APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. FRANK
B. MACHALA, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE PERLIN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Defendant, Earl Allen, was charged by indictment with the murders of Geraldine Hubbard and her 16-year-old brother, Willie Hubbard. Following a jury trial defendant was found guilty of both counts of murder and sentenced to serve two concurrent terms of not less than 100 nor more than 300 years. Defendant appeals contending: (1) that he was denied his constitutional rights to an impartial jury where the State exercised its peremptory challenges to exclude blacks and Latinos from the jury; and (2) that he was prejudiced by the prosecutor's comment during closing argument.
Victim Geraldine Hubbard and defendant, her boyfriend, had resided together for approximately one year prior to January 10, 1978, in apartment 606 at 1111 West Roosevelt Road. During the evening hours of January 9, 1978, victim Willie Hubbard, defendant, Sylvester Adams, and Calvin Carter, the boyfriend of Geraldine's sister, Emma Hubbard, were present at apartment 606. At approximately 8:30 p.m. defendant "slapped" Willie, claiming that Willie owed him $70 or $75. Willie began crying and denied having defendant's money. When Geraldine returned home at approximately 9 p.m., Willie was still crying and defendant confronted her with the allegation that "somebody [had] beat him out [of] his money." Geraldine replied that "it couldn't have been her brother" and called the police.
At approximately 8:30 p.m., Thomas Newton, a Chicago policeman, received a radio assignment and proceeded to apartment 606. When he entered the apartment, Willie was crying and defendant appeared to be very upset. Defendant stated that Willie owed him money. After Officer Newton spoke with Geraldine, he told defendant to gather his belongings and leave the apartment. Defendant complied with the officer's command.
On January 10, 1978, Felissicia Hubbard *fn1 lived with her mother, Emma Hubbard, and Calvin Carter in apartment 1508 at 1111 West Roosevelt Road. At approximately 5 p.m., Felissicia and a friend left the day-care facility and went to Felissicia's apartment to request permission to go to the friend's apartment on the fourth floor. After receiving permission, they proceeded to walk down the stairs to the fourth floor because the elevator "didn't come." As they were walking down the stairs, someone on the eighth floor called to Felissicia's friend and she "went to see what they wanted." As Felissicia walked down to the seventh floor, she saw Wendall Allen *fn2 and a man named Vincent, who was holding a black gun, standing outside of apartment 709. Sylvester Adams was standing by the ramp near the stairway shaking his head. Felissicia then observed defendant, who was crying, run up the stairs to the seventh floor. Defendant approached Vincent and, while Vincent held the gun, defendant loaded five bullets into the weapon. Felissicia was standing approximately 10 feet away from the defendant. She then continued walking down the stairs to the fourth floor.
At approximately 5:45 p.m., Emma Hubbard received a telephone call from her friend Velma Taylor. Immediately following their conversation, Emma asked Calvin Carter to go to Geraldine's apartment. Emma called her mother, dressed, and left her apartment to go to Geraldine's apartment. As she left her apartment, Emma saw defendant and Sylvester Adams exit the elevator and walk to the stairs leading to the 16th floor. *fn3 Defendant asked Emma "what was happening," but Emma did not respond.
When Carter entered Geraldine's apartment, he saw Geraldine lying on her side on the floor approximately five or six inches from the door. Although there was blood all over Geraldine's shirt, Carter did not see any blood on the floor. When Carter asked her "who did it," she replied that "Earl Allen shot me and Main." Main was Willie's nickname. Geraldine did not say anything else to Carter while he was in the apartment and he did not ask her any other questions. Carter was the only person in the apartment at this time. Carter walked over to Willie, who was lying on the couch, and observed that he had "two holes in his head with blood running down." Almost immediately thereafter approximately six or seven police officers arrived at the apartment.
Officer Newton was the first police officer to arrive at Geraldine's apartment, and, as he entered the apartment, he saw Geraldine lying on the floor, apparently shot in the back of the neck, and saw Willie lying on the couch with two gunshot wounds in the right side of his head. Willie appeared to be dead, but Geraldine was still alive. Calvin Carter was also present in the apartment when Officer Newton arrived. Officer Newton went into the various rooms of the apartment and, while in the bedroom, observed blood on the bedspread near the head of the bed.
Approximately one minute after Officer Newton entered the apartment, Officer Robert Kocan and other police personnel arrived. When Officer Kocan entered the apartment, Officer Newton was in one of the bedrooms. Officer Kocan stepped over the body of Geraldine and said aloud, "I wonder who did this." Geraldine opened her eyes, lifted her head slightly and responded, "Earl Allen did it." Officer Kocan informed Officer Newton and his fellow officers, and then "sent out a flash message over the radio." Officer Kocan did not question Geraldine nor did she make any further statement. Officer Newton did not hear Geraldine say anything.
Emma arrived at Geraldine's apartment approximately three or four minutes after Carter. When she entered the apartment, she saw Geraldine lying on the floor and Willie lying on the couch. Willie was not moving and had "holes in his face." There was a number of police officers in the apartment and some of these officers picked Geraldine up, placed her on a chair and took her out of the apartment. As the officers carried Geraldine to the elevator, Emma pulled Geraldine's arm and asked, "Who did this to you?" Geraldine replied, "Earl Allen did this to me." Emma again questioned Geraldine, "Who did this to you?" and Geraldine again responded, "Earl Allen did this to me and Willie." Geraldine was then placed in the elevator. After Willie was taken out of the apartment, Emma walked through the apartment but did not touch anything. She observed blood on the bedsheets of Geraldine's bed. As Officer Newton was leaving the apartment, he was "confronted" by Emma and they conversed. As Emma was leaving the building, Geraldine was being placed in the squadrol, and Emma again asked her what had happened. Emma and Calvin Carter then accompanied the police to headquarters where they spoke with Investigator Griffin. During Griffin's conversation with Emma, she told him of her conversation with Geraldine in the sixth floor hallway.
Pursuant to his conversation with Emma, Officer Newton proceeded to apartment 709 where defendant's mother lived. Following a conversation with defendant's mother, Officer Newton proceeded to apartment 1507 where he arrested defendant. At the time of his arrest, defendant did not have any weapon or ammunition on his person, nor did the officers find these items in apartments 709 or 1507.
Dr. Lee F. Beamer, a Cook County medical examiner, performed the autopsy on both Willie and Geraldine. The autopsy of Willie revealed two gunshot wounds to the head. Dr. Beamer concluded that the wounds would have caused Willie to become unconscious immediately and die shortly thereafter. The autopsy of Geraldine revealed a bullet wound located in the back of the head at the "junction of the head and neck." Dr. Beamer concluded that because Geraldine was not shot in the volitional or thinking part of the brain, she could have regained consciousness after she was shot. Dr. Beamer further concluded that Geraldine could have talked coherently and moved from the bedroom to the livingroom despite the wound she had suffered.
John Sadunas, a Chicago Police Department firearms examiner, analyzed the bullets recovered from the bodies of Willie and Geraldine. His analysis revealed that all the bullets were fired from the ...