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06/16/87 the People of the State of v. Peter Jones

June 16, 1987





510 N.E.2d 116, 157 Ill. App. 3d 106, 109 Ill. Dec. 495 1987.IL.822

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas P. Durkin, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE HARTMAN delivered the opinion of the court. SCARIANO, P.J., and STAMOS, J., concur.


Defendant appeals his conviction by a jury of home invasion, voluntary manslaughter, and aggravated battery, contending: (1) the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and the jury verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence; (2) the circuit court erred in denying his motion for a mistrial premised upon an alleged prosecutorial discovery violation and prosecutorial trial misconduct; (3) the circuit court erred in rejecting defendant's requested involuntary manslaughter instruction; (4) the circuit court erred in telling the jurors that they would be allowed to go home only when they had finished their job; and (5) the circuit court erred in failing to order a mistrial sua sponte after the jury twice informed it that it was "hopelessly" deadlocked. He also urges that the circuit court abused its discretion in sentencing defendant.

On Saturday, July 9, 1983, the victim, Ernest Jones, picked up his 9-year-old son "C" from his estranged wife; the boy lived with his mother but spent most weekends with his father, who was then living with his sister Jennifer. The victim and "C" went to defendant Peter Jones' (no relation) apartment and picked up defendant and the victim's sister, Jennifer, who was defendant's girlfriend. They went to Rainbow beach where they met Beverly, a cousin of the victim, and her boyfriend and had their picnic and barbecue. The picnic broke up about 8 p.m. and everyone went back to defendant's apartment.

Sometime thereafter, either at about 8:30 p.m. or between 10:30 and 11 p.m., the victim, "C," Beverly and Beverly's boyfriend left defendant's apartment. Beverly and her boyfriend gave the victim and "C" a ride to the victim and Jennifer's apartment. Almost immediately after their arrival, the victim and "C" walked to a nearby "White Castle," bought some hamburgers, and returned to the apartment. Either the victim or "C" then closed and locked the apartment doors and they went into Jennifer's bedroom to watch television while they ate their hamburgers. The victim soon fell asleep; "C" continued to watch television until he also fell asleep. The victim woke sometime later, told "C" to turn off the television, and they both went back to sleep on Jennifer's bed.

The next thing "C" remembered was being awakened by a man, whom he subsequently identified as defendant, hitting him in the face. He saw his father leaning on the edge of the bed, bleeding, with a pair of scissors stuck in his stomach. He had not seen the actual stabbing of his father. Defendant left the room and "C" hid in the closet. When defendant returned he pulled "C" out of the closet, "snatched" off his jeans and underpants, and threatened to rape him. Defendant once again left the room; "C" this time fled the apartment and found a police car driving by outside. It was approximately 12:40 a.m. on July 10, 1983.

Patrolman Neil Logue and his partner were in the police car which "C" approached. Officer Logue described "C" as hysterical and dressed only in a shirt and testified that "C" had said that "he had been raped or mentioned something about a rape." The two policemen, at "C's" direction, went into the apartment building and proceeded down a hallway to the door of the victim's apartment. The door molding was broken loose and damaged, indicating a forced entry to Officer Logue.

Officer Logue went into the apartment alone and found the victim lying on the floor of the bedroom in a pool of blood; a pair of scissors, subsequently identified as the murder weapon, was lying next to the body. The officers called for back-up and an ambulance, which took the victim to a hospital where he died approximately one month later, on August 14, 1983. He had been stabbed once in the left front chest, piercing the heart, and twice in the abdomen and stomach. He died of complications which resulted from the stabbing: abdominal infection, liver shock and failure, kidney failure and pneumonia.

After the police discovery of the body, "C" was apparently calmed by a "Mr. Ivy." "C" subsequently told police that defendant had killed his father. Detectives then went to defendant's apartment, where they questioned him and the victim's sister, Jennifer. They eventually arrested defendant.

Defendant was charged with attempted murder, home invasion and aggravated battery. "C" subsequently identified defendant's photograph and recognized him in a lineup. When the victim died one month later, the attempted murder charge was dropped and a murder charge added.

At trial, the prosecution relied primarily upon "C's" testimony, his identification of defendant, and an alleged oral statement made by defendant to a detective and an assistant State's Attorney from the felony review unit.

According to the confession, defendant went to the victim's apartment to tell him to begin paying his share of the rent. Defendant was apparently upset because of the strain that the victim's inability or unwillingness to pay placed on the victim's co-tenant, Jennifer, defendant's girlfriend. Defendant pounded on the door, received no response, and then pushed it in. He began to argue with the victim, the argument became a fight, and, as they "tussled," the victim grabbed a pair of scissors which were subsequently stabbed into him three times. ...

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