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People v. Kellick





Appeal from the Circuit court of St. Clair County, the Hon. John J. Hoban, Judge, presiding.


In a jury trial in the circuit court of St. Clair County, defendant, Scott Kellick, was found guilty of the murder of his half-sister, Jaynee Kellick. Pursuant to section 9-1(d) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 9-1(d)), the court conducted a separate sentencing hearing to determine whether a sentence of death should be imposed, and defendant was subsequently sentenced to death. The trial court stayed imposition of the sentence (87 Ill.2d R. 609(a)) pending direct appeal to this court (Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, sec. 4(b); Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 9-1(i); 87 Ill.2d R. 603).

Testimony from defendant, a St. Clair County deputy sheriff, and various Belleville police officers established that at approximately 4 a.m. on July 17, 1982, defendant went to the St. Clair County sheriff's office to confess to the murder of Jaynee Kellick. The sheriff's office contacted the Belleville police, and two officers were dispatched to transfer defendant to the Belleville police station. Defendant was not interrogated until after he had arrived at the Belleville station and had received Miranda warnings. However, one of the officers responsible for transferring him testified that, although there was no attempt to initiate any conversation, defendant volunteered the following incriminating statements: "I hope they give me the electric chair," and "Will you do me a favor, shoot me." After arrival at the Belleville police station, defendant met with Officers Rokita and Moore, who had been assigned to investigate Jaynee Kellick's murder, was given the Miranda warnings, and signed a typewritten form waiving those rights. Then, according to testimony of the two investigating officers, defendant's responses to their questions were summarized in a written statement, which defendant signed after it was read aloud to him.

According to the statement, defendant was driving his car along North Second Street in Belleville during the early evening hours of July 16, 1982, when he ran out of gas. He had no money to buy gas, so he walked to his maternal grandparents' home at 400 North Second Street, where his sister lived, to borrow money from them. When no one answered his knock and after he saw that their two cars were gone, defendant assumed that they were away for the evening. After entering through an unlocked front door, he called out to announce his presence and, hearing no response, he decided to steal and then sell some of his grandfather's guns. He took a butcher knife from a kitchen drawer, placed it in his back pocket, and then removed a hammer and screwdriver from another drawer to pry open the padlocked closet where he knew the guns were kept. He had just finished prying open the closet lock when he heard a noise and turned to find his sister standing in the doorway, wearing only a T-shirt. She did not speak to him but instead turned and ran upstairs. Defendant ran after her and followed her into her bedroom. He asked whether she was going to tell their grandfather that he had broken into the closet to steal the guns and Jaynee replied that, yes, she was going to tell. Defendant then ordered her to say nothing about the incident and Jaynee, while stepping backward, lost her balance and fell to the floor. Defendant then stabbed her in the neck with the butcher knife he had taken earlier. He began to walk away but, thinking he heard a noise from the victim, returned and stabbed her repeatedly. He then picked up a table and threw it.

Defendant ran back down the stairs to the closet, took three of his grandfather's handguns, placing them and some bullets in a plastic trash bag, and returned the hammer and screwdriver to the drawer where he had found them. He threw the knife outside the kitchen door and, taking the guns with him, walked to his mother's home at 707 North Second. Before entering the house, he set the bag of guns on the lawn and washed the blood from his hands with a garden hose. He then explained to his mother that he had run out of gas and asked to borrow her van. He drove around in the van for a couple of hours before returning to his mother's home, where a group of relatives had gathered after hearing that his sister had been killed. He remained there for an indefinite period of time and then drove to the home of his fiance, Mary Neilson, where he was living. He changed clothes there, and when Mary's child had fallen asleep the couple returned to defendant's mother's house, where relatives were still gathered outside. While Mary was inside the house, defendant told his family that he had murdered Jaynee. When Mary came back outdoors, the two went back to her home and defendant, unable to sleep, told his fiance that he had killed his sister and that he had decided to go to the county jail to confess to the crime.

The court denied defendant's motion to suppress his statement and the case proceeded to trial on October 25, 1982. Testimony from Belleville police officers and photographs admitted into evidence corroborated much of defendant's statement. Officer Klee testified that he was on patrol the evening of July 16 and responded to a call at about 10:30 p.m. directing him to the grandparents' address. There he discovered the victim's body, clad only in a T-shirt and lying in a pool of blood, in a second-floor bedroom. He also observed and photographed an overturned table in the room. Officer Schmulbach testified that he, too, was on patrol in a separate car the evening of July 16 and also went to the grandparents' address in response to a radio dispatch at approximately 10:30 p.m. While investigating the scene, he found and photographed a butcher knife with its blade stuck in the ground near the kitchen door of the grandparents' home. Officer Rokita's testimony also revealed that, after he took defendant's statement, he directed Officer Gramc to further investigate the crime scene.

