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People v. Gaines





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EARL E. STRAYHORN, Judge, presiding.


This is an appeal from the circuit court of Cook County, wherein the defendant, Willoby Gaines, was convicted, in a bench trial, for the crime of murder. The court sentenced the defendant to a term of 20 years in the Department of Corrections.

The issues presented for review are: (1) whether the court erred in refusing to allow the defendant's expert witness to introduce into evidence, during redirect examination, certain hospital records; and (2) whether the trial court properly considered the validity of the defense of automatism.

The State's charge of murder alleged the defendant intentionally and knowingly stabbed and killed Patricia Robinson with a knife on February 18, 1978. On motion of the public defender, the defendant was ordered to be examined by the Psychiatric Institute of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Dr. Lorimer of the Psychiatric Institute requested that a Computer Axial Tomography scan, a highly sophisticated X-ray study of the brain, be performed on the defendant, which was granted. Later, the defendant was sent for an EEG (electroencephalogram) with alcohol activation procedures.

On December 3, 1979, the cause came on for trial. The State's case in chief consisted of the testimony of the arresting officer, and certain stipulations.

The arresting officer testified that on February 18, 1978, he and another officer were on patrol between 3 and 11 p.m. when a radio broadcast came in of a man wanted for stabbing at the corner of Clark and Division Streets, in Chicago. The person wanted was described as a male Negro, six feet tall, wearing a blue jacket and a knit cap. At the corner of La Salle and Oak Streets, the witness saw the defendant, who fit the description, and the officers stopped near him.

The witness told the defendant to take his hands out of his pockets and the defendant replied that the officers would have to kill him. The officers got out of the squad car, and both drew their service revolvers. They again told the defendant to take his hands out of his pockets. At this time, the defendant charged at the two police officers.

The officers subdued the defendant and a pat down search revealed a butcher knife tucked in his pants. The knife measured about 13 inches in length. It had red stains on the blade, and there were red stains on the front of the defendant's clothing. The witness noticed the odor of alcohol on the defendant's breath, and later noticed a cut over defendant's eye.

The officers walked the defendant across the street to the emergency room of Henrotin Hospital. The victim, Patricia Robinson, was just being brought in. She pointed at the defendant and positively identified the defendant as the man who stabbed her. The defendant responded, "Yeah, I stabbed you, you, you no good, you're like all the rest, that's why I stabbed you." During the trial, the defendant at one point interrupted the testimony, accusing the arresting officer of lying about something having to do with the knife. At that time, a spectator shouted, "You killed my sister," and the defendant said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I can't bring her back brother."

The parties stipulated as follows: (1) that the manager of the Hasty-Tasty Restaurant at 101 West Division in Chicago, if called to testify, would testify that a young black female came into the restaurant at about 7:30 p.m., said she was stabbed, and asked him to call the police; (2) if the deceased's mother were called to testify, she would testify that she had seen her daughter Patricia a few days before February 17, 1978, and saw her dead at the morgue; (3) if Dr. Kalelkar, a pathologist, were to testify, he would testify that he did an autopsy and found that Patricia Robinson died of massive bleeding due to a stab wound involving the liver and the right lung; (4) that the defendant was 44 years of age; and (5) that the partner of the arresting officer who testified would testify, if called, that he took a knife from the defendant's coat, that the knife was tested for blood and that the blood was the same blood type as that of Patricia Robinson. The State then rested, and the defense proceeded. The defense never denied that the defendant stabbed the decedent, but claimed only that defendant's actions were not voluntary.

Evelyn Anderson testified for the defendant. Dr. Anderson, a licensed physician, has interpreted approximately 750,000 electroencephalographic records since 1962. One of Dr. Anderson's assistants, Mrs. Harriet DiVito, administered an electroencephalographic test on the defendant upon the request of the defendant's counsel. This test was to be administered twice, once before the defendant had ingested alcohol and once after. The test taken before the ingestion of alcohol revealed an abnormality in the defendant's interior temporal areas. As the abnormality was noticeably less while the defendant was asleep, the abnormality in the wave frequencies was not due to a tumor. This test also showed an abnormality in the defendant's brain stem which was indicative of an injury to the brain. It was noted that well over 30% of the 750,000 "EEG's" that the doctor has interpreted over the past 19 years exhibited these abnormalities. Furthermore, the doctor was unable to obtain a clear reading of the wave frequencies after the defendant ingested alcohol as the defendant became uncooperative and unable to lie quietly or sleep after taking the alcohol. In addition, the doctor did not form an opinion as to whether the defendant was legally sane at the time of the offense.

Dr. Frank M. Lorimer, a licensed physician specializing in psychiatry, examined the defendant on several occasions and found him fit to stand trial. However, Dr. Lorimer diagnosed the defendant as a psychotic with epilepsy due to head trauma and alcoholism. In the doctor's opinion, the defendant appeared to suffer from organic brain syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by five features. The defendant demonstrated one of these characteristics, namely, "lability of affect." "Lability of affect" is a vacillation of moods in short period of time. There are two poles to this affect, one is hostility, anger and belligerence, and the other is remorse. He would talk to the doctor regarding the murder charge and then burst into tears, saying, "I didn't intend to do it." The doctor also stated that the defendant demonstrated impairment of judgment. Nevertheless, the doctor stated that the defendant possessed a superior intelligence and a superior memory.

Dr. Lorimer had also made a special study of "rage attacks," which are clinical manifestations of epilepsy. Dr. Lorimer was able to view the defendant after he ingested 5 ounces of alcohol during the administration of the "EEG" test. The defendant demanded the rest of the whiskey bottle, and, when this request was denied, he became verbally abusive and threatening. The doctor characterized the defendant's actions as a "rage attack." On the basis of the defendant's reactions during this test and upon the doctor's examinations of the defendant, it was Dr. Lorimer's opinion that the defendant could not appreciate the criminality of his actions nor conform his conduct to the requirements of the law on the date of the alleged offense. The doctor also believed the defendant qualified as a pathological intoxicant. According to the doctor, when the defendant drinks whiskey, it complicates his organic brain syndrome and aggravates his epilepsy.

The defendant told the doctor that he drank around a pint of whiskey on the night of the offense, and Dr. Lorimer thought this amount was sufficient to impair the defendant's memory. The defendant told the doctor that he did not recall stabbing the victim, but he realized he had done ...

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