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06/22/88 the People of the State of v. Lawrence Brooks

June 22, 1988

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

LAWRENCE BROOKS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, THIRD DIVISION

526 N.E.2d 420, 172 Ill. App. 3d 417, 122 Ill. Dec. 161 1988.IL.983

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. William Cousins, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE McNAMARA delivered the opinion of the court. WHITE, P.J., and FREEMAN, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MCNAMARA

Defendant was charged with shooting his ex-wife, Claudette Brooks, and his stepson, Charles Brooks. Defendant was found guilty of the same charges at an earlier trial, but the convictions were reversed because of the trial court's failure to instruct the jury properly. (People v. Brooks (1985), 130 Ill. App. 3d 747, 474 N.E.2d 1287.) The evidence adduced at the second trial is as follows.

Claudette testified that on May 27, 1982, she and Charles were in a courtroom at 51st Street and Wentworth Avenue in Chicago at a hearing concerning an assault claim defendant had filed against Charles. Defendant was so disruptive in the courtroom that he had to be admonished by a deputy sheriff. Defendant continued to harass Claudette. As a result, after the cause was continued, Charles and Claudette were escorted to their truck by a deputy sheriff.

As Charles drove away, the truck was stuck in traffic under a viaduct just west of the building. Claudette saw defendant, with a gun in his hand, approach the truck. At a distance of several feet, defendant pointed a gun through the truck's open window and began firing. Claudette raised her hand in front of her face. One bullet passed through Claudette's hand and then struck Charles in the head. Claudette testified that she moved around in the passenger side of the truck, attempting to avoid the gunfire. "I was just moving back and forth with my purse over my head." One bullet struck the left side of her head, and another bullet struck the left side of her neck.

Charles corroborated Claudette's testimony. He also stated that when the first bullet struck the side of his head, he fell out of the truck onto the pavement. Charles heard two more shots as he ran to the police station for help.

Leslie Streeter, an eyewitness, testified for the State that she was one-half block from the truck when she saw defendant fire a gun into the truck. Defendant then started running in the direction in which Streeter was walking. She also ran. He ran up beside Streeter, and she saw defendant take off his sweater and wrap it around a gun. They walked alongside each other for a quarter of a block.

Robert King testified for the State that he was picking up papers outside of a building when he heard several gunshots about 100 feet away. He saw defendant run toward him, holding a gun. Defendant yelled at King, "You didn't see shit!" Defendant continued running and appeared to be removing some of his clothing.

Ezra Hemphill, Claudette's stepfather, testified for the State that on the evening in question he received a telephone call from defendant. Defendant said, "I got Claudette and Chuckie and I'm coming to get you and Alice next." Hemphill reported the conversation to the police.

Cecilia Peeler testified for the State that she works at the 51st Street court house in the victim/witness assistance program of the State's Attorney's office. On the morning of May 27, 1982, defendant arrived at her office. He was upset because the court had not yet called his case. Although Peeler verified that the case would be called, defendant continued yelling and was very upset. Defendant stated to Peeler, "Yes, and my wife has nerve enough to be coming in here testifying against me. I could kill those sons of bitches." Later that day, Peeler saw Charles run into the police station. He was bleeding from the head and yelled, "He shot my mother, he shot my mother."

Dr. Edward Snyder testified for defendant that he treated Claudette's three gunshot wounds. One bullet struck the left side of her head, and he believed the bullet traveled downward. A second bullet entered the left side of her neck and traveled to the right side of the neck. The third bullet passed through her hand., ...


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