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People v. Wright





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Coles County, the Hon. Paul C. Komada, Judge, presiding. JUSTICE MORAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, Patrick H. Wright, was charged by information, in the circuit court of Coles County, with the offenses of murder, attempted murder, home invasion, residential burglary, attempted rape, and armed robbery. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(a)(1), 9-1(a)(2), 9-1(a)(3), 8-4(a), 11-1, 12-11, 19-3, 18-2(a).) Defendant's motion for a change of venue was allowed, and the cause was subsequently tried in Edgar County. Following a jury trial, the defendant was found guilty on all counts. A jury proceeding, for purposes of sentencing, was waived, and the parties agreed to a single death penalty hearing before the court. Pursuant to sections 9-1(d) and 9-1(h) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(d), 9-1(h)), the court, upon evidence adduced at trial and stipulated to by the prosecution and defense, made a first-stage finding of a statutory aggravating factor (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 9-1(b)(6)). Although finding that the murder was committed while the defendant was under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance, the court concluded that the presence of that statutory mitigating factor (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 9-1(c)(2)) alone was insufficient to preclude a sentence of death. The court thereupon sentenced defendant to death on the murder conviction and also pronounced maximum concurrent sentences of 60 years' imprisonment for home invasion, armed robbery and attempted murder and 30 years' imprisonment for each of two counts of attempted rape. Defendant's motion for a new trial was denied, and he brings a direct appeal to this court (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 9-1(i); Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, sec. 4(b); 87 Ill.2d R. 603), alleging numerous errors at all stages of the proceedings.

Through an audio taped statement, made by the defendant and played before the jury, it was revealed that late in the evening of June 6, 1983, defendant entered the Mattoon, Illinois, apartment of Carol Specht and her daughter Connie. He stated that his plan was to burglarize the dwelling. Prior to entering the apartment the defendant, by peering through several windows, ascertained that at least one woman was at home, asleep on the couch. He decided that he would not curtail his plans because of the woman's presence. He reasoned that "if she gives me any trouble, I'll do away with her."

Carrying a flashlight and a fillet knife, the defendant entered the apartment through an open sliding glass door in Carol Specht's bedroom. He proceeded into the living room, where Carol Specht was asleep on the couch. Defendant put a knife to her neck as she began to awaken and forced her into her bedroom, where he tried unsuccessfully to rape her. He then bound and gagged the victim and began searching for money and other valuables. After putting several photographs and other items of personal property found in the victim's purse, wallet and dresser drawer in his pocket, defendant began searching the rest of the apartment.

During this search he discovered Connie Specht, asleep in her bedroom. Connie awakened, and the defendant asked her who she was and what her relationship was to Carol Specht. He then forced Connie into her mother's bedroom, telling her that he would kill her mother if she did not cooperate. Defendant abused Connie sexually but was unable to rape her. He stated that he slashed Connie Specht's throat when she appeared to be begging for mercy. When he observed that the first cut was relatively small, he slashed her two more times in an attempt to rupture the jugular vein. He then began to inflict the stab wounds to Carol Specht's back which caused her death.

As the defendant left the apartment, he stumbled and lost his glasses. In an attempt to locate the glasses, he reached for his flashlight and discovered that it was missing. He reentered the apartment to search for the flashlight and observed Connie Specht phoning for help. Unable to find the flashlight, defendant fled from the scene.

At trial, the testimony of Connie Specht was consistent with the statement made by the defendant. The State, in its case in chief, also adduced the testimony of a number of other witnesses and introduced numerous exhibits into evidence. Because the facts of this case are not disputed, aside from the mental condition of the defendant at the time of the crime, the substance of this evidence will be recited only where necessary to a disposition of the issues.

The question of defendant's mental condition at the time he performed the acts giving rise to this action was raised, at trial, by the defense. The basic premise of this defense was that the psychosexual disorder involving shoe fetishism, from which defendant had long suffered, compelled his behavior and rendered him insane at the time he performed the acts in question. In support of this theory, the defendant, testifying on his own behalf, recalled a troubled childhood involving physical abuse and a 15-year period of institutionalization in mental hospitals necessitated by his psychosexual disorder. Defendant was first institutionalized at the age of 15. Defendant further testified that following this period of institutionalization he was repeatedly involved in criminal activity. As a result, he spent the majority of the next nine years in prison.

