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People v. Mckibbins





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES M. BAILEY, Judge, presiding.


Following a jury trial, the defendant, Johnny McKibbins, was convicted of murder, armed robbery and armed violence. He was sentenced to concurrent terms of 40 years imprisonment for murder and 30 years imprisonment for armed robbery. No sentence was imposed for the armed violence conviction.

The defendant appeals from these convictions and argues: (1) that he was deprived of a fair trial by lengthy testimony and argument concerning a subsequent offense; (2) that the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to preclude evidence of certain of defendant's prior convictions; and (3) that the sentences imposed by the trial court were excessive.

Prior to trial, the defendant presented two motions in limine to preclude evidence of his involvement in an armed robbery that occurred after the offense for which he was being tried and to preclude evidence of his prior theft convictions. The trial judge denied the former motion because the evidence related to the circumstances of the defendant's arrest on the instant charges and because that evidence related to motive, custom and design. The defendant's second motion was denied because the trial court concluded that the evidence of the defendant's 20 prior theft convictions related to the defendant's credibility.

The defendant was charged by information with the armed robbery and murder of Clinton Hutchinson that occurred on February 14, 1979.

Emma Hutchinson, the victim's wife, testified that her husband was employed at Mid City Parking located at Clinton Street and Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. When her husband left for work at about 5 a.m. on February 14, 1979, he was carrying four dollars in change and a French coin dated 1811 which had a hole in the center. Mrs. Hutchinson identified the coin and pictures of her husband.

Investigator Dennis Murphy, a Chicago police officer, testified that on February 14, 1979, he was assigned to investigate the homicide of Clinton Hutchinson. He found the victim on the floor of a small shack located in the middle of the parking lot. The victim had been shot in the right temple. His pockets were turned inside out and the knees of the victim's pants were soiled. Handcuffs found on the victim's wrists were made in Taiwan and had the word "Stop" stamped on them. Investigator Murphy identified the handcuffs at trial.

Investigator Murphy further testified that on February 16, 1979, he was assigned to investigate a police shooting at a jewelry store located at 1429 Milwaukee Avenue. While at the store, he spoke to Officer James Kehoe, who showed him a French coin with a hole drilled in the center. The coin had been taken from one of the offenders. At the police station Investigator Murphy questioned the defendant, who was one of the jewelry store offenders. The defendant denied any knowledge of the Hutchinson homicide but did give a statement regarding the jewelry store incident and the shooting of the police officer.

On February 17, 1979, the defendant gave a second statement to Investigator Murphy. The defendant stated that on February 14, 1979, he was driving his car and he picked up Matthews and Brown and drove to 305 North Milwaukee Avenue to rob a parking lot. Matthews and Brown had handguns and handcuffs. The defendant parked his car on the street near the lot, while the other two men went into the parking lot shack with guns. A short while later, Brown and Matthews ran back to the car; and as the defendant drove away, Matthews stated he was "pissed off" because there wasn't enough money and because "they had to burn the guy." Brown showed the defendant a coin that he had taken. The coin had a hole in it.

Assistant State's Attorney Jay Magnuson corroborated the testimony of Investigator Murphy regarding the statement given by the defendant on February 17, 1979, at 4 a.m.

Officer William Jaconetti of the Chicago Police Department testified that on February 16, 1979, while on foot patrol, he responded to a robbery call at Phillips Jewelers located at 1429 North Milwaukee Avenue. When he arrived at the store, he saw James Matthews, who was standing to the left side of the front door, pull a revolver from his waistband and point it at the back of Officer Louis Trafillio's head. Jaconetti testified that he told Matthews to "hold it" but Matthews turned and fired his gun at Jaconetti. The bullet blew the zipper off Jaconetti's jacket, travelled through the lining and exited from the side panel. Jaconetti, in return, fired his gun and struck Matthews. He then peered through the store window and saw the defendant crouched behind a counter. He ordered the defendant to throw out his gun. The defendant did so and was arrested. Officer Jaconetti testified that there were nine hostages lying on the floor behind the counters and in the back room of the jewelry store.

Harold Phillips, the co-owner of Phillips Jewelers, testified that three men entered the store at about 10:50 a.m. on February 16, 1979. Brown held a handgun and announced a holdup. The defendant and the third man went by the watch and ring counters and began emptying the trays of jewelry into bags. The store employees and customers were ordered to lie on the floor. Phillips got down on the floor, and about five minutes later, heard gunshots. He stood up when the police arrived.

Officer James Kehoe of the Chicago Police Department, testified that he also responded to the robbery alarm at 1429 North Milwaukee on February 16, 1979. He heard the radio call that shots had been fired and that a policeman had been shot. When Kehoe arrived, Matthews was lying on the ground outside the store with a gun in his hand. Kehoe recovered the gun and then went inside the store. The defendant and Brown were standing behind counters. The defendant had his hands raised. Two ski caps and a pair of handcuffs were on a jewelry counter and a gun, brown bag, ski cap and second set of handcuffs were on the floor. The bag contained United States currency, watches, rings, a handkerchief, a white work glove and a surgical glove. The two pairs of handcuffs had the word "Stop," the manufacturer's name, on them. When Officer Kehoe searched Brown before putting him in the police wagon, he found a foreign coin that had a hole in it.

Investigator William Baldree of the Chicago Police Department testified that he was assigned to the Hutchinson case on February 17, 1979. He interviewed the defendant at approximately 1:30 a.m. on that date regarding the defendant's involvement in the case. The statement given by the defendant to Investigator Baldree coincided with the statement given to Investigator Murphy. The defendant also told ...

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