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06/08/87 the People of the State of v. Karlton West

June 8, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

KARLTON WEST, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

509 N.E.2d 153, 156 Ill. App. 3d 608, 108 Ill. Dec. 727 1987.IL.767

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Macon County; the Hon. Jerry L. Patton, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the opinion of the court. GREEN and McCULLOUGH, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE KNECHT

Defendant, Karlton West, was convicted of attempt (murder) and aggravated battery after a jury trial in the circuit court of Macon County. He was sentenced to a term of 10 years in the Department of Corrections. Testimony at trial established that at some point prior to the date on which the crime was committed, the complaining witness, Frank Myrick, was a drug addict who was addicted to cocaine. Defendant tendered a jury instruction which would have required the jury to view with caution the testimony of a drug addict. The instruction was refused and the defendant appeals his conviction and sentence based on the trial court's refusal to give the tendered instruction. We affirm.

The evidence at trial consisted of testimony by Myrick, defendant, and several other men with whom they spent the afternoon and evening of May 1, 1986. David Voudrie testified he rented an apartment in Decatur where Richard Lyda and Stephen Doty had joined him to watch television during the afternoon of May 1. Myrick joined them late in the afternoon. Voudrie, Lyda, and Doty disagreed as to the exact time of day when Myrick joined them but did agree he was intoxicated when he arrived and continued to drink with them throughout the remainder of the afternoon and into the evening.

Defendant joined the group in the apartment about 6 p.m., had a quick drink, and left. He rejoined the group about 8:30 p.m. During the course of the evening, defendant and Myrick quarreled, although the testimony conflicted as to whether the quarrel was legitimate or merely play-acting.

Between 9:30 and 10 p.m. Doty went to lie down in the bedroom of the apartment due to his intoxicated state, and Voudrie fell asleep on the couch in the living room in the same condition. Myrick testified the remaining three men continued to drink until 10:45 or 11 p.m. Sometime before 11 p.m. Lyda left the apartment. As Myrick prepared to leave about 11 p.m., defendant pulled out a long-bladed knife which had been tucked in the back of his belt and stabbed Myrick in the left side. Myrick testified defendant then transferred the knife to his right hand, hit him over the head with it, and left the apartment.

Myrick called for an ambulance and was transported to the emergency room at Decatur Memorial Hospital. He was treated for stab wounds to the left side of his chest made with a fairly long, narrow object. The treating physician testified that a great amount of force was required to cause the type of puncture wound found. During the course of treatment, the physician testified that Myrick's blood was tested and its blood-alcohol content was measured at .309.

Defendant was arrested on the evening of May 4, 1986, after Myrick identified him as his assailant. The arresting officer testified that when arrested defendant was wearing a sheath attached to his belt resting over his right hip. The sheath contained a large folding knife.

Defendant's testimony acknowledged his presence at Voudrie's apartment on the date in question and also that he had a quarrel at that time with Myrick. He denied stabbing Myrick.

As Myrick was the only witness to the assault, defense counsel sought to discredit him at trial by showing that he had a psychiatric and drug history that adversely affected his credibility. Defense cross-examination of Myrick on these issues was as follows:

"[Jerry Finney defense counsel]:

Q. Mr. Myrick, have you been under psychiatric care?

A. Yes, sir, I have been.

Q. Are you presently?

A. I go for treatment off and on, yes.

Q. What's the nature of your ...


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