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11/16/87 the People of the State of v. Lorenzo Ford Et Al.

November 16, 1987





516 N.E.2d 766, 163 Ill. App. 3d 497, 114 Ill. Dec. 611 1987.IL.1687

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Francis Mahon, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court. QUINLAN, P.J., and BUCKLEY, J., concur.


Following a jury trial, defendants Lorenzo Ford and DeWayne Clemons were found guilty of murder and sentenced to 35 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. On appeal, the defendants raise the following issues: (1) whether their rights under the sixth and fourteenth amendments were violated by the trial court's refusal to instruct the jury regarding voluntary and involuntary manslaughter; (2) whether they were denied a fair trial by the trial court's failure to require the jury to return verdicts as to the offense of voluntary manslaughter; (3) whether defendants' right to a fair trial was violated by the admission of rebuttal testimony that defendant Ford had been involved in a prior unprovoked stabbing; and (4) whether the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing defendants to 35 years.

Evidence presented at trial indicated that the victim, 18-year-old Roscoe Jenkins, died as the result of a stab wound to his lung and heart. Krystal Warren, Jenkins' former girlfriend and the mother of his child, testified that she had met defendant Clemons and his friend Steve at a party on February 23, 1985. Clemons and Steve were visiting Warren at her apartment the next day when Jenkins arrived to visit the child.

Shortly thereafter, Warren, Clemons and Steve left the apartment and took an elevator down to the lobby. Jenkins, who was in the lobby, pulled Warren off of the elevator by her hair and asked what she was doing with Clemons and Steve. Jenkins slapped Warren and then punched Steve in the face. Warren, Clemons and Steve then went back up to Warren's apartment.

At 10:30 that night, Warren, Clemons and Steve left the apartment to go to a party at 59th and Damen. At 69th and Ashland, Warren and Clemons left the bus while Steve stayed on the bus. Clemons then went into a liquor store where he met his friend, defendant Ford, whom he introduced to Warren. Clemons told Ford he would see him later and Clemons and Warren then left.

By the time they arrived at the party, at 11:15 p.m., it had already ended. Clemons and Warren then boarded a bus at 59th and Ashland and found that defendant Ford was also on the bus. Clemons told Ford that Roscoe Jenkins had hit Steve in the face earlier that evening. Warren testified that Ford had a black-handled knife in his hand with a five-inch blade he kept opening and closing. Ford, Clemons and Warren first went to Warren's apartment and then walked around the neighborhood.

Clemons then suggested that they go to his cousin's house at 1433 Hastings. Warren testified that Roscoe Jenkins was dating a girl who also lived at that address. When they arrived at 1433 West Hastings, Jenkins pushed open the door, looked at Ford and Clemons and took a step toward Clemons. Clemons then hit Jenkins in the jaw with his fist, grabbed Jenkins' legs and threw him to the ground. Warren went into the lobby of the building and then turned around to watch what was happening. She testified that she saw Clemons holding on to Jenkins' arms so that he could not get away and Ford making jabbing motions with his knife, but that she did not actually see Ford strike Jenkins with the knife. Jenkins finally broke loose and ran away with both Ford and Clemons in pursuit. They gave up the chase when Jenkins ran into a building at 1520 West Hastings.

After Ford and Clemons returned from chasing Jenkins, Ford wiped blood off of the knife with Jenkins' hat. Warren testified that both Ford and Clemons were laughing and that Ford had stated that he knew what he was doing when he stabbed Jenkins.

Chicago police officer Carolyn Burauer testified that on February 25, 1985, at 2 a.m., she and a partner responded to a call and found Roscoe Jenkins lying in the hallway of a building located at 1520 West Hastings. A forensic pathologist testified that Jenkins' death was the result of a single stab wound which pierced his lung and heart and that he had also sustained small incised wounds on his fingers which she characterized as defensive wounds.

During the evening of February 25, 1985, the police went to the home of Krystal Warren. Clemons was there when the police arrived and had previously told Warren to say nothing about what had happened except that Jenkins had slapped Steve.

Clemons and Warren then went to the police station, where Clemons told Chicago police detective James Antonacci about Ford's involvement in the stabbing of Jenkins. Ford was subsequently arrested. After both defendants were apprised of their Miranda rights, they gave statements to the police.

Clemons' statement described the incident involving Jenkins' hitting his friend Steve, the fact that he described that incident to Ford and that Ford displayed his recently sharpened knife and said that he was ready to use it. Clemons said that when he saw Jenkins coming out of the building later that night, Jenkins tried to hit him. He stated that he blocked the punch and then "body slammed" Jenkins to the ground. He also stated that he was holding Jenkins on the ground when Ford came over and stabbed him.

In his statement to Detective Dorich, defendant Ford stated that when he met Clemons and Warren on the bus, Clemons described the punching incident and said that he wanted to go back to the area where the incident had occurred to look for Jenkins. Ford asked to go along and the three spent about an hour walking around the neighborhood. According to Ford, when Jenkins came out of the door of the apartment building he asked Clemons if Clemons was looking for him. Ford said that Clemons then went after Jenkins and hit him. Clemons then tried to pull Jenkins to the ground but Jenkins fell on top of Clemons. Ford stated that he had his knife drawn and he stabbed Jenkins as he tried to get up. After cleaning his knife with Jenkins' hat, Ford and Clemons boarded a bus and Ford left his knife on the bus.

At trial, Ford testified that he had a small pocketknife which he carried for protection. He stated that he was told about the fight with Steve but did not know him and only said that it was too bad. He put his knife in his glove when they got off the bus because Clemons had told him the neighborhood was dangerous. He denied that he and ...

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