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04/02/87 the People of the State of v. Andrew Wilson

April 2, 1987





506 N.E.2d 571, 116 Ill. 2d 29, 106 Ill. Dec. 771 1987.IL.431

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. John J. Crowley, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE MILLER delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE SIMON took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.


Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, the defendant, Andrew Wilson, was convicted on two counts each of murder and armed robbery. The same jury sentenced the defendant to death for the murder convictions, and the trial Judge imposed concurrent 30-year prison terms for the defendant's armed-robbery convictions. The death sentence was stayed pending direct appeal to this court. Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, sec. 4(b); 87 Ill. 2d Rules 603, 609(a).

The defendant's convictions stem from an occurrence on February 9, 1982, in which two Chicago police officers were killed. At about two o'clock that afternoon, Officers William Fahey and Richard O'Brien stopped an automobile on a street in the city. In the course of a scuffle with the occupants of the car, the officers were shot and their service revolvers were taken. The defendant and his brother, Jackie Wilson, were indicted and tried jointly for those offenses. At trial the State introduced into evidence inculpatory statements made by the defendant and his brother, and the State also presented eyewitness testimony and circumstantial evidence linking them to the crimes. The defendant and his brother were convicted of the murders and armed robberies, and the jury sentenced the defendant to death. The jury was unable to agree to impose that penalty on the defendant's brother, however, and he was instead sentenced to a term of natural life imprisonment for his two murder convictions. I

The defendant first argues that the trial court erred in denying a motion to suppress his confession as involuntary. The evidence presented at the hearing on the defendant's suppression motion showed that he was arrested at 5:15 a.m. on February 14, 1982. The defendant spent the day in police custody; during the afternoon he was placed in a lineup, and beginning around 6 o'clock that evening he gave a statement, transcribed by a court reporter, in which he admitted shooting the two police officers. Later that night the defendant was taken by the police to Mercy Hospital, and witnesses there observed some 15 separate injuries on the defendant's head, torso, and right leg.

At the suppression hearing the State attempted to establish that the defendant could not have incurred his injuries, with one exception, until after he gave his confession. The State presented the testimony of a number of persons who had contact with the defendant on February 14 during the period from his arrest until the Conclusion of his formal confession; the witnesses were police officers who took part in the defendant's arrest and who interrogated him that day, as well as the assistant State's Attorney and the court reporter who were present when the defendant gave his formal confession. The State's witnesses uniformly denied that the defendant was threatened or beaten, and they testified that the only injury they noticed on the defendant while he was in their custody was one to his right eye. Several officers explained that the defendant apparently suffered the eye injury at the time of his arrest, when he was thrown to the floor and handcuffed. After the defendant was lifted from the floor, the officers saw that he had received a cut above his right eye. The defendant was wearing only trousers at the time, and no other injuries were noticed on his face or chest. The State also presented photographic evidence regarding the defendant's physical condition at two separate times during that day. First, a photograph was taken of the lineup in which the defendant appeared during the afternoon of February 14, and he was again photographed at 8:30 that evening, upon the completion of his confession; in both photographs the defendant is fully clothed and is shown facing forward.

At the suppression hearing the State also presented evidence that the defendant made a confession upon his arrival at the police station. Officers Thomas McKenna and Patrick O'Hara testified that they spoke with the defendant around 7 o'clock on the morning of his arrest and that he waived the Miranda rights and then gave the officers, in oral form, substantially the same statement that he later made to the assistant State's Attorney. The officers did not ask the defendant to sign a waiver of his constitutional rights, nor did they preserve their notes of the Discussion. The assistant State's Attorney, Lawrence Hyman, arrived at the police station around 8:30 a.m., and McKenna and O'Hara told him what the defendant had said. A court reporter, Michael Hartnett, got there about two hours later. Hyman did not see the defendant until 1:30 p.m., however, and he did not interview him until that evening. Hyman explained that he was busy "talking with the detectives and just synchronizing everyone."

The defendant testified that he was punched, kicked, smothered with a plastic bag, electrically shocked, and forced against a hot radiator throughout the day on February 14, until he gave his confession. This began when he arrived at the police station that morning. The defendant testified that when the officers later took him to see the assistant State's Attorney, Hyman, to make a statement, he mentioned the mistreatment, and Hyman told him to leave. Following that, the officers attempted to shock the defendant again. The officers then stretched him against a radiator, with his hands handcuffed to wall rings at opposite ends of the radiator. His face, chest, and legs were touching the radiator. According to the defendant, he incurred his eye injury not at the time of his arrest but rather later that day, when he was kicked by an officer. The defendant testified that he made his confession because of the mistreatment he had suffered. Doris Miller, a friend of the defendant, was also being held at the police station that day, and she testified that she heard the defendant being physically and verbally abused and calling for help. The defendant's brother, Jackie Wilson, testified similarly.

Defense counsel also presented extensive medical testimony and photographic evidence corroborating the defendant's injuries. Patricia Reynolds, a registered nurse, testified that the defendant arrived at the Mercy Hospital emergency room around 10:15 or 10:30 p.m. on February 14 in the company of two Chicago police officers, Ferro and Mulvaney. According to Nurse Reynolds, Officer Ferro said "that if this guy knew what was good for him he would refuse treatment." Reynolds then asked the defendant whether he wished to be treated, and he said that he did not. Later, however, while the officers were looking away, the defendant indicated that he did wish to be treated, and he signed a consent form at 10:50 p.m. Following that, the defendant was given a tetanus shot and was prepared for examination; Nurse Reynolds testified that after the defendant was undressed she observed injuries on his chest and a burn on his right thigh.

The defendant was examined at about 11:15 p.m. by Dr. Geoffrey Korn. Dr. Korn testified that he made note of some 15 separate injuries that were apparent on the defendant's head, chest, and right leg. Two cuts on the defendant's forehead and one on the back of his head required stitches; the defendant's right eye had been blackened, and there was bleeding on the surface of that eye. Dr. Korn also observed bruises on the defendant's chest and several linear abrasions or burns on the defendant's chest, shoulder, and chin area. Finally, Dr. Korn saw on the defendant's right thigh an abrasion from a second-degree burn; it was six inches long and 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide.

Dr. Korn testified that as he prepared to suture the defendant's head and face wounds, he saw that Officer Mulvaney had drawn his service revolver. Fearing that the defendant's reaction to the shots of anesthesia might startle the officer, Dr. Korn asked that the weapon be holstered. Mulvaney refused to put the gun away, however, and the doctor therefore left the room. Officer Ferro then went in the examining room and soon came out, explaining to the doctor that the defendant was now going to refuse treatment and would go to a different hospital. Dr. Korn testified that he attempted to persuade the defendant to agree to treatment but that the defendant would not change his mind. At 11:42 p.m. the defendant signed an "against medical advice" form indicating his refusal of treatment, and Officers Ferro and Mulvaney then took the defendant away.

At the suppression hearing Dr. Korn was shown photographs taken of the defendant on February 16, two days after the emergency-room examination. The photographs showed a number of abrasions or burns on the defendant's face, chest, and thigh, and Dr. Korn testified that, apart from having aged a few days, the injuries depicted ...

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