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People v. Daugherty





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Pike County, the Hon. Cecil J. Burrows, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied September 28, 1984.

At a jury trial in the circuit court of Pike County the defendant, Randy Daugherty, and his co-defendant, Clarence Hargis, were found guilty of the armed robbery and murder of Richard Dark. The defendant was sentenced to death for the murder and appeals directly to this court (87 Ill.2d R. 603). Hargis was sentenced to a term of natural life and appealed to the appellate court. People v. Hargis (1983), 118 Ill. App.3d 1064.

The prosecution's case consisted of circumstantial evidence linking the defendant and Hargis to the robbery and murder of Dark. Members of Dark's family testified that after September 5, 1981, they had not seen him alive. Three witnesses testified that on that date they saw Dark in the company of the defendant and Hargis at various locations. The three were last seen together at the Spot Tavern in Barry, Illinois, where the defendant and Hargis began playing pool about 8:30 in the evening while Dark sat at a table. After completing their game, the defendant and Hargis sat down and talked quietly at a table separate from Dark, and the bartender testified that whenever she approached the two would become silent. The bartender stated that Dark left the tavern with the defendant and Hargis at about 10:30 p.m. She also testified that the defendant was wearing a grey sweater which was admitted into evidence.

On the following day, the defendant and Hargis were seen together in Dark's car, but Dark was not with them. Billy Clark testified that on that day he first saw the defendant and Hargis at noon in Pittsfield. About an hour later he and a friend were out driving and they saw Hargis. They gave him a ride and then picked up the defendant and drove to a parking lot in New Salem where Dark's car was parked.

Clark testified that Dark's car would not start, and so the defendant and Hargis gathered a grey sweater and two pairs of blue jeans from the back seat, placed them in a paper bag, and transferred them to the trunk of Clark's car. Clark identified the grey sweater admitted in evidence as the sweater that was transferred to his car, and testified that when the defendant and Hargis took it out of Dark's car, it appeared to have bloodstains on it. Another witness later saw the defendant soaking this sweater. Clark also testified that each pair of blue jeans also had blood on them.

Dark's family thought he was leaving to visit relatives, so they did not contact the authorities immediately upon his disappearance. However, after a week they became suspicious, especially after a family friend reported that Dark's car had been abandoned in the New Salem parking lot. When the family notified authorities of Dark's disappearance, the police had his car towed in for investigation. They found bloodstains on the carpet and on a seat-belt bracket inside the car. They also found two of the defendant's personal checks, one of which was made out to Hargis.

After finding the checks and interviewing the witnesses who related the movements of the defendant and Hargis on September 5 and 6, the police began looking for them in connection with Dark's disappearance. Hargis talked with the officers several times, and then came into the State Police headquarters at Pittsfield and had another conversation. On this occasion, Hargis drew a map and accompanied police officers to a remote field on a gravel road where Dark's body and wallet were found at the bottom of a well. The wallet contained his identification, but none of the proceeds of the social security check he had reportedly received two days before his disappearance. After viewing the body, the officers and Hargis continued down the road until they stopped at a bridge where an officer found a closed folding knife on the creek bed beneath the bridge. At trial Clark testified that he had seen the defendant with this knife during the summer of 1981.

A doctor who performed an autopsy determined that Dark had received five knife wounds, four in the chest and one in the abdomen. The doctor concluded that only one of these had caused his death — a chest wound that had penetrated the aorta.

Neither the defendant nor Hargis presented any evidence on his own behalf during the guilt phase. After the prosecution elected to seek the death penalty for both defendants, they waived a jury for the sentencing hearing. At the first phase of the hearing the prosecution's position was that it would prove the defendant eligible for the death penalty because the murder of Dark occurred in the course of the felony of armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 9-1(b)(6) (subsection 6)) and because the defendant had previously been convicted of another murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 9-1(b)(3) (subsection 3)). The prosecution sought the death penalty for Hargis only on the first ground. A certified copy of the defendant's conviction for an unrelated murder was admitted into evidence. (See 112 Ill. App.3d 541.) Statements made by the defendant to law-enforcement officers as well as statements made by Hargis were also admitted. The court declared that it would consider each statement as an admission only against the person making it in order to avoid any constitutional objection under the confrontation clause. U.S. Const., amend. VI.

In the defendant's first statement, he admitted driving around with Dark and Hargis on September 5. The defendant claimed that during their travels Hargis had asked for the defendant's knife because he intended "to stab or kill * * * Dark and get his money." The defendant gave Hargis the knife, not believing that he would really go through with his plan. Later, when Dark stopped the car so that they could relieve themselves the defendant stood apart from Dark and Hargis. Turning around, he heard Hargis yell, "Randy, finish it." The defendant, at first, did not understand what Hargis meant, but then he saw Dark bend over clutching his stomach and fall. The defendant thought that Hargis momentarily lost the knife, but found it again and stabbed Dark several more times. After it was over, Hargis said to the defendant, "Didn't think I'd do it, did you?" and the defendant replied, "No." The defendant also maintained that there had not been any prearranged plan to rob Dark, and that he had not stabbed the victim during the incident. After the murder, Hargis took $13 from Dark's wallet and gave $6 to the defendant. They then disposed of the body and the knife, and changed clothes.

The defendant made a later statement to a polygraph examiner who was employed by the State. This statement essentially confirmed the defendant's prior statement except that he admitted "poking" the victim at least once after Hargis dropped the knife. The defendant insisted, however, that he had not "killed" Dark.

In his first statement Hargis also admitted that he and the defendant were with Dark on September 5. Hargis, however, stated that at the Spot Tavern he and the defendant had a serious argument over the pool game. Later, when Dark stopped the car, Hargis and the defendant began quarreling again. When Dark attempted to break up the altercation, the defendant stabbed him. Hargis stated that the defendant put the body into the car and disposed of it in the well, and discarded the knife in the creek.

In a second statement made to the polygraph examiner, Hargis said that after Dark pulled off the road the scuffle the defendant got into was with Dark, and not himself. As he intervened to stop the quarrel, Hargis accidentally stabbed ...

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