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People v. Sanchez





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES E. STRUNCK, Judge, presiding.


After a jury trial, Salvador Sanchez (defendant) was found guilty of the murder of Gustavo Carrillo and the aggravated battery of Emanuel Valdez and Tomas Catalan. He was sentenced to 20 years and 3 years, respectively, to be served concurrently. Defendant appeals.

Officer James Schmidt testified that on March 18, 1978, he received a call regarding a man shot at the Niagara Lounge. At that location he saw Gustavo Carrillo (decedent) lying on the sidewalk and Emanuel Valdez (Valdez) lying in the street. Tomas Catalan (Catalan), shot in the foot, was in the tavern.

Emanuel Valdez testified that on March 18, 1978, at about 4 a.m., he was walking out of the Niagara Lounge when he was shot twice by a man who was standing four steps away from the entrance. Valdez pointed to defendant as that man but said he was "not too sure" because he "felt so ill" at the time. Valdez said he did not know anyone at the tavern.

On cross-examination Valdez testified there had been an argument between defendant and another man. He never saw them push each other. Defendant and the other man left together.

Bennie Fonte testified he was driving a truck and had stopped at a red light at a corner near the tavern. He heard a "pretty loud noise" and then saw a crowd to his left at the tavern. He saw a "flash of a gun going off." He saw a man "going from the sidewalk, and he [the man] dived between the parked cars to put the car between him and the man with the gun." He said he saw "a man standing there just firing into the crowd." The man fired the gun five or six times. The man stopped firing, held the gun at his side, walked a few steps, and ran. Fonte jumped out of the truck and ran to the man behind the car. The man was bleeding. Another person was lying on the sidewalk nearby.

Tomas Catalan testified that on March 18, 1978, he and decedent each had three beers in a certain bar. They arrived at the Niagara Lounge at 3 a.m. Another man was with them. At one point decedent started talking to defendant who was close to the wall. Catalan did not hear what they said, but heard them laughing. Catalan went to the bathroom and when he returned, decedent and defendant "were going out." Catalan "stood to go follow them" because he thought he and decedent were going home. He was 15 or 20 feet away. Decedent walked ahead of defendant. They were standing outside the door. Catalan testified, "When I stepped up alongside of him, I told them, `[I]t appears like you maybe wanting to fight, that is not right. You are working partners.'" Defendant walked 25 feet away. Then he "stopped suddenly, and turned around and started to fire." Before defendant fired, he and decedent were talking, but Catalan did not hear what was said. After defendant started to fire, Catalan "got scared" and "felt where he shot me in the leg." He went back inside the tavern.

Catalan also testified he, defendant, and the decedent worked in the same factory. He and decedent had two more beers to drink at the tavern. He did not see any struggling or pushing between defendant and the decedent. He denied telling an officer he said so after the incident.

The parties stipulated that if Dr. Tae Lyong An were called he would testify he examined the body of decedent on March 18, 1978. Decedent was 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed 222 pounds. The body contained five entry wounds and four exit wounds.

Officer Dennis Wheeler testified he was employed as a Los Angeles police officer. On April 1, 1978, he, Officer Gory, and Officer Sheehan went to a certain residence in Los Angeles. Wheeler told the man who opened the door he had a fugitive warrant for defendant for murder. The man said defendant was inside. Wheeler saw defendant inside. Defendant "made an attempt to run out the back door," was confronted by an officer and went back in. The officers took defendant to the police station in a car. He was read his rights and indicated he understood them. Wheeler said defendant stated, "`That guy kept pushing me and pushing me.'"

Officer Gory asked defendant what kind of gun he had used. Defendant said it was a Browning 9-millimeter automatic. Defendant stated he had thrown the gun away between Chicago and Los Angeles. He said he had only so much patience and decedent had pushed him and he was not sorry for what he had done. These conversations were all in English.

Sergeant Joseph Celorsky, a firearms examiner, testified the bullets collected from the scene were fired from a 9-millimeter weapon.

Investigator William Baldree testified that on March 18, 1978, he went to St. Anthony's Hospital where he saw Valdez in the emergency room. Officer Hosea Torres was also there. At the time of trial, Torres was in a hospital due to a recent automobile accident. Torres served as an interpreter. Torres told Baldree about the conversation he and Valdez had. Torres said Valdez had said there had been a shoving incident and an argument. It was closing time. After they were going out the door, one of the men who had been in the argument pulled a pistol and started shooting. Valdez was shot, and he saw decedent shot. Defendant then fled. Torres said Valdez said the others in the tavern were his friends. Torres also said Valdez, Catalan, and decedent left the tavern at the same time.

The parties stipulated that if Officer Torres were called to testify he would state he interviewed Catalan in the emergency room on March 18. Catalan said he saw decedent arguing with defendant. Catalan told ...

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