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People v. Stewart





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas Fitzgerald, Judge, presiding.


Defendant, Aaron Stewart, following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, was convicted of two counts of attempt murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, pars. 8-4, 9-1), aggravated battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 12-4), armed violence (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 33A-2) and unlawful use of weapons (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 24-1). He was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment for one attempt murder, 15 years for the second, and three years for unlawful use of weapons; the sentences to run concurrently. The convictions for armed violence and aggravated battery were merged into the attempt murder convictions.

On appeal defendant contends (1) the trial court erred in admitting the victim's bloody clothing into evidence; (2) the court erred in admitting into evidence testimony regarding the nature and extent of the victim's injuries and medical treatment; (3) he was denied the effective assistance of counsel when his attorney failed to call several witnesses to testify in support of his intoxication defense and when his attorney allegedly "abdicated" defendant's defense and "admitted" his guilt during closing argument and (4) because defendant lacked the requisite mental states required to prove the offenses charged, he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

At trial the State called Carol Jackson who testified: on June 19, 1981, she was in a pizza parlor on 61st Street (near King Drive) in Chicago with a friend. There were approximately three other male patrons in the parlor. Defendant entered the parlor and spoke with two of the other customers, left, and returned a minute or two later carrying a shotgun. Defendant then walked out the door. He was not swaying and had no difficulty in talking or walking. She subsequently identified defendant in a lineup.

On cross-examination Ms. Jackson denied telling a defense investigator that while in the pizza parlor defendant was "ranting and raving" and that he was not acting in a rational way.

Police officers William Phillippo and Eugene Domuret each testified that on June 19, 1981, they were in uniform and responded to a reported disturbance at 6100 South King Drive (near the pizza parlor) at about 2:50 a.m. While talking to the complainant, they heard noises sounding like two gunshots. They called for assistance and then walked toward the source of the noises. They saw a man holding a sawed-off shotgun standing in front of a pizza parlor at 352 East 61st Street. They identified defendant as the man with the gun.

The gunman entered the pizza parlor and exited again. Domuret yelled "stop, police." The gunman crouched behind a car, stood up and fired the shotgun. Phillippo was struck and fell; blood "poured" from his head, ears and chest. The gunman ran some 15 feet and fired again. No one was hit. Domuret fired a shot at the gunman. The gunman fired again. Domuret then went to Phillippo's aid.

After Phillippo was taken to the hospital, Domuret went to the pizza parlor, questioned the patrons and searched them for weapons. He found four spent shells in front of the pizza parlor.

Police officer Robert Peron testified that on the night in question he observed a black male move across the roof of a building in the vicinity of the incident. He identified defendant as that person. Defendant was sitting on the roof, dangling his feet over the side of the building. He was not wearing shoes or socks. When ordered to come down, he slid down the chain of a sign on the building and then dropped approximately 12 feet to the ground. He was arrested.

Robert Reese, a mobile lab technician with the police department, testified that he was given some shotgun shells at the scene of the crime for analysis. From the roof of a building adjoining the one where defendant was discovered, he recovered a sawed-off shotgun with a live round in it.

Officer Lomoro of the Chicago Crime Lab division testified that he examined the shotgun and shells recovered and determined that two of the shells positively were fired from the recovered shotgun. He could not make a positive identification of the remaining shells.

Officer Phillippo testified regarding his hospitalization, treatment and therapy.

For the defendant, Carol Jackson testified that in 1981 she was placed on court supervision for solicitation for prostitution. She understood that her supervision could be revoked and she could be jailed if she was charged with other offenses while on supervision. On cross-examination she stated she had not been threatened by the State or coerced to testify.

Leroy Peters testified that at the time of the shooting, defendant and his girl friend had been living at Peters' apartment for about three months. In May of 1981 defendant had been having trouble with his girl friend and began drinking. On the day before the shooting, Peters, defendant and defendant's girl friend were drinking heavily. At about 2 a.m. (approximately 24 hours before the shooting) Peters had ordered defendant ...

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