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People v. Kendricks





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Francis J. Mahon, Judge, presiding.


Defendant Herbert Kendricks was charged by indictment with two counts of murder and one count of armed violence. Defendant was tried before a jury which found him guilty of murder and voluntary manslaughter. Judgment was entered on the murder verdict, a sentencing hearing was conducted, and defendant was sentenced to 35 years' imprisonment. Defendant appeals.

Defendant emerged from a lounge at 62d and Ashland in Chicago at about 9:30 or 10:30 p.m. on July 18, 1980. He saw his friends, Tony and Raymond Givens, shooting dice on the corner with Larry Green. Green and Tony began to argue and a fight ensued. Green had Tony pinned on the ground as he beat him. Green jumped up and yelled at defendant, "I told you I was going to get your motherfucking ass." Defendant was standing six to seven feet to the left of Green when Green began approaching him. Green reached behind his back with his right hand. Defendant thought Green was going to shoot him, so he pulled out his own gun and began shooting at Green. Defendant claims he was so frightened that he just continued firing his gun, unaware of whether he had hit Green. In all, four shots were fired. One struck Green in the side of the head, the other struck Green's right buttock. Green was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

Defendant was arrested at his mother's home at 5:30 or 6:30 a.m. on July 19, 1980, and was read the Miranda warnings. Initially, he was questioned concerning a robbery of an Aldi's Food Store. After signing a statement concerning the robbery, he was questioned about the shooting of Larry Green.

At noon or 1 p.m. that same day, defendant was taken to the Fourth District Station, then to the Area 3 station at 1:30 p.m. On the way to Area 3, he was given his Miranda rights, which he said he understood, and he was questioned regarding the shooting.

At the Area 3 station, defendant was again advised of his rights and gave a statement to the police. In this statement, defendant alleged that two unknown men were shooting dice with Green when one of them pulled out a gun and shot Green to death. Defendant also stated that the gun used to shoot Green was given to defendant by Raymond Givens, who had somehow come into possession of the gun.

Based on information given to them by defendant, the interrogators went to defendant's grandmother's house where the murder weapon was discovered.

The interrogators returned to interview defendant at 6 p.m. and again advised him of his rights. At that time, defendant told them that his earlier statement was a lie, and he offered a second version of the shooting of Green. Under this version, Tony and Raymond Givens were shooting dice with Green when Tony and Green began fighting. At this point, Raymond pulled out a gun and shot Green to death. Raymond later went to defendant's grandmother's house and gave defendant the murder weapon.

This interrogation of defendant ended after about an hour. The investigators who had been with defendant on and off during the day went off duty at around midnight on August 20.

At 10 a.m. on August 20, Assistant State's Attorney (hereinafter ASA) Ruber was called in to question defendant. He did so in the presence of two new interrogators after informing defendant of his Miranda rights. Defendant took this opportunity to offer yet a third version of the killing. Under this version, defendant and Green were fighting when a man named Raymond Brooks shot Green. Brooks later gave the murder weapon to defendant for his protection.

ASA Ruber had another conversation with defendant at about 11:30 a.m. at which the original interrogators were present. The questioning stopped when defendant said something to the effect that "I think I might need a lawyer," or "You know, I kind of think I know [sic] a lawyer, don't I." At this point, ASA Ruber left the room.

One of the interrogators took defendant aside, gave him his Miranda rights, and told him that he was making some incredibly contradictory statements and that ASA Ruber was taking them all down. The interrogator told defendant that they knew he was the killer and that he should confess. Defendant broke down, began to cry, and gave a confession to the interrogator.

ASA Ruber was then called back in and was told that defendant was ready to confess to shooting Green. Ruber asked defendant if he wished to talk without an attorney present and defendant stated that he did. A court reporter was called in, and defendant made a sworn statement in which he confessed to shooting Green in a dispute over a "crap" game. Defendant stated that Green was known to be violent and that he shot Green because he thought Green would kill him.

Defendant moved to suppress his confession on the ground that it was elicited despite his alleged invocation of his right ...

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