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09/28/88 the People of the State of v. Ladell Henderson

September 28, 1988

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

LADELL HENDERSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, THIRD DIVISION

529 N.E.2d 1051, 175 Ill. App. 3d 483, 124 Ill. Dec. 934 1988.IL.1457

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Earl Strayhorn, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

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

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE RIZZI

Defendant, Ladell Henderson, was found guilty of murder, attempted murder, home invasion and conspiracy to commit murder. Defendant was sentenced to natural life imprisonment for murder, 30 years for attempted murder and seven years for conspiracy to commit murder. Defendant was not sentenced on the conviction for home invasion. On appeal, defendant argues that (1) the trial court's instruction on attempted murder was erroneous in that it allowed the jury to find defendant guilty without finding that he acted with the specific intent to kill; (2) the trial court improperly excluded evidence of the complaining witness' alleged drug addiction; (3) the trial court erroneously denied defendant's motion to suppress his pretrial statement; (4) the State was improperly permitted to bolster the complainant's testimony; (5) the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing defendant to a term of natural life imprisonment; and (6) defendant was improperly convicted and sentenced on both murder and conspiracy to commit murder. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

The testimony introduced by the State at trial establishes that on February 28, 1984, Mona Chavez and her uncle, Dennis Leonard, were at home watching television. Chavez heard a knock on the door. When Leonard opened the door, defendant and two other men were standing in the doorway. Two of the men grabbed Leonard and threw him to the floor. Defendant then walked to Chavez and said, "You gonna die bitch." Defendant told Leonard that he was going to die, pulled out a gun and fired two shots into the back of Leonard's head. Chavez pleaded for her life with defendant but he told her that if he could not have her then nobody would. Defendant then grabbed her hair, pulled her head to the side and shot her.

Chavez stumbled down the apartment stairs and cried for help. When the police arrived Chavez informed them that defendant had shot her. Chavez knew defendant from the neighborhood because he had asked her several times to be "his lady." Chavez had also seen defendant four days prior to the shooting because he kicked her back door in to her apartment and took some of her personal possessions.

Assistant State's Attorney Kim Kardas, who interviewed defendant subsequent to defendant's arrest, also testified. Kardas testified that prior to his questions directed to defendant, he informed defendant that he was an assistant State's Attorney. Kardas read defendant his rights and defendant indicated that he understood. According to Kardas, defendant stated that he knew what an assistant State's Attorney was and also knew that Kardas was not his lawyer.

According to defendant's statement, on the evening of the shooting, defendant was informed by someone named Billy Ray that there was a contract out on Chavez. Billy Ray wanted defendant to take him to Chavez' apartment. Defendant, Billy Ray and another man, "Speedy," went to Chavez' place. Leonard opened the door and told Billy Ray that he thought Chavez' debt of $1,500 had been settled. Billy Ray and Speedy took out their guns and told Leonard to lie down on the floor. In response to Chavez' request for help, defendant informed her that it was out of his hands. Billy Ray and Speedy told defendant to leave the apartment. As defendant left the apartment, he heard the shots that were fired.

After Kardas took defendant's statement and defendant began to read it to make any corrections or changes, defendant stopped on the second page when he saw the words "Assistant State's Attorney." Defendant then told Kardas, "I thought you were my lawyer." Kardas testified that defendant then claimed that Kardas stated that he was defendant's lawyer.

Prior to trial, defendant made a motion to suppress this statement. At the hearing, the defense presented witnesses who testified as to defendant's intellectual capabilities. Leonard Unterberger, a psychologist, stated that defendant has a below average I.Q. of 64. He further stated that defendant possesses limited reading abilities. Unterberger's Conclusions were based upon diagnostic work performed by the psychological examiners under Unterberger's supervision.

The trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress. Following trial, defendant was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to natural life imprisonment for the murder, 30 years for attempted murder and seven years for conspiracy. No sentence was imposed for home invasion and the conviction for this charge is not a contention in this appeal.

Defendant first argues that the trial court's instruction on attempted murder was erroneous in that it allowed the jury to find defendant guilty of murder without finding ...


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