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04/27/88 the People of the State of v. Christopher Anderson

April 27, 1988





523 N.E.2d 1034, 169 Ill. App. 3d 289, 120 Ill. Dec. 123 1988.IL.606

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. Bruce Falk, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE HEIPLE delivered the opinion of the court. SCOTT and WOMBACHER, JJ., concur.


Christopher Anderson was indicted on a charge of murder following the shooting death of Vicki Scarabello. Anderson filed motions to quash his arrest and to suppress certain evidence, and after a hearing, the trial court granted the motions. The State brings this interlocutory appeal pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) (107 Ill. 2d R. 604(a)(1)). We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

The State's recitation of facts, which was not controverted by the defendant, established the following. On the afternoon of November 20, 1986, Vicki Scarabello was killed by a gunshot to the head in a Park Forest, Illinois, apartment rental office where she was employed as a manager. Information obtained by Park Forest Detectives Carl Kuester and Patrick Fitzgerald indicated that a man fitting Anderson's description was the last potential apartment lessee to speak with the victim before she was murdered. The detectives also discovered that Anderson, who lived near the apartment complex where Scarabello was murdered, had a prior record for violent crimes and that his Illinois driver's license had been suspended.

The evidence adduced at the suppression hearing regarding the events surrounding Anderson's arrest and interrogation is set out below. Detective Kuester testified that on November 22, 1986, he and his partner, Detective Fitzgerald, proceeded in an unmarked car to the Bob Evans restaurant in the adjacent community of Matteson, Illinois, where Anderson was employed. They located a vehicle registered to Anderson in the parking lot and placed it under surveillance. Kuester admitted that at this time, he wished to speak to Anderson about the homicide.

A short time later, Anderson entered his car and drove a short distance to a shopping center's parking lot. The detectives followed Anderson and parked behind his car. They approached Anderson as he exited the car and Kuester identified himself as a Park Forest police officer. He asked Anderson to produce his driver's license, but Anderson stated that his license was suspended. Anderson was then advised that he was under arrest for driving with a suspended license. Fitzgerald asked Anderson for permission to look in his vehicle, and when Anderson consented to the search, Fitzgerald opened the car door and looked inside.

Fitzgerald notified the Matteson police department of the traffic stop and asked that a marked car from Matteson be dispatched to the scene. The Matteson police department allowed the detectives to take Anderson to the Park Forest police department for questioning. Neither detective had a ticket book with him, and Anderson was not issued a citation for the offense at the scene or when he was taken to the Park Forest police station.

Upon his arrival at the Park Forest police department, Anderson was taken to the detective division office. Kuester orally advised him of his Miranda rights and Anderson indicated that he understood those rights. He was informed that a bond was required for the offense of driving while license suspended; Anderson did not ask to place a telephone call to obtain bond money.

Anderson was again asked for permission to search his car, and he consented verbally and by signing a form. Anderson's car was at that time in a municipal building adjacent to the police department, having been towed there at Kuester's request. After receiving Anderson's permission, Kuester and two officers conducted a thorough search of the car, looking for evidence of the Scarabello homicide. Several items were taken from the car, including a variety of live rounds of ammunition, a small gun case, and proposal forms from the apartment complex where Scarabello had been employed.

After completing the vehicle search, Kuester again advised Anderson of his constitutional rights, and on a written form, Anderson indicated that he understood each of his rights and was willing to answer questions without first speaking to an attorney. Kuester then informed Anderson that Park Forest police were investigating a serious crime and requested that he provide any information he had about the crime. Anderson was interrogated periodically over the next several hours; breaks for food, drink, and rest were taken.

During the course of the interrogation, Anderson stated that he previously possessed a small .22 caliber derringer but that he had recently thrown it into a creek. At some point in the evening after Anderson made this statement, he left the police station with Kuester and Fitzgerald and directed them to the location where he allegedly disposed of the ...

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