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06/05/87 the People of the State of v. Warner Walker

June 5, 1987





510 N.E.2d 29, 157 Ill. App. 3d 133, 109 Ill. Dec. 408 1987.IL.758

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Kenneth L. Gillis, Judge, presiding.


PRESIDING JUSTICE SULLIVAN delivered the opinion of the court. LORENZ and MURRAY, JJ., concur.


Following a jury trial, defendant, Warner Walker, was found guilty of attempted murder, aggravated battery, and armed violence. Judgment was entered on the attempted murder conviction and defendant was sentenced to serve a term of 25 years.

On appeal, defendant contends that the trial court erred in barring him from impeaching the complaining witness with evidence of his prior convictions, in denying the jury's request to review a transcript of the complaining witness' testimony and in precluding defense counsel from arguing that another witness was a drug dealer; that the prosecutors improperly vouched for the credibility of the State's witnesses; and that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

At approximately 5:30 p.m. on December 5, 1984, the complaining witness, Laneer Winder, and his friend, Richard Bynum, were sitting in Winder's automobile in the 1600 block of South Central Park Avenue in Chicago when they were approached by defendant, Warner Walker, and his codefendant, Freddie Stone, who asked if they could buy some marijuana. Winder and Bynum did not know either Walker or Stone. Winder said no, and Bynum told them to leave. After a brief argument Walker and Stone left and walked into a nearby gangway.

Sometime between 5:30 and 6 p.m., Winder and Bynum saw Walker and Stone ride past Winder's vehicle in a blue Thunderbird driven by a man Winder knew only as Melvin "T-Bone." When the car stopped, Walker and Stone got out and approached Winder's vehicle on the driver's side, where Winder was sitting. Walker produced a gun, pointed it at Winder's head and ordered him to open the door. Bynum jumped out of the car and ran away. Winder told Walker that the door was jammed and could not be opened. Winder offered to give his money to Walker but Walker refused, threatening to shoot Winder if he did not open the door. While Winder was struggling with the door, he tried to grab the pistol from Walker, who shot him once in the left clavicle, temporarily paralyzing his chest and legs.

Bynum, who was several houses away from the scene of the shooting, heard a loud noise, turned around and saw sparks from Walker's gun. He saw both Walker and Stone run through a gangway. Bynum returned to the vehicle and saw that Winder was covered in blood. Winder told Bynum, "This punk just shot me." Bynum then obtained emergency medical care for Winder and assisted Officer John Lucki in searching for Walker, who was arrested on the street at approximately 6:45 p.m. in an area near the shooting.

Winder thought that he had identified Walker at the scene of the shooting but he was not sure because he was "drowsy." Officer Lucki, however, testified that Winder had been taken to the hospital before Walker was apprehended. Lucki testified further that Winder, who appeared to be in severe pain and was barely coherent, could not identify Walker or answer questions. The record does not clearly indicate whether Winder identified Stone at the scene or at the hospital. Winder and Bynum identified Walker and Stone at trial.

On cross-examination, Winder testified that he had told the police that the man who shot him was wearing a denim jacket and had been riding in a blue Thunderbird driven by Melvin "T-Bone." Bynum, however, testified that the shooter was wearing a long coat. At the time of his arrest, defendant was wearing two jackets. Officer Lucki testified that neither Winder nor Bynum had mentioned the Thunderbird or "T-Bone." Winder estimated that the sun was setting and it was not yet dark when he was shot shortly after 5:30 p.m. on December 5, 1984.

Bynum had been convicted of aggravated battery (a shooting), delivery of a controlled substance (heroin) and auto theft. He was in custody awaiting trial on two unrelated charges of delivery of a controlled substance (phencyclidine) and a hearing on a petition charging him with violating his felony probation. Three days before trial began, a prosecutor asked Bynum if he would testify against Walker. Bynum agreed and said that it "never entered [his] mind" to ask for leniency on the pending cases. He denied receiving any promises or making any "deals" in exchange for his testimony. Bynum admitted using marijuana but denied that he had used any on the night of the offense. He also denied that he was a drug dealer or used heroin.

Walker presented an alibi defense through the testimony of his girlfriend's sister. Walker was convicted of attempted murder, aggravated battery, and armed violence. Stone, who elected to have his case tried by the ...

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