APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Brown County; the Hon. DAVID
K. SLOCUM, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Sentence of 25 to 75 years.
The body of Terry Lee Kline was found off Cooperstown Road in Brown County on March 6, 1975. The victim was lying face down next to a fence. His trousers were down below his knees and the pockets were turned inside out.
Joanne Burgess Giamometti testified that she saw the defendant, Lavada Leon Woollums, kill the victim. On March 1, 1975, she was working as a prostitute for defendant. At 3 a.m. on that date, the defendant, Kline (the victim), Teresa Woollums (defendant's ex-wife), and Joanne Giamometti left Peoria to go to Quincy. Defendant and Kline were drinking. They took Route 24 out of Peoria. Defendant told Joanne and Teresa to go through Kline's pockets, whereupon Kline took his money out and put it on the dashboard. His pockets were pulled out. Defendant then shot Kline in the head, turned off the highway onto a gravel road, stopped, and then dragged Kline's body out of the car into a ditch. Defendant, Teresa and Joanne continued on to Quincy, where defendant changed his clothes at Johnny "Red" Barrigar's room at the St. Jude Hotel. Joanne and Teresa went to a car wash but could not get the blood out of the car. Defendant left the gun at Red's and then defendant, Teresa, and Joanne went to Springfield. They left Springfield for Mason City (where defendant, Teresa, and Joanne were living), and on the way defendant passed out. The next day, defendant told his brother that he had killed Kline. Joanne testified that defendant was very drunk and that every time she saw him on the night in question, he was drinking.
John Barrigar (known as "Johnny Red") testified that on the morning of March 1, 1975, he gave defendant a pair of pants, and defendant offered to sell him a gun.
State Police Officer James Felts pulled defendant's car over on March 6, 1975, shortly after Kline's body was found. Defendant was driving a white-over-reddish-brown Cadillac. Felts observed defendant reach over the seat and the car went up in flames.
Teresa Scorsilini (previously known as Teresa Woollums) testified that she had been married to defendant and also worked as a prostitute for him. On March 1, 1975, Teresa, defendant, Kline, and Joanne Giamometti left Peoria for Quincy. Defendant pulled a gun on Kline and Teresa told him to put it down to allow a car to pass. Defendant told Teresa and Joanne to search Kline's pockets. Defendant then shot Kline three times. The shooting occurred on Route 24, five to 10 minutes out of Rushville. Defendant was driving 60 to 80 m.p.h. Defendant then turned onto a dirt road and dumped Kline's body. When they arrived at Johnny Red's, Teresa and Joanne washed the blood off defendant's hands and took the car to a car wash. When they got back, defendant had on different clothes. They then left for Springfield and on the way defendant passed out. Later, at a bar, defendant and his brother, Terry, made plans to burn the car. Teresa explained that she did not report the murder because she was afraid of defendant, who used to beat her.
In June 1978, Teresa gave police officers written permission to record her telephone conversations. An eavesdropping order was obtained in Winnebago County, where Teresa was living. An edited version of a conversation between defendant and Teresa, recorded June 18, 1978, was played to the jury. Defendant called Teresa from Pontiac, where he was incarcerated and serving time for an unrelated conviction. He told her, in effect, not to talk to police about this incident and that if she had any questions to call his lawyers. When Teresa expressed the opinion that the police knew he killed Kline, defendant agreed but stated that they could not prove it because they have to have an eyewitness and they do not have the gun.
During deliberations, the jury requested the tape recording of defendant's conversation with Teresa. Over defense objection, the court allowed the jury to hear the ...