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People v. Dewit





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Arthur J. Cieslik, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied May 29, 1984.

Defendant, Paul DeWit, following a jury trial, was found guilty but mentally ill on the charge of murder. He was sentenced to 22 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. On appeal, defendant raises the following issues: (1) whether the statute permitting a jury to find a defendant who has raised the insanity defense to be guilty but mentally ill (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 115-4(j)) is unconstitutional on its face and as applied to defendant; (2) whether the defendant was denied a fair trial by repeated instances of prosecutorial misconduct; and (3) whether the prosecution and the court improperly withheld discovery material from the defense in violation of Supreme Court Rule 412. 87 Ill.2d R. 412.

Defendant was charged by indictment with the stabbing death of Everett Clark on September 9, 1980. The victim, a 68-year-old drama coach, was found stabbed to death in his studio at the Fine Arts Building, 410 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.


At trial, Ann Lang testified on behalf of the State that she was an artist and used a studio next door to Everett Clark's studio on the 10th floor of the 410 South Michigan building. On September 9, 1980, at approximately 2:15 p.m., Clark stopped by her studio to chat for a few minutes. Later, Lang heard Clark's voice cry out, "No, Paul, God, no, Paul." At the time Land did not think anything was wrong since she often heard Clark's voice during his drama lessons. Lang testified that at about 7:30 that evening, she received a telephone call from Peter Orr, the man with whom Clark shared an apartment. Orr was concerned that Clark had not returned home yet. Lang got the elevator operator to open Clark's studio. The operator discovered Clark's body and Lang called the police.

Mayhen Rhodes testified that he is a violin restorer employed by a violin dealer located next door to Clark's studio. On September 9, 1980, when he was returning from lunch, Rhodes rode the elevator to the tenth floor with Clark. When the elevator doors opened, someone, whom Rhodes took to be a student of Clark's, approached the elevator and greeted Clark. At trial, Rhodes identified the defendant as the man who greeted Clark. Rhodes testified that he recognized defendant as one of Clark's students who would sit on a bench outside Clark's studio waiting for the drama lesson to begin. Rhodes walked down the hall behind Clark and defendant. As Rhodes reached the door of the violin shop, defendant asked Rhodes if he was Clark's student. Rhodes answered that he was not. A few minutes later, Rhodes was talking to a co-worker when the co-worker called his attention to someone moving across the window ledge outside the tenth floor. Rhodes saw that it was defendant. Rhodes watched defendant move eastward along the ledge until he came to a fire escape. Rhodes testified that the width of the ledge varied from seven to 18 inches.

Testimony by members of the Chicago police department indicated that defendant and several other of the victim's students with the name "Paul" were questioned in connection with the stabbing. Officer Murphy testified that he interviewed defendant in defendant's apartment on the afternoon following the murder. Defendant denied knowing Everett Clark. Murphy asked defendant if he would submit to a lineup. Defendant said he would cooperate but he had to attend a night school class that evening and would contact the officers when his class was over. Murphy testified that defendant appeared normal, understood their conversation and gave responsive answers to their questions. Murphy noticed nothing that would indicate that defendant was insane. The police set up surveillance in the lobby of defendant's building to see if defendant would leave for his night school class. Defendant did not leave the apartment until 8 a.m. the following morning, at which time he was arrested. Murphy also testified that at about 1 a.m. on September 10, Edward Mogul called the police station and said that he had been defendant's attorney in the past. Mogul said that he had heard news reports that someone named Paul had killed Everett Clark, that his client Paul DeWit had been a student of Clark's and that DeWit had been acting violently of late.

Detective Hood of the Chicago police department testified that he interviewed defendant following defendant's arrest. Hood testified that after he told defendant his constitutional rights, defendant confessed to the murder. Defendant said that he had been a student of Clark's for about four months. Defendant told Hood that he went to Clark's studio on that day to kill Clark because Clark deserved to die. Defendant said that he got to Clark's studio at about 1 p.m. and waited for Clark to return. Clark told defendant that he could no longer help defendant in his career. Defendant pushed Clark to the floor and stabbed him with a scissors that defendant had brought from home. Defendant then fled along the window ledge to the fire escape. Defendant also told Hood that he was not insane.

Defendant's father, Cornelius DeWit, testified that his son was born in 1959. While in high school, his son was involved with drugs and had "quite a few brushes with the law." Defendant and his family went to several counseling sessions but the sessions were not helpful because defendant would not communicate with his family. After defendant graduated from high school, his father got him a job in an automobile plant as a production worker. Defendant worked there for six months, saved his money and then quit. Defendant moved to Chicago. He told his father that he was modeling and working as a waiter. Defendant continued to visit home weekly.

Mr. DeWit testified that throughout 1979 he thought that defendant had "straightened out," but in the early part of 1980 he noticed a drastic change. In his father's opinion, defendant's appearance changed from well dressed to unkempt and sloppy. Defendant had a very negative view toward life. Defendant's father described an incident in July 1980, when defendant attempted suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in the garage of the family home. When he was revived, defendant told his father that nobody loved him, that he feared for his life and that the mafia had a contract out on his life. Defendant left a note which said that his brothers were beating up on him and his mother tried to kill him. Mr. DeWit arranged for defendant to see the family doctor who suggested that defendant see a psychiatrist. Mr. DeWit did not arrange for his son to see a psychiatrist. After that incident, defendant did not visit home again.

