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People v. Knox





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Peoria County; the Hon. Peter J. Paolucci, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied March 1, 1984.

The defendant, Marvin D. Knox, was charged by indictment with the murder of his wife, Delia Knox. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)(2).) Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Peoria County, the defendant was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment. The defendant filed a timely notice of appeal. The following evidence was presented at trial.

Officer Michael Butterfield of the Peoria Police Department responded to a call at 313 South Western in Peoria County, Illinois, on August 16, 1982. When he arrived, he saw a black male, identified as the defendant, walking out the front door. The defendant had his arms outstretched and his hands were bleeding. Butterfield asked what had happened and the defendant responded, "My wife came at me with a knife. I took it away from her and stabbed her." The defendant was handcuffed.

Officer Richard Johnson arrived at the scene, and the defendant was placed in his squad car. Johnson then went into the house where he found a woman, identified as Delia Knox, lying on a bed in a bedroom. The bedroom was in disarray. A knife was found about 18 inches from the woman.

Paramedics arrived and began to administer first aid to the woman. Johnson returned to his car and read the defendant the Miranda rights. The defendant cooperated with the police.

Officer Craig W. Ganda arrived at the house. He was assigned to the crime scene unit. Ganda observed fresh blood on the sidewalk and in the doorway. He observed the victim on the bed and a great deal of blood on the bed and walls. Before the paramedics removed the woman, Ganda opened her blouse and observed wounds to her body. Ganda found a second, smaller knife in the immediate area of the woman, but its blade was closed.

Ganda was offered as a blood-flight specialist after he stated his qualifications. The defense objected to this offering but was overruled. Ganda then went on to explain that the blood seemed to emanate from a central area. However, in response to a question asked by defense counsel during cross-examination, Ganda said that in his opinion, it appeared the woman was stabbed while lying down on the bed. It also appeared that there were two different blood types in the bedroom.

Delia Knox was treated at St. Francis Hospital. The attending physician found the wounds to be on her left side. She died at 3:30 p.m. on August 16, 1982. It was determined from an autopsy that Knox died as a result of massive blood loss from an injury to her heart.

The defendant told police officers that he was married to Delia Knox for four months. He had moved out of the house the night before the incident. The defendant returned to the house on August 16, 1982, at about 1 p.m. to retrieve some of his belongings. When he tried to remove the Home Box Office (HBO) unit from the television, his wife came at him from behind with a knife. He struggled with her and took the knife away from her. The defendant was aware he cut his wife in the stomach, and he knew he cut her more than twice. His hands were cut, his chin was scratched and his shoulder was injured in the struggle.

The defendant's 14-year-old stepdaughter, Janette Rose, was present during the incident. She testified that the night before her mother and the defendant were arguing. During the argument, the defendant stated, "You know what, I should kill you and myself, too." The police arrived and the defendant left the house.

The next day, August 16, 1982, the defendant returned to pick up his clothes. The defendant took a bag from the refrigerator and went into the bedroom. Delia followed him. Janette was in the living room and although she could not see into the bedroom, she heard her mother say, "Deano, let go of the phone. I am not going to call the police." The defendant came out of the bedroom and went into the kitchen. Janette saw him take a knife from the drawer which he placed behind his leg and then he returned to the bedroom. At that point, Janette left the house to call the police.

Kisha Rose, the defendant's 12-year-old stepdaughter, was also present on the day of the incident. She let the defendant into the house and went upstairs where she observed the defendant go into the kitchen. She heard the refrigerator door open and saw the defendant walk to the bedroom carrying a brown paper bag. She heard her mother say, "Let go of the phone, Deano. I am calling the police." Then the defendant returned to the kitchen, and Kisha heard a drawer open. He walked back into the bedroom with his hands at his side.

Kisha heard her mother and the defendant fighting. Her mother was saying, "Stop, Deano, stop. I love you, Deano, stop." Kisha ran downstairs and saw the defendant pulling a knife out of her mother's side. The defendant was standing while her mother was in a leaning position on the bed. ...

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