In contradiction to his taped statement, wherein he stated that he broke into the Specht apartment for money and jewelry, defendant testified at trial that he was really looking for women's shoes but was ashamed to admit this to the policemen during his taped statement. Also in variance with his taped statement was his claim, on cross-examination, that he did not remember stabbing Carol Specht. In fact, on both direct examination and cross-examination defendant testified that, because of his mental condition, he was unable to control his actions during the incident.

A psychiatrist, Dr. William Fowler, testified as a rebuttal witness for the State. It was his opinion, after interviewing the defendant and considering police reports, the audio taped confession, and materials from previous incarcerations, that the defendant was not suffering from a mental disease at the time of the offense. Dr. Fowler stated that the defendant had probably never suffered from a mental illness. He characterized defendant's condition as a personality or psychosexual disorder.

The jurors were provided forms for verdicts of not guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity, guilty but mentally ill, and guilty for each of the charged offenses. They were instructed that the State, in addition to proving all of the elements of each of the charged offenses, was required to prove that the defendant was sane at the time of each of the offenses. In addition, the jurors were instructed that to find the defendant insane, and hence not criminally responsible for his conduct, they would have to conclude that because of a mental defect the defendant did not appreciate the criminality of his conduct or was unable to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. Further, they were instructed that "mentally ill" refers to a substantial disorder of thought, mood, or behavior which impairs a person's judgment at the time of the commission of an offense but not to the extent that he could not appreciate the wrongfulness of his behavior or conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. Rejecting defendant's insanity defense, as well as the guilty-but-mentally-ill alternative, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts.

At the sentencing hearing, the court found that the defendant had attained the age of 18 years or more at the time of the offense and that Carol Specht was killed during the course of another felony. During the second stage of the hearing, the defendant offered the testimony of a psychiatrist, Dr. Arthur Traugott, in mitigation. Dr. Traugott opined that while defendant was able to appreciate the wrongfulness of his behavior and conform his conduct to the requirements of the law, at the time of the offense, he was suffering from a mental illness which had an "overpowering influence" in determining his actions on the evening in question.

The court expressly found the presence of one statutory mitigating factor — "the murder was committed while the defendant was under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance, although not such as to constitute a defense to prosecution." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 9-1(c)(2).) The court also concluded, however, that the mitigating factor was insufficient to preclude the sentence of death, and thereafter defendant was sentenced to death.

We consider first the defendant's contention that his warrantless arrest was not supported by probable cause. Prior to trial, defendant moved to quash his arrest and suppress evidence. The following facts were revealed at the suppression hearing. Defendant testified that at approximately 2 a.m. on June 7, 1983, he was out walking in Mattoon when he was stopped by a city police officer in a squad car. After producing identification, the defendant was told he was free to go. Shortly thereafter, however, he was stopped by three officers in three squad cars. Defendant was searched and handcuffed and transported to the Mattoon police department. Defendant stated that no arrest warrant was produced nor was he told that the officers had an arrest warrant.

Four police officers testified at the hearing. Officer Doug Heath stated that while on routine patrol on June 7, 1983, he was notified, at approximately 1:45 a.m. of a possible homicide. He arrived at the crime scene, where he was informed, by Sergeant Orville Brown, that there had been a homicide and an attempted homicide. He was advised that the surviving victim had described the perpetrator as a six-foot-tall white male with facial hair. In addition, he was told, by Sergeant Brown, that a pair of black-rimmed eyeglasses had been located which had tentatively been linked to the defendant. Officer Heath testified that he was familiar with the defendant, having encountered him at the police station on several occasions in the recent past. He further stated that defendant had always been wearing eyeglasses when he had seen him.

Officer Heath proceeded on his patrol of the area. Traffic was very light, and the officer observed only one woman before he spotted the defendant walking on a public street at approximately 1:50 a.m. Heath stated that he initially stopped the defendant for an identification check and then told him he was free to go. After receiving authorization from Assistant Chief Robert O'Dell, Heath again stopped the defendant, searched him, put him in handcuffs and, with the help of Lieutenant Stewart Walters, put him into the squad car and took him to the police station. Defendant was not wearing eyeglasses, and no eyeglasses were found on his person.

On cross-examination, Officer Heath admitted that he did not include the description of defendant or the information regarding the eyeglasses in his written police report. His report only stated that he was told that defendant was a possible suspect. Nevertheless, Officer Heath adhered to his testimony that he was provided with this information prior to the time he picked up the defendant.

