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People v. Ford





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. William Cousins, Judge, presiding.


Defendant, James E. Ford, appeals his conviction for murder and armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a), 18-2(a)) and raises the following issues for review: (1) whether the trial court erred in not giving an instruction to the jury explaining that a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity results in a hearing to determine whether he is subject to involuntary commitment and (2) whether the trial court erred in not granting his motion for a mistrial where statements made by the prosecutor were improper and prejudicial, and denied him a fair trial.

We affirm.

The facts of this case are unrebutted. Testimony at trial established the following.

John Rimkus, a Chicago policeman, testified that on October 24, 1979, at about 11:15 p.m., he went to the subway station at 30 South Dearborn Street, in Chicago, Illinois, in response to a radio message. He saw a man, later identified as Joseph Ardell, lying in a pool of blood on the subway platform. Ardell was dead with stab wounds on his neck. There was no money in his wallet.

Austin Ware, a Chicago policeman, testified that at about 4:10 a.m. on October 25, 1979, he was in the subway station at 128 North State Street in Chicago. He saw five people exiting a subway train and shouting that a crazy man was aboard. When Ware boarded the train, he saw two men pushing each other, one of whom was the defendant. The other person, who was older than defendant, said that defendant was crazy and was threatening him. Ware pulled defendant off the train, and, during a protective search, he discovered a bloodstained knife in defendant's pocket. Ware advised defendant of his Miranda rights; he observed blood on defendant's trousers and shoes. When Ware asked defendant about the blood on his clothes, defendant gave various stories: first he said he had been cutting chickens at home; then he said his mouth was bleeding, that his head had been "busted," and finally he said he had been assisting a man on the "el" who had been cut about the face and neck.

After Ware took defendant to the police station, a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) pass with the name "John Wahlund" was taken from defendant and also money which had blood on it. Ware observed that defendant had been drinking but was not intoxicated.

Robert M. Kirschner, a forensic pathologist and deputy medical examiner for Cook County, performed an autopsy on the victim on October 25, 1979. The victim's death was caused by stab wounds to the neck.

John Markham, a Chicago police detective, had conversations with defendant on October 25, 1979. After Miranda warnings were given to him, defendant stated that while he was in the subway a man said, "Hey, baby," and patted defendant's behind. Defendant pulled out a knife and stabbed the man. Markham stated that defendant was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs when he made the statement.

Bernadett Kwak, a microanalyst for the Chicago police department, stated that the stains on defendant's clothes, the knife and the money were blood.

John Wahlund testified that he was robbed in a subway station on October 14, 1979, at 3:50 a.m. A man grabbed him from behind and held a knife against his neck. The offender took Wahlund's CTA pass and $50.

James Linn, an assistant State's Attorney, described the circumstances surrounding the taking of defendant's confession and then read the statement to the jury. After the State rested, two witnesses testified for the defense.

Dr. Bobby Wright, a clinical psychologist and director of the Garfield Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center, testified as an expert witness. He administered psychological tests to defendant and concluded that defendant suffered from alcoholism dependency. In Dr. Wright's opinion, there was a reasonable doubt whether defendant possessed substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his behavior to the requirements of law.

Geraldine Galvin testified that she has known defendant for approximately 10 years, that she and defendant lived together for about a year, and that defendant is the father of her child. The witness stated that defendant often became violent after ...

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