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People v. Bivins

OPINION FILED JUNE 12, 1981.

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

v.

GEORGIA BIVINS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. FRANK B. MACHALA, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MEJDA DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a jury trial, defendant was found guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, pars. 9-1 and 8-2) and sentenced to a term of 30 to 90 years.

On appeal, defendant contends that she was: (1) denied due process of law when the court failed to hold a competency hearing to determine her fitness to stand trial; (2) denied a fair trial when the State withheld exculpatory evidence; and (3) denied her right to a speedy trial. We affirm.

In view of the fact that defendant has not raised any question concerning the sufficiency of the evidence, only a brief recitation of the facts is necessary.

In February of 1974, Paul Bivins, the victim, and defendant, Georgia Lee Bivins, were living apart as a result of marital difficulties. On February 23, 1974, defendant and two of her sons, Ricky and Clark Puckett, went to the apartment of Richard Covelli. Besides Covelli, present in the apartment were Covelli's girlfriend Linda and her two children, another woman and a man named Mouse. Defendant had been drinking prior to entering the apartment and had been hospitalized the week before for alcoholic gastritis.

At the apartment defendant stated that she would pay someone to kill her husband. Covelli responded that he knew someone who would do it. Defendant asked Ricky to inquire about the cost. After some discussion, Ricky told defendant that the price would be $300. Defendant agreed to pay a bonus of $200 if the murder was done right. The price was set at $500 and Covelli stated that the murder was guaranteed.

Shortly thereafter Richard Rashid ("Rabbi") arrived at Covelli's apartment. After a private conversation, Covelli and Rabbi agreed to do the killing and defendant gave them $50 as a down payment. At this point everyone left the apartment and went to a bar.

At the bar Ricky drew a diagram of Paul Bivins' office for Covelli. He also gave Covelli a key to the office and a photograph of Paul Bivins.

On the afternoon of February 25, Covelli and Rabbi instructed defendant, her two sons and two other women to go and wait at a bar on Milwaukee Avenue while they went to Paul Bivins' office. After receiving two phone calls at the bar, defendant announced that Paul Bivins had been shot. She gave her son Ricky $450 to give to the person it belonged to and left for the hospital. Ten or fifteen minutes later Covelli arrived at the bar and Ricky gave him the $450. Covelli and Rabbi then described the shooting and told the others where they had hidden the guns. Later Ricky and Clark retrieved the guns and hid them in the basement of their house. Paul Bivins died on February 28, 1974.

Several days later Ricky's father, Edward Puckett, arrived in Chicago to attend the victim's funeral. At that time Ricky informed his father about the shooting. After they reported the incident to the police, defendant was arrested.

Thereafter, the jury found defendant guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. She was sentenced to a term of 30 to 90 years. Defendant appeals.

OPINION

I

Defendant first contends that she was denied due process of law in that the court failed to hold a competency hearing when there was a bona fide ...


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