The testimony of Lieutenant Stewart Walters indicates that he was called to the crime scene at 12:41 a.m. on June 7, 1983. As he approached the scene he observed a woman, later identified as Connie Specht, in the parking lot crying and yelling for help. Officers Carl Smith and Roger Claxon arrived at the same time. Lieutenant Walters testified that Connie Specht, who was holding her neck, was covered with blood. When Walters asked her what had happened she told him that a man in his mid-30's with dark hair, glasses and facial hair had harmed her and her mother. The three officers entered the apartment and discovered the body of Carol Specht.

Lieutenant Walters also testified as to the arrival of Assistant Chief Robert O'Dell and Detective David Plummer. The assistant chief briefly surveyed the scene and as he was leaving instructed Lieutenant Walters to secure the area. During Walter's search of the rear of the apartment, Officer Claxon called his attention to a pair of black-rimmed eyeglasses Claxon had discovered in a grassy area approximately 12 feet from the sliding glass doors that led into Carol Specht's bedroom. Walters stated that he "felt that [he] had seen a pair of glasses like that previously on [defendant]." Lieutenant Walters' familiarity with the defendant stemmed from his arrest of defendant several months prior to the incident in question, at which time he found defendant beside the window of a house in his (the lieutenant's) own neighborhood at 3 a.m. Defendant was wearing black plastic-rimmed glasses at that time. Thus, when Captain David O'Dell arrived on the scene, Lieutenant Walters informed him that the defendant might be a "prime suspect." Walters was present at the time that the defendant was taken into custody by Officer Heath and stated that defendant was not wearing his glasses at that time. Lieutenant Walters could not recall seeing anyone wearing eyeglasses similar to those worn by the defendant. Walters' written report did not indicate that Connie Specht had informed him that the defendant had facial hair or wore eyeglasses.

Captain David O'Dell's testimony indicates that he also observed the glasses and recognized them as being the same type worn by the defendant. Captain O'Dell had seen the defendant in the Mattoon area numerous times during the spring of 1983 and had always seen him wearing black-framed eyeglasses. Captain O'Dell further testified as to his observation of a waffle pattern shoe print on the porch outside the Specht apartment. Captain O'Dell returned to the police station and reported his findings to Assistant Chief Robert O'Dell. Captain O'Dell, like Lieutenant Walters, could not remember seeing another person wearing the type of glasses he testified having seen the defendant wear and the type found by the police. It was revealed on cross-examination that Captain O'Dell's written report only recalled Lieutenant Walters' comments regarding the connection between the discovered glasses and the defendant. Although Captain O'Dell testified that he independently made the same connection and reported this to Assistant Chief Robert O'Dell, he did not note this in his report.

Assistant Chief Robert O'Dell testified that he advised Officer Heath to bring defendant to the police station based on the following information. When arriving at the Specht apartment, he was advised by Lieutenant Walters that Connie Specht had described the assailant as a six-foot-tall white male with dark hair and facial hair. In addition, when the assistant chief viewed Carol Specht's ransacked bedroom, where some of the shoes appeared to be moved from a shoe container, he thought of the defendant, as he was aware of his problem with window peeking and women's shoes. Further, he was later advised by Captain O'Dell of the discovery of the glasses and the possible connection with defendant.

The court found that defendant had been arrested at the time he was transported to the police station. However, the court found that the warrantless arrest was supported by probable cause.

There is no question that defendant was under arrest when he was handcuffed and transported to the Mattoon police station, the circumstances being such that a reasonable man would conclude that he was not free to leave. (United States v. Mendenhall (1980), 446 U.S. 544, 554, 64 L.Ed.2d 497, 509, 100 S.Ct. 1870, 1877; People v. Eddmonds (1984), 101 Ill.2d 44, 61, cert. denied (1984), 469 U.S. 894, 83 L.Ed.2d 207, 105 S.Ct. 271.) Under the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963, a warrantless arrest is valid when a peace officer "has reasonable grounds to believe that the person is committing or has committed an offense." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 107-2(c).) The "reasonable grounds" standard has been interpreted as having the same meaning as "probable cause." People v. Tisler (1984), 103 Ill.2d 226, 236-37.

