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People v. Chatman





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Joseph J. Urso, Judge, presiding.


Following a bench trial defendant, Paul Chatman, was found guilty of murder, armed violence, and armed robbery. The trial court merged the armed-violence conviction into the murder conviction and sentenced defendant to serve concurrent extended terms of 75 years for murder and 40 years for armed robbery. On appeal defendant contends that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was sane at the time he committed the offenses and that the extended-term sentence for murder was inappropriate.

Shortly after 11 a.m. on Friday, October 28, 1983, defendant beat to death 66-year-old Vera Kibby with a baseball bat and then stole her purse and automobile. The day before the killing, defendant, who was 17 years old, told his 16-year-old friend Steven Harris that he was going to steal Mrs. Kibby's money and her car and then sell the car. Defendant admitted to Harris that what he was contemplating was wrong.

Harris was a good friend of defendant and had known him for five years. In the year before the killing, Harris and defendant saw each other at least four days each week and they played football and baseball together. Harris did not notice any unusual physical characteristics about defendant. He described defendant as slightly overweight but he did not consider him to have overly large breasts. Harris, however, never saw defendant play sports without wearing a shirt. Defendant had a bad temper and would become angry when "things didn't seem to go right." Harris did not notice anything unusual about defendant's mannerisms or speech on October 27, 1983. In Harris' opinion defendant was sane when he spoke with him the day before the killing but he could not define "sane" or "insane." Harris explained that he could tell whether someone was "crazy" by his actions.

At approximately 7:45 a.m., on Saturday, October 29, 1983, Vera Kibby's purse was found wrapped in a garment bag inside of a garbage can in an alley several miles from her home. There was no money in the purse. The victim's body was found in the front room of her home shortly after 11 a.m. on October 29, 1983. The parties stipulated that she had died of injuries to the skull and brain caused by blunt force applied to the back of the head. The victim's Chevrolet Caprice was missing as well as her car keys and her purse. The police recovered the vehicle early in the afternoon of October 29, 1983, and arrested the driver, Craig Long, and the passenger, Alfred Lewis.

Long testified that early in the evening on Friday, October 28, 1983, defendant came over to his home and told him that he had stolen a car which he had parked one block from Long's house. Defendant enlisted Long's help in trying to find a "chop shop" where they could dispose of the stolen vehicle. When they could not find one, Long, at defendant's suggestion, parked the car two blocks from defendant's home. Defendant then admitted to Long that he had killed an old lady and had taken $40 and her car. The woman was his mother's best friend.

Defendant explained to Long that he had disguised himself by wearing a trenchcoat and a hat and had brought additional clothing in a bag. Defendant repeatedly struck Mrs. Kibby on the head with a baseball bat to prevent her from surviving and identifying him. Defendant then changed his clothes because he had gotten blood on his pants. Defendant took the victim's purse, containing $40, and the keys to her car. When he saw a red light on an alarm system on the wall, defendant was frightened and ran out of the house.

Defendant showed Long the money he had taken but he refused to tell him what he did with the purse. According to Long, defendant said that he had burned the baseball bat which had bloodstains on it and that he had thrown the bat into his next-door neighbor's yard. After this conversation, defendant and Long drove the victim's car to 90th and Cornell where defendant visited his girl friend. Defendant returned to the vehicle, drove it to the vicinity of his high school, and walked home.

Long, who was 16 years old, had known defendant for about six years and considered him to be a close friend. He saw him almost every day and played football and baseball with him. In Long's opinion defendant spoke coherently, acted normally and, judging by his actions, was sane on October 28, 1983. Long had seen defendant when he was not wearing a shirt, and he had noticed nothing unusual about defendant's physical appearance. He had never heard that defendant was self-conscious about the size of his breasts. Defendant occasionally argued with his mother and threw temper tantrums.

The police recovered a charred baseball bat from the backyard of defendant's next-door neighbor's house. The bat was found in the rear of the lot in an area overgrown with weeds, bushes, and trees. The parties stipulated that the blood on the bat had the same antigens as the victim's.

