defendant, Jerry Marts, and Gary Koonce arrive. Gary and defendant approached Dickerson; one of them offered to sell him a television set for $125. Dickerson responded that he wanted to see the television set. The men directed Dickerson to drive them to the Koonce apartment. After being shown the television set, Dickerson agreed to buy it. One of the men asked Dickerson whether he would carry a stereo set back to the tavern. Dickerson agreed to the request. He loaded a three-piece stereo set, which included two speakers in brown wood cabinets with black covers, into his car.

Dickerson drove back to the tavern, unloaded the stereo, and paid defendant or Gary $125 for the television set. Defendant and Gary then went into the home of the tavern owner, Leo Dubinski, which was located directly behind the tavern. In defendant's presence, Gary offered to sell the stereo set to Dubinski for $125. Dubinski immediately gave Gary $100 of the price in exchange for the set.

On the following day, March 13, 1976, five Chicago police detectives arrived at 3134 North Clifton. Three detectives, Officers Hack, Wilczonski, and Laska, went to Thomas' first floor apartment and conducted an interview. The other two detectives, Sergeant O'Connor and Investigator Adorjan, went to the third-floor apartment of Orren Carlton. There was no answer when the officers knocked on the door. Investigator Adorjan opened the door and found the apartment in disarray. The two officers noticed a doorway to the bedroom where they could see an empty television stand. Upon entering the bedroom, they found the dead body of Orren Carlton. There were two head wounds above and beside the left ear, and a blood-stained sweater was knotted around his neck.

Other policemen arrived at the scene. They found 11 fingerprints on various items in the apartment, none of which matched those of defendant. Nine of the prints were identified as Carlton's. The other two were never identified.

Meanwhile, Thomas related to the three detectives in her apartment all the events she witnessed the previous evening. They then took her to police headquarters where she gave a written statement.

Oliver, Marts, and Gary Koonce were also taken to police headquarters for fingerprinting and questioning. Investigator Laska and other detectives took Gary to an apartment at 1943 West Keeler where defendant was living. The police were allowed to enter the ...

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