Probable cause has been defined as existing where the police "have knowledge of facts which would lead a reasonable man to believe that a crime has occurred and that it has been committed by the defendant." (People v. Eddmonds (1984), 101 Ill.2d 44, 60; see Dunaway v. New York (1979), 442 U.S. 200, 208 n. 9, 60 L.Ed.2d 824, 833 n. 9, 99 S.Ct. 2248, 2254 n. 9; Brinegar v. United States (1949), 338 U.S. 160, 175-76, 93 L.Ed. 1879, 1890, 69 S.Ct. 1302, 1310-11.) Further, decisions analyzing the probable cause standard reveal that it is a "practical, non-technical conception." (Illinois v. Gates (1983), 462 U.S. 213, 231, 76 L.Ed.2d 527, 544, 103 S.Ct. 2317, 2328.) "In dealing with probable cause, * * * we deal with probabilities. These are not technical; they are factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians act." Brinegar v. United States (1949), 338 U.S. 160, 175, 93 L.Ed. 1879, 1890, 69 S.Ct. 1302, 1310; see also People v. Free (1983), 94 Ill.2d 378, 400, cert. denied (1983), 464 U.S. 865, 78 L.Ed.2d 175, 104 S.Ct. 200.

Our review of the entire record, in light of these well-established principles, persuades us that the police had probable cause to arrest defendant at the time he was transported to the police station. The collective information known to the Mattoon police officers included a description of the perpetrator; the discovery of the eyeglasses tentatively linked to the defendant; Assistant Chief O'Dell's independent association of the disrupted shoe container with the defendant; and the presence of the defendant on a Mattoon street at approximately 2 a.m. without his glasses.

In addition, "[i]n determining whether the officer had probable cause, the officer's factual knowledge, based on his prior law-enforcement experience, is relevant." (People v. Tisler (1984), 103 Ill.2d 226, 237.) Here, the officers were familiar with the defendant and were aware that he always wore glasses and had previously been involved with "window peeking" as well as having a problem with women's shoes. Further, when determining whether probable cause exists, a balance is struck between the interests of privacy and law enforcement. Where there is uncertainty as to whether a crime has been committed, the privacy rights may be given more consideration. (People v. Reynolds (1983), 94 Ill.2d 160, 166; People v. Lippert (1982), 89 Ill.2d 171, 179-80, cert. denied (1982), 459 U.S. 841, 74 L.Ed.2d 85, 103 S.Ct. 92.) In the instant case, there was no doubt that a crime had been committed. The police were aware that a violent crime had been committed less than two hours before defendant was apprehended.

Although the defendant questions the credibility of the police officers because of omissions in their police reports, we find too many links connecting defendant with the incident to conclude that "his guilt was not `probable,' in the fourth amendment sense, or that the trial court's determination that it was probable was against the manifest weight of the evidence." (People v. Moody (1983), 94 Ill.2d 1, 9; see People v. Stewart (1984), 105 Ill.2d 22, 41; People v. Tisler (1984), 103 Ill.2d 226, 248.) As such, we conclude that the trial court was correct in finding that the warrantless arrest was supported by probable cause.

Defendant argues next that the trial court erred when it prevented defense counsel, on cross-examination, from eliciting Connie Specht's opinion as to defendant's sanity at the time of the crime. Defense counsel asked Connie Specht if defendant was acting "rather irrational" at the time of the crime. She replied, "I don't know. The only word that comes to mind is vicious." When defense counsel suggested "How about crazy?", the State objected. The court sustained the objection but overruled the State's objection to defense counsel's next question. He asked, "Had you ever seen anybody acting like that before?" Miss Specht answered that she had never seen anyone act like that, except possibly on television. When defense counsel attempted to elicit Miss Specht's opinion on whether specific acts performed by defendant were normal, the State again objected. The court allowed defense counsel to ask questions regarding what the defendant did and whether the witness had ever observed this type of behavior but concluded that it would be improper for her to express her opinion as to whether such acts were normal or abnormal. Defense counsel then asked Miss Specht if she had ever seen or heard of anything in real life similar to specific sexual acts performed by defendant. Miss Specht replied negatively, and defense counsel concluded his cross-examination.

It is the defendant's position that since the theory of the case was insanity, Miss Specht's testimony on the issue was crucial. The State responds that defendant has waived any assignment of error since he did not allege the ruling as error in his post-trial motion. Further, the State argues that the defendant did not specifically seek to elicit Miss Specht's opinion concerning his sanity and a proper foundation could not have been laid for the introduction of Miss Specht's opinion concerning defendant's sanity because she did not observe enough of the defendant's conduct. Finally, the State maintains that any error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

While we do not agree with the State that the defendant did not attempt to elicit Miss Specht's opinion as to defendant's sanity at the time of the incident, the record does establish that defendant did not raise the issue in his post-trial motion. Thus any claim of error in this regard is considered waived. People v. Thurman (1984), 104 Ill.2d 326, 329; People v. Caballero (1984), 102 Ill.2d 23, 31, cert. denied (1984), 469 U.S. 963, 83 L.Ed.2d 298, 105 S.Ct. 362.

