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People v. Ingram

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 19, 1980.

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

v.

JAMES INGRAM, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. GARLAND W. WATT, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MEJDA DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a bench trial, defendant was found guilty of aggravated battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 12-4) and sentenced to a term of 3 1/3 to 10 years. On appeal, he contends that: (1) he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) he was denied due process and his right to present a defense by the exclusion of certain evidence; (3) evidence of a probation revocation was improperly admitted to impeach him; (4) the State's failure to comply with discovery and to perfect impeachment denied him a fair trial; and (5) he was improperly cross-examined about certain statements he had made to a probation officer. We affirm.

On October 17, 1977, Douglas Coley was shot in the stomach at close range by defendant. Coley and defendant disagree concerning the circumstances of the shooting and the events which are the basis of defendant's conviction. The following pertinent evidence was introduced at trial.

Douglas Coley testified that at about 3 a.m. on the night in question he was in bed with his wife when he heard a knock on the door. His wife asked who it was, and Coley recognized the voice as defendant's. Coley went to the door and his wife returned to the bedroom. When defendant told Coley to open the door, he opened it and saw defendant and an unknown person in the hall. Defendant and Coley argued about the late hour of the visit, and defendant demanded money which Coley allegedly owed him. Coley agreed to pay him and pushed the door closed. As Coley walked to his bedroom to get the money, defendant kicked the door open and pulled a gun from his right pocket. He told Coley that he was going to teach him a lesson and shot him once in the stomach. Defendant then pointed the gun at Coley's head and told him that he was going to kill him. Coley ran to the bathroom and then to the bedroom, where his wife called the police.

Coley testified that he never had a gun and that the gun did not discharge as a result of a struggle with defendant. He further stated that he was not a drug addict but admitted that he used three or four tablets a day at the time of the shooting. He testified that three days before the shooting he had received some tablets from defendant through a girl whom defendant had named as his sister. He also denied telling defendant's brother that for $200 he would leave town.

Coley's wife testified that on the night of the shooting she and her husband had watched television until about 2:30 a.m. when they went to bed. At about 3:15 a.m. she responded to a loud knock at the door. She recognized defendant's voice and he asked whether her husband was home. She told defendant that he was not home, and defendant told her that she had better open the door because he was going to enter. Her husband came to the front door and she moved back to the bedroom door. She faced the front door and saw her husband arguing with defendant about money. Her husband attempted to close the front door but was unsuccessful. She then saw defendant raise a gun and shoot her husband who was unarmed. She closed the bedroom door slightly and called the police.

Mrs. Coley testified that she believed her husband was a drug addict at the time of the shooting. Although she had never seen him take drugs, through her experience of working with addicts, she was able to recognize one by looking at his eyes. She stated that at the time of trial her husband was not an addict.

Chicago police officer Tyler testified that he responded to a call regarding a shooting in Coley's building and that he saw defendant and another man when he arrived. He told defendant to stop, and defendant retreated a few steps and dropped an object into the bushes. Officer Tyler recovered a .22-caliber pistol from the bushes which was introduced at trial. He arrested defendant and then saw Mrs. Coley, who identified defendant as the man who shot her husband.

On cross-examination Officer Tyler testified that he asked defendant who owned the gun. Defense counsel asked whether defendant had replied that it belonged to Coley, and Officer Tyler responded that that was not his reply. Defense counsel then asked, "He didn't say it was his, did he?" to which Officer Tyler replied "Well, yes he did."

On redirect, Officer Tyler testified that at the police station defendant told him that "he [defendant] should have took his chances with me instead of going to court, and that he should have taken me out of the game," although he admitted that this statement was not included in his police report.

Defendant testified in his own behalf. He had previously given Coley some things to sell for him, and Coley told him to come to his house to collect the money. After an unsuccessful collection attempt, some "associates" told him that they had just seen Coley. On October 17 he went to Coley's apartment at about 3 a.m. to collect $360 from him. He was unarmed at that time. When he asked Coley for the money, he replied that he was short because the police had "busted him earlier and threw half my stuff away" and tried to stall him. Defendant told Coley that he was lying since he could see the drugs he had given him being "cooked up" inside the apartment. Coley offered him $25, but defendant demanded the total amount. Coley said he would get the rest from his wife who was in the bedroom. He returned from the bedroom with a small pistol, and the two began to struggle for it. Defendant butted Coley in the forehead, and the gun discharged. Coley fell to the floor and then got up and ran to the bathroom. Defendant was unaware that Coley was wounded and continued to demand his money. Coley ran to his bedroom where he told his wife to get the rest of the money. A man in the hall told defendant that police were coming and defendant ran outside to see police standing there. He testified that he ran from the building because he was aware of the law as it applied to ex-convicts in possession of a pistol, and he became frightened. When he was arrested, he told the police that he had taken the gun from a man upstairs, but the police refused to believe him. Defendant admitted that he had been a cocaine user for four years and that on the day of the shooting he was selling pills called "T's and blues." On cross-examination the State attempted to impeach defendant concerning his drug use with a statement he made to a probation officer in a pretrial investigation report.

Defendant's brother, Ronnie Ingram, testified that he knew Coley only casually prior to the shooting. He had a conversation with Coley in a poolroom after the shooting but could not remember the date. He last saw Coley at his beauty shop on July 1, 1978. The witness attempted to describe the substance of a conversation he had with Coley but the trial court sustained the State's objections to this testimony. The defense made an offer of proof that Coley had told Ronnie Ingram that he would refuse to testify for $200 worth of "T's and blues." The defense rested.

It was stipulated that while at the hospital on October 17, 1977, Coley had told a nurse that he had taken an injection of Talwin Pribenzamine (T's and blues) on the previous day. The trial court took judicial notice of a certified copy of defendant's prior voluntary manslaughter conviction. The trial court found defendant guilty of aggravated battery and sentenced him to a term of 3 1/3 to 10 years. Defendant appeals.

OPINI ...


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