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People v. Cages





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. LOUIS B. GARIPPO, Judge, presiding.


At the conclusion of a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant, William Cages, was found guilty of murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)(1)). He was sentenced to a 100- to 200-year prison term. He appeals.

The only issue presented for review is whether the trial court erroneously denied defendant's motion to suppress the evidence of his inculpatory statement. Defendant has abandoned his contention that the trial court erred when, allegedly in the presence of the jury, the court ruled defendant's statement had been voluntarily given. The record clearly discloses that the trial court made this determination outside the presence of the jury.

We affirm.

At trial, the State's principal witnesses, Yvonne and Adrienne Allen, testified that they were with defendant and the deceased, William Bailey, on September 1, 1976, the night Bailey met his death. The evidence presented indicates that Bailey was driving his car when he began feeling ill. Yvonne, who together with Adrienne and defendant was a passenger in the car, then exchanged seats with Bailey. As she was driving, defendant wrapped a handkerchief around Bailey's throat and began choking him. Yvonne stopped the car. Adrienne screamed and told Yvonne to get out of the car. Before both Adrienne and Yvonne fled from the car, Adrienne saw that defendant was holding a knife in his hand. As both Adrienne and Yvonne were running from the car, they heard gunshots. It was later determined that Bailey died from stab and gunshot wounds. Sometime after the incident, Yvonne accompanied defendant to the State of Mississippi.

Defendant was arrested in Mississippi. Chicago police officers John Janda and Frank Laverty returned with defendant to Chicago. On their arrival with the defendant to their police headquarters, the police officers, after advising defendant of his Miranda rights, obtained defendant's confession to the murder of Bailey. The confession by defendant was first made orally and then in writing.

Officer Laverty testified that prior to questioning defendant, he fully explained defendant's rights to him. The defendant acknowledged that he understood the significance of his rights. Defendant then told Laverty that he had been employed by Hubert Spain, a druggist, to kill Bailey. Defendant explained that Spain had been in Federal custody on narcotics charges and, to obtain a new trial, Spain had designed an elaborate plan which would result in framing the narcotics agents with the murder of Bailey.

Defendant described to the officers the sequence of events which led to the murder. Defendant asserted he had first attempted to poison Bailey and then to strangle him. When these efforts failed, defendant had stabbed Bailey in the chest and then had shot him in the back of his head.

On cross-examination, Laverty stated that defendant was alert during the entire interview. Laverty also asserted neither he nor Janda had ever stated or intimated to defendant that if defendant confessed to the murder of Bailey, he or the Allen sisters would get immunity or leniency. Laverty noted he had been in defendant's presence when Laverty mentioned his desire to see Spain prosecuted, but no one had made promises to defendant in exchange for his testimony. Although Laverty said to defendant that he hoped defendant could help in the prosecution of Spain, he never solicited defendant's testimony.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Angarola, who was present when defendant's oral and written statements were made, also testified that in defendant's oral statement, defendant described how he had killed Bailey and had received money in consideration for the murder. Angarola read defendant's entire written statement to the court and the jury. The statement began with a detailed explanation of defendant's rights and defendant's statement that he was "sending [him]self to the penitentiary." Angarola repeatedly questioned defendant to determine whether he understood the ramifications of the confession and whether his statement was voluntary.

When Angarola asked defendant a question about one of the Allen sisters, defendant responded "I thought you said she wouldn't have anything to do with this." Angarola asked several other questions and defendant responded by admitting to murdering Bailey. Defendant again asked whether Yvonne was involved. The following colloquy then took place:

"Angarola: This statement pertains to you William and not to Yvonne.

Defendant: But * * *, I'm still stuck.

Angarola: Well, nobody has told you anything other than that, William, from the beginning * * * when I asked you at the beginning if you wanted to give a voluntary statement, and you answered yes, you gave the question some thought and answered ...

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