Moreover, had there been no waiver, we find that the defendant was not prejudiced by the trial court's ruling on the scope of cross-examination of Miss Specht. It is well established that a lay witness may give his opinion regarding the mental condition of an individual based on personally observed facts, which must be stated in detail. (People v. Smothers (1973), 55 Ill.2d 172, 174; People v. Williams (1967), 38 Ill.2d 115, 123; Cleary & Graham, Illinois Evidence sec. 704.3 (3d ed. 1979); 4 Callaghan's Illinois Evidence sec. 7.27 (1964).) Nevertheless, "the scope of cross-examination rests largely in the discretion of the trial court, and we will overturn its ruling only where an abuse of that discretion results in manifest prejudice to the defendant." People v. Owens (1984), 102 Ill.2d 88, 103; see also People v. Brisbon (1985), 106 Ill.2d 342, 362.

Our review of the record indicates that when Miss Specht was asked to state her opinion as to the "irrational" nature of defendant's acts — essentially the same as "crazy" or "abnormal" — she was unable to give an opinion and concluded that she would describe the acts as "vicious." Thus, it is probable that Miss Specht was unable to give an opinion as to defendant's sanity. Further, when the trial judge inquired as to defense counsel's line of questioning, he explained to the court that he was "trying to get [Miss Specht] to show the jury that the specific acts that [defendant] performed — that none of the specific acts he performed were normal." While the court did not allow the witness to testify regarding her opinion as to the normalcy of those acts, he did allow her to be questioned as to the acts performed by the defendant as well as allowing her to state whether she had ever heard of or seen such behavior. The jury was, therefore, fully apprised of the defendant's actions during the incident through Miss Specht's testimony, and was made aware that such actions were beyond the realm of her life experiences. As such, the objective of defense counsel's questioning was adequately fulfilled. Under these circumstances, we find that the trial judge used reasonable discretion in limiting the cross-examination.

The defendant also argues that he was denied a fair trial where the State failed to comply with discovery. Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 412(a), defendant filed a pretrial motion for disclosure. (87 Ill.2d R. 412(a).) A month prior to trial, the court entered an order requiring full compliance with the defendant's motion for disclosure, within seven days. The State filed its answer within this period and, in particular, stated that any tangible objects to be used at trial could be examined by defendant, upon reasonable notice, at the Mattoon police department or the Coles County State's Attorney's office, depending on where the items were located.

Defendant contends that while he went to these locations and viewed some evidence, most of the evidence was held at locations he was unaware of, such as the State Crime Laboratory in Springfield. As such, the balance of the physical evidence was not disclosed until the middle of trial. These items included the eyeglasses allegedly worn by defendant during the incident; a nightgown worn by Miss Specht; a deposit slip, theatre program, tools, and cloth gloves discovered at the scene; items taken from defendant following his arrest, including his pants, tennis shoes and a second flashlight; and an empty knife package found in a trash can at his apartment. Defendant maintains that because the State failed to timely produce these materials, he was denied the opportunity of intelligently deciding whether certain items of evidence should be scientifically tested as well as using the evidence for other purposes.

Initially, we would note that we are not faced with a situation where the State concealed its possession of tangible objects. As the State points out, and our review of the record reveals, defendant was provided with police reports and evidence receipts disclosing all items seized and subsequently taken to the crime laboratory in Springfield. In addition, defendant did receive scientific reports on some of these items.

Nor are we confronted with a violation of our Rule 412(c) (87 Ill 2d R. 412(c)), the codification of Brady v. Maryland (1963), 373 U.S. 83, 87, 10 L.Ed.2d 215, 218, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 1196-97, which held that "the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution." None of the items at issue were favorable to the defendant. Rather, they all supported the State's case, placing the defendant at the scene as the perpetrator. Indeed, defendant never denied that he committed the offense. He made an expansive confession as well as testifying in detail at trial. See People v. Coslet (1977), 67 Ill.2d 127, 131.

Nevertheless, Supreme Court Rule 412(a)(v) does require that the State, upon written motion of defense counsel, disclose "any books, papers, documents, photographs or tangible objects which the prosecuting attorney intends to use in the hearing or trial or which were obtained from or belonging to the accused." (87 Ill.2d R. 412(a)(v).) Further, Supreme Court Rule 412(e) provides:

"The State may perform these obligations in any manner mutually agreeable to itself and defense counsel or by:

(i) notifying defense counsel that material and information, described in general terms, may be inspected, obtained, tested, copied, or photographed, ...

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