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09/14/88 the People of the State of v. Donnie Riddle

September 14, 1988





529 N.E.2d 713, 175 Ill. App. 3d 85, 124 Ill. Dec. 732 1988.IL.1374

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


JUSTICE RIZZI delivered the opinion of the court. McNAMARA and FREEMAN, JJ., concur.


Defendant, Donnie Riddle, was convicted of murder and armed robbery and was sentenced to concurrent terms of 65 years and 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. On appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred in (1) refusing to instruct the jury concerning voluntary intoxication and involuntary manslaughter; (2) refusing to instruct the jury concerning withdrawal from accountability; (3) precluding the defense from showing that the police failed to investigate a known suspect; and (4) sentencing defendant to 65 years' imprisonment for murder because this sentence is unfairly disparate to the sentence received by his codefendant. We affirm.

Defendant, along with his codefendant, Tommie Lee Allen, was arrested and charged with the murder and armed robbery of Charles Jackson, an invalid. Defendant's case was severed from Allen's and defendant was tried before a jury.

At trial, the State presented Otis Hall as its occurrence witness. Hall testified that at 3:30 a.m. on August 24, 1983, he heard a voice crying out for help from a vacant lot. Hall looked out of his window and saw two black men come out of that vacant lot and then reenter the same carrying bricks and stones. Hall did not see the faces of these two men, but he testified as to their clothing. Hall stated that both of the men were wearing shirts; however, one was wearing cut-off pants and the other long pants.

Officer Patrick Gordon testified for the State. Gordon stated that on August 24, 1983, at approximately 10 a.m., he and his partner received a radio call to report to 3142 West 15th Street. When they arrived, defendant was present among a crowd of people. Defendant conversed with Gordon and told Gordon that he had been with Jackson and Allen and had seen Allen beat and rob Jackson. Defendant gave Gordon Allen's address. Allen was arrested and both Allen and defendant were taken to the police station.

While at the police station, defendant was interviewed by Detective Edward Rave. Rave's testimony at trial indicates that initially, defendant gave Rave the same account of what happened to Jackson as was given to Gordon. After interviewing Allen, Rave interviewed defendant again. At this interview, defendant admitted that he had helped Allen beat and rob Jackson. According to Rave, defendant was then placed under arrest.

After defendant was arrested, he signed a consent form for the police to search his home and gave the police a description of what he was wearing the morning of August 24, 1983, as well as where they could find those clothes in his home. When the police searched defendant's home, they recovered a gray shirt and a pair of cut-off jeans. Defendant identified the shirt and cut-off pants as the clothes he had worn when Jackson was beaten and robbed.

Defendant was also questioned by Assistant State's Attorney Minelli. Minelli testified that defendant had given both an oral and a signed written statement. With respect to the written statement, defendant read it and made some corrections before signing it. The contents of both statements were essentially the same. According to the statements, defendant admitted to being with Allen and Jackson the night Jackson was killed and robbed. Allen had wheeled Jackson into the vacant lot, knocked him off his wheelchair, taken his money and cigarettes, and beaten him with rocks and his wheelchair. Defendant watched for the police; he also kicked Jackson once and dropped dirt on him.

When the State rested, defendant testified on his own behalf. Defendant denied any participation in the murder and robbery of Jackson. Defendant testified that he had spent that evening drinking beer and gin and "getting high" by smoking "happy stick" (a combination of marijuana and the animal tranquilizer PCP). When defendant later saw Jackson and Allen, Jackson offered defendant some more "happy stick" and he and Allen smoked it. As Allen pushed Jackson's wheelchair down the sidewalk, Allen informed defendant of his plans to rob and kill Jackson. Defendant testified that he informed Allen he wanted no part of that crime and walked away. When defendant returned to the vacant lot a few minutes later, he saw Allen beating Jackson. According to defendant, he "rushed" Allen but could not stop Allen from beating Jackson because defendant was "too high." Allen finally fled and defendant walked home. Defendant stated that he then summoned police, told them what happened and gave them Allen's address.

The defense attempted to call Detective Keane, Detective Rave's partner. Defense wanted to examine Keane regarding another alleged suspect in the crime who was never investigated. However, the trial ...

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