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08/24/87 the People of the State of v. Jerry Powell

August 24, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

JERRY POWELL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION

512 N.E.2d 1364, 159 Ill. App. 3d 1005, 111 Ill. Dec. 727 1987.IL.1224

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Edward Fiala, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court. BUCKLEY and MANNING, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE O'CONNOR

Defendant, Jerry Powell, appeals from the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County which resulted in his imprisonment for the offenses of attempted murder, aggravated battery and armed violence. On appeal, defendant contends that: (1) the 30-year sentence for the attempted murder of Mona Soloky is excessive; (2) the 15-year consecutive sentence for the attempted murder of Pete Hakanson should be modified to run concurrently with the sentence for the attempted murder of Mona Soloky; (3) the trial court erred in not instructing the jury as to the definitions of "intent" and "knowingly"; and (4) he received ineffective assistance of counsel which prejudiced his defense.

Defendant suffers from a form of dwarfism called Dermatolysis, which he was diagnosed as having soon after birth. Despite his ailment, he graduated from high school in 1972, and thereafter took several college-level courses. After high school, he worked for Aetna Ball Bearing Company and Rotary Seal Corporation. In August 1975, he started working for Wells Manufacturing Company (Wells) in Skokie. He received several promotions throughout his years there.

On February 6, 1985, a meeting was held at Wells, at about 9 a.m., concerning defendant's recent decline in job performance. During the 12-month period prior to February 6, defendant's errors had generated a monetary loss to Wells of approximately $8,000 to $9,000, excluding loss of man-hours and plant time. Present at the meeting were Robert Engelhardt, vice-president of employee relations; Mona Soloky, chief chemist, Pete Hakanson, chief metallurgist, and defendant. Ms. Soloky read defendant a list of mistakes he had made. Engelhardt suggested defendant either accept a shift change or take a three-day suspension starting the following day. Defendant opted for the suspension.

After the meeting, defendant went back to work quite upset. He stated he was sick and left work at about 10:30 a.m. When defendant arrived home, he took a gun and contemplated suicide. Instead, he loaded the gun, placed several bullets in his pocket and returned to Wells. Defendant testified that as he returned to Wells he did not intend to shoot anybody.

At Wells, defendant went to Engelhardt's office, but Engelhardt was not there. Defendant then went to Ms. Soloky's office, said "Mona," and shot her in the head. Defendant next went to Hakanson's office, said "Pete," and shot him in the head.

Defendant then started to walk down the hallway, but Dick Zirbes ran out after him, tackled him and attempted to take the gun away from him. During the struggle defendant shot Zirbes in the head. Defendant testified that the shooting was an accident.

Defendant next heard Hakanson call out, "Please, someone help me. Please, someone help me." Defendant went back into Hakanson's office and fired the gun again; the bullet missed Hakanson and hit the top of his bookshelf. Defendant testified that he "wanted to leave him alone, but . . . had to hurt him again . . . [because] [he] made me hurt Mona." Defendant then looked for the plant supervisor, but could not find him.

After the shootings, defendant handed the gun to Inez Arroyo, Engelhardt's secretary, and handed John Fuller, the employee relations supervisor, his bullets. Ms. Arroyo seated defendant in a chair by her desk, and Engelhardt came and took the gun.

Thereafter, the Skokie police arrived, arrested defendant and took him to the police station. Defendant was advised of his Miranda rights by Detective Frederick Murray. Defendant told the detective that he was "tired of being fucked around by people," which at trial he denied saying; he was tired of being pushed around and he was going to make them pay; that he had killed them at least five times over in his dreams; and that Dick Zerbes was a ...


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