Defendant was arrested when he arrived home at 4 p.m. on October 29, 1983. He was advised of his Miranda rights, which he acknowledged that he understood, and was transported to the area police station. At 7:15 p.m. defendant, after again being advised of and waiving his Miranda rights, agreed to give a statement. Defendant gave an oral confession to Assistant State's Attorney Georgia Buglass and Investigator Albert Wolf. This interview lasted approximately 30 minutes and was tape recorded. The tape has not been included in the record on appeal. Defendant agreed to give a court-reporter statement which was taken from 8:15 to 8:30 p.m. After the 14-page statement was transcribed, defendant read the statement, made numerous corrections thereon, and signed each page.

In the statement defendant said he had known Vera Kibby for several years and had mowed her lawn. Although Kibby was his mother's friend, defendant resented her because she interfered in conversations he had with his mother. Defendant described Kibby as arrogant but crossed out that adjective when he later reviewed and corrected the statement.

On Friday morning, October 28, 1983, defendant decided to go to Kibby's home to get some money he needed to take a girl out on a date Saturday night. The date had been arranged two days earlier. Defendant brought a baseball bat with him to scare Kibby into telling him where she kept her money. He carried the bat in a bag where it could not be seen. Defendant wore a skull cap so that the neighbors would not be able to recognize him. He admitted wearing two pairs of jeans but he could not explain why. In the earlier oral statement, defendant said that he had worn two pairs of pants because he thought one pair might get dirty.

Defendant left his home at 11 a.m. and took two buses to get to Kibby's home. Defendant rang the doorbell and Kibby answered the door. When she did not immediately recognize him, defendant said, "It's me, Paul." Defendant asked if he could use her telephone, and she admitted him into her home. No one else was present. Kibby made one telephone call to complain about her newspaper delivery service and then went into the bathroom. Defendant was in the front room. While Kibby was in the bathroom, defendant removed the baseball bat from the bag and placed it in a hallway by the side of the door so that Kibby could not see it when she returned.

Kibby walked back into the front room and made another telephone call. When Kibby completed her call, defendant was facing her back. Her purse was in front of her and she was fumbling with something. Defendant reached for the baseball bat and approached Kibby from behind with the bat in his hand. Kibby then backed into defendant and bumped him. Defendant raised the bat over his head and swung down, hitting Kibby either on the head or on the side of the neck. Defendant was not sure whether Kibby fell after the first blow but he recalled that she mumbled something and that her voice sounded groggy. Defendant raised the bat again, paused momentarily, then struck her on the head. Kibby was still moving after the second blow. Defendant waited briefly while Kibby was moving and then took her car keys, which had fallen to the floor, and her purse. Defendant denied that he had planned to take her car when he went to her home.

Defendant left Kibby's home and took her automobile. After removing the $41.50 that was in the purse, defendant placed the purse and the outer pair of jeans he had been wearing into the bag. The jeans had blood on them. Defendant stated that he threw the bag containing the purse and jeans out of the vehicle on South Chicago Avenue near Jeffrey. Defendant drove the victim's car to his home and parked it in the garage, leaving the keys in the ignition. Later defendant moved the car to an abandoned garage near his home. After he moved the car, he walked to Craig Long's home. Defendant admitted that he had told Long about the car. Defendant remembered that Long had helped him to find the keys to the car which defendant had lost because he was so nervous. He also remembered driving with Long to his girlfriend's house, then leaving the car near his high school. In the earlier oral statement defendant also mentioned that he had burned the baseball bat and that he had told Long that he had killed the victim.

Both Buglass and Wolf testified that defendant appeared to be normal and that he gave responsive answers to their questions. Defendant was alert and cooperative and he exhibited no signs of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. His speech was clear and coherent. Neither Buglass nor Wolf noticed anything unusual about defendant, his physical appearance, his mannerisms, or his speech. Buglass testified that defendant did not refer to his concerns about the size of his breasts. Defendant never mentioned using drugs, hearing voices, or seeing visions. Based upon their everyday experiences, their observations of defendant, and their conversations with him, Buglass and Wolf stated that, in their opinions, defendant was sane on October 29, 1983.

Defendant's insanity defense was based on the testimony of Dr. William S. Bradbury, a psychiatrist who treats 50 to 75 patients per year. At defense counsel's request, Dr. Bradbury interviewed defendant on February 2, 1984, and again on February 7, 1984. Each session lasted 45 minutes. Dr. Bradbury also interviewed the defendant's parents, reviewed the police reports, read defendant's transcribed confession, and listened to the tape recording of his earlier, oral confession. In formulating his opinion on defendant's sanity, Dr. Bradbury did not consider the reports of the psychiatrists and psychologists ...

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