Officer Gramc stated that he found the hammer and screwdriver in the drawer which defendant had described earlier in the questioning and that he viewed the closet door with the torn hasp. His investigation also revealed a screen missing from a bathroom window, and directly below this window, outside the house, he had found a metal crate, underneath which was a sheet of plastic. He checked both the plastic and the metal crate for footprints and found none. He confirmed that police estimated that the murder occurred between 9:40 p.m. and 10 p.m. on July 16.

Officer Rokita also participated in the investigation. He testified that he found and photographed a garden hose outside defendant's mother's residence. He further stated that on July 17 he recovered a pair of jeans and a pair of boots from defendant's fiance's residence, which were transmitted to the Illinois State Crime Lab, along with samples of defendant's blood and hair. In searching the grandparents' house he noticed that part of the bathroom window had been removed.

St. Clair County coroner, James Radden, testified that blood and hair samples were removed from the victim's body and sent to the State Crime Lab, where they were analyzed by Dennis Aubuchon, a forensic serologist, along with the items Officer Rokita transmitted. Mr. Aubuchon testified that he found blood on the knife discovered outside the grandparents' home and on the boots and jeans recovered from defendant's fiance's residence, and that he detected hair on the knife and jeans. He then performed a whole blood typing on the blood samples from the victim and defendant. The victim's blood was found to be type A and defendant's blood type O. Aubuchon identified the blood found on the knife, jeans and boots as type A blood. He also stated that his testing indicated that the hair found on the knife was similar to the victim's and dissimilar from defendant's.

The last witness to testify for the State was Dr. Beverly Psai, the pathologist who performed the autopsy on the victim's body. She stated that there were 32 stab wounds on the victim's neck, anterior and lateral chest wall and extremities, back and fingers. These wounds varied in length from one-quarter inch to three-and-one-half inches and up to three inches in depth. Dr. Psai further testified that the victim's death was due to acute massive bleeding from the right jugular vein, which had been severed. She also stated that five of the other 31 wounds were life-threatening. Photographs of the victim's body, the knife, the pried-open closet, the drawer containing the hammer and screwdriver, and the garden hose at defendant's mother's home were admitted into evidence, and the State rested.

Defendant then took the stand in his own behalf. He testified that after lunch on July 16 he worked on his car at his mother's home, trying unsuccessfully to fit new rims on his tires, and then drove to his father's house in East St. Louis to ask him for help with the tires. Defendant also asked his father for some amphetamines, which his father did not have, offering him two 750-mg pills of Placidyl instead, a substance which Blakiston's Gould Medical Dictionary describes as a sedative-hypnotic drug, with a "short duration of action" (Blakiston's Gould Medical Dictionary 1057 (1979)). His father also offered him a couple of cans of beer, which defendant accepted before leaving to go back to his mother's. En route to Belleville he took one of the Placidyls. He returned around 4 p.m., worked on his car, left to eat dinner at his fiance's home, and then returned to his mother's to help her move furniture and do further work on his car. He took the second Placidyl and left his mother's again, this time with the intention of stealing a set of tires from the person who sold him the ill-fitting rims.

Defendant was driving his car toward West Main on North Second Street when he ran out of gas. He left his car and began walking toward his grandparents' home at 400 North Second, when two women who lived near his grandparents spotted him and one asked if something was wrong with his car. Defendant explained the situation and continued on to his grandparents' address, where he knocked on the front door, but nobody answered. He then noticed that their cars were gone and, concluding that no one was at home, he began walking back to his mother's. It was then that defendant spotted his father driving a pickup truck. He waved for him to stop and asked to borrow money for gas, but his father told him he had none. Defendant's father asked him if he knew of anyone who had any guns. Defendant at first responded that he did not, but then, upon seeing his car stalled on the street he became angry at being out of gas and without money, so he told his father that his grandpa had some guns and he offered to break into the house to get them. They parked the pickup near the grandparents' home and then walked down an alley that bordered on their backyard. Defendant's father pulled a crate under the bathroom window, which defendant then stood on to remove the screen and jump through the window.

Once inside, defendant shut the window so his grandparents would be less likely to notice the missing screen and as he did so, he was startled by a noise behind him. He then heard his father whispering to him from the kitchen and defendant asked him why he had come in the house. His father told him not to worry about it and directed defendant to get some tools to pry the lock off the closet where the guns were stored. As defendant placed on a table the hammer and screwdriver he had found, he turned and saw his father holding a knife. Defendant asked his father why he had a knife and was again told not to worry about it and asked to find something in which to carry the guns. Defendant found a plastic trash bag in the kitchen and began walking to the bedroom where the guns were kept when he noticed his father walking in the opposite direction, so he asked him where he was going. The response again was not to worry about it and that defendant should "get the guns ...

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