On August 10, 1980, the DeWits went to see their son at his apartment. He was not home so they went to the restaurant where he said he worked. No one at the restaurant had ever heard of defendant. They returned to his apartment building and found defendant. Mr. DeWit confronted defendant with his lie and asked defendant if he worked as a prostitute. Defendant admitted that he did. His parents asked defendant to come home but defendant said he could not because he was going to California. A few days later, Mr. DeWit received a call from defendant. Defendant said that he was in California and that he could not find a job and all his friends were gone. Mr. DeWit characterized defendant as "completely hysterical." He was crying and said he had no money. Mr. DeWit sent him money.

Mr. DeWit next heard from his son on September 8, 1980. Defendant was calling from the police station. He said he was locked up for getting himself in a fight. When Mr. DeWit bailed his son out, defendant said that he had gotten in a fight because his manager owed him $750,000 under circumstances too difficult to explain.

Defendant's roommate, Allen Brown, age 42, testified in response to defense counsel's questions that he had run a call-boy ring and that defendant was one of the prostitutes who worked for Brown. Brown had met defendant in the health club where defendant worked out. Defendant lived with Brown from autumn 1978 to August 1980. Brown testified that when he first met defendant, defendant was a friendly, pleasant person. Around May 1980, however, Brown began to notice a change in defendant's personality. On several occasions, Brown found defendant crying. Defendant would tell Brown that various people were trying to kill him: his parents, the people at the gym, the mafia and Brown himself. In May 1980, Brown and defendant took a trip to New York. When they returned, defendant told Brown that producers were following him to get him to sign a contract for a movie but he did not want to sign.

Brown noticed that defendant was restless and unable to concentrate. Previously, defendant had shown concern for his appearance, but he began to "let himself go." Brown testified that in August 1980 he was unable to cope with defendant any longer so he told defendant to go to California. Defendant left for California in mid-August and three days later called Brown. He told Brown that he was at the top of a building and wanted to jump but did not have the nerve. He also said that he wanted to come back. Brown refused to let him. A few days later, defendant came to the apartment and told Brown that he was going to live there. When Brown threatened to call the police, defendant said he would kill Brown if he did. Defendant moved back into the apartment.

One night, Brown returned to the apartment and discovered that both he and defendant were locked out. Brown suggested that they sleep on a patio they had constructed on the fire escape outside their apartment. Defendant jumped off the fire escape and holding on to the railing, started swinging and broke through the window to their apartment. Brown testified that although he told the police at the time that he thought defendant was intoxicated, he now believes that defendant was not intoxicated but was crazy. Shortly after that incident, Brown moved out.

Robert LaMonto testified that he met defendant in 1978, at which time it was apparent to him that defendant was a troubled person and that he "basically lacked direction." LaMonto tried to give defendant a little guidance. He took defendant to lunch and shopping several times. LaMonto found, however, that defendant wanted to "occupy a large amount of [his] time." LaMonto told defendant that they could not spend any more time together. Defendant told LaMonto that he was going to California for an acting job and that ended their friendship.

LaMonto testified that in May 1980 he again met defendant at the gym where LaMonto worked out. LaMonto told defendant that they could not socialize outside of the gym. LaMonto testified that as the summer wore on defendant became belligerent toward him and frequently called his apartment. On September 6, 1980, defendant went to LaMonto's apartment. When LaMonto's roommate, Brian Riley, told defendant that LaMonto was not home, defendant forced his way into the apartment and attacked Riley. At approximately 11 a.m. on September 8, 1981, defendant again came to LaMonto's apartment. LaMonto told him to leave, but defendant started coming through the door with a sledge hammer. LaMonto "rushed" him and forced defendant into the hallway of the apartment building. Defendant accused LaMonto, without basis, of cheating defendant out of $750,000. Defendant was very angry and appeared to believe his story. The police arrived and arrested defendant. Defendant told them that LaMonto had stolen money from him, was a mafia killer and tried to kill defendant. LaMonto testified that defendant told him that "nothing matters now. Next time, I'll be back with a gun."

Brian Riley, LaMonto's roommate, testified that when defendant came to the apartment on September 6, Riley told him that LaMonto was not home. Defendant then knocked Riley down and threw apartment furniture at him. Riley testified that defendant appeared highly excited and in a rage. When a neighbor came to the door, defendant fled. Riley testified that the apartment was "in a shambles."

Chicago police officer Michael O'Brien testified that he responded to a call concerning the fight between defendant and LaMonto on the morning of September 8, 1980. When O'Brien and his partner arrived on the scene they broke up the fight and restrained defendant. O'Brien testified that defendant appeared to be in a rage. Defendant eventually calmed down at which time his appearance and actions became normal. Defendant told the officer that he was LaMonto's former roommate, that LaMonto had cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars and that he had come to reclaim his personal items.

Officer Karen Dollan testified that she spoke with defendant following his arrest for attacking LaMonto. Defendant asked Dollan general questions about procedure. He then told Dollan that "he had come to the decision that maybe he should kill someone." Dollan told defendant that murder is always wrong and defendant agreed. Dollan also stated that she did not believe that defendant was insane. She also testified that she spoke to LaMonto and LaMonto told her that he and defendant had been lovers once and defendant was now jealous of LaMonto's new lover.

Stanley Washington testified that he met defendant at a health club in November 1979. At that time defendant was friendly and nonviolent. By the summer of 1980, however, Washington noticed that defendant was ...

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