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10/19/88 the People of the State of v. Odell Huddleston

October 19, 1988





530 N.E.2d 1015, 176 Ill. App. 3d 18, 125 Ill. Dec. 606 1988.IL.1536

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. James Heyda, Judge, presiding.


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


Following a jury trial, defendant, Odell Huddleston, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to a prison term of six years. On appeal, defendant contends that: (1) the trial court improperly excluded evidence of the aggressive character of decedent, Dale Mangum; (2) the trial court erred in allowing the State's Attorney to "argue in closing argument that the defense failed to establish proof of matters which had been referred to during the defendant's opening" statement; and (3) the trial court improperly excluded the testimony of Robert Smith, a police officer, regarding the presence of stippling on decedent's clothing. We affirm.

Following is a summary of the evidence adduced at trial.

Defendant lived with his girlfriend, Margaret McIntyde, in a third-floor apartment at 5538 South Peoria, Chicago, Illinois. Margaret testified that on December 17, 1984, defendant returned home from work at approximately 8 a.m. He placed his gun in a trunk in the closet and locked the trunk. Margaret cooked some food for him. They were in bed when they heard Larky, Margaret's mother's boyfriend, and decedent knock on the door. Decedent identified himself, at which point Margaret told defendant that decedent was her brother and asked defendant to open the door. Margaret handed defendant his clothes and she opened the door. Decedent entered the apartment and sat on the bed. He had a bottle of Wild Irish Rose wine in his hands but he did not appear to be intoxicated. Margaret did not smell any liquor on his breath nor did she see him drink from the wine bottle. Decedent commented that the apartment was not a fit place to live because it had no heat, the building had rats and looked like it had been condemned. Decedent urged Margaret to leave with him. He told her about an apartment that was available for $160 per month. Defendant asked decedent where the apartment was located and decedent gave him the address. Margaret showed decedent the way to the bathroom, which was located outside the apartment. She returned to the apartment alone. Defendant told her that he did not believe decedent was her brother, he thought decedent was her "old man." Margaret told defendant that decedent was her brother. Margaret left the apartment and returned shortly with decedent. Decedent sat on a chair and Margaret sat on the bed. Defendant came out of the closet with a gun in his hand. He told decedent "[Get] up, motherf , and get on your knees. Walk slowly and get on your knees." Decedent rose from the chair, walked slowly, got down on his knees and raised his hands. Decedent did not have anything in his hands at this point. Decedent said "[Oh], no, man, don't do it, I got a wife and children, a family to raise." Margaret told defendant, "[That's] my brother, that's my old man, don't do it." Defendant shot decedent in the leg and under the arm. Defendant fired a second shot into the wall. Margaret ran downstairs to her mother's apartment. As she ran downstairs, she heard more shots. She told her mother that defendant "was fixing to kill Dale." Margaret went back to the third floor. She heard some bottles breaking. A neighbor on the third floor told her to go back downstairs, which she did.

Defendant was wearing a pair of jogging pants and shirt, gym shoes and a jacket identified as People's exhibit No. 6, when he shot decedent. Defendant did not have a cut on his arm prior to decedent's visit or while decedent was in the apartment. Margaret first saw the cut on defendant's arm after the police arrived.

Margaret further testified that she kept garbage in the garbage cans in the common kitchen. The common kitchen is located outside the apartment. The garbage had not been taken out for some time. When she went downstairs after the first shots, the garbage cans were standing in the kitchen. When she returned upstairs after the shooting, the garbage cans had been knocked over. There were no bottles or other garbage on the floor of the apartment when decedent arrived or at the time of the shooting.

Police officer Gerald Wesley testified that on December 17, 1984, at approximately 10 a.m., he responded to a radio assignment that a man had been shot at 5538 South Peoria. A two-story stone building with an attic is located at that address. On the outside, the building appeared abandoned or grossly neglected. Inside, the building smelled of garbage, with excrement and other garbage everywhere. Officer Wesley proceeded to the top level of the building. As he neared the top of the stairway, he saw decedent lying on the floor on his stomach, with his head facing the stairway and his feet pointed toward defendant's apartment. Defendant, Vera McIntyde, decedent's mother, and Margaret McIntyde were standing near decedent. Officer Wesley asked what happened, and defendant responded that he shot decedent because they had an argument. Officer Wesley asked defendant for the weapon. Defendant pointed to his apartment and said he was going to show Officer Wesley the location of the weapon. Officer Wesley entered defendant's apartment and defendant followed. Defendant pointed to a stack of clothes and newspapers and told Officer Wesley that the weapon was under the stack. Officer Wesley removed the stack of clothes and newspapers and recovered a Tarus .38 caliber, six-shot revolver. The revolver contained six .38 caliber plus hollow point cartridges. Officer Wesley determined that the revolver had been fired recently and had also been cleaned.

Officer Wesley told defendant that he was under arrest and attempted to tell defendant his rights. Defendant told Officer Wesley that he knew his rights and quoted them verbatim. Officer Wesley then took defendant to the squad car. Defendant was wearing a blue sweatshirt and dark blue jogging pants. Once inside the squad car, Officer Wesley noticed that defendant had a cut on his left forearm. Officer Wesley asked defendant whether the Tarus .38 caliber revolver was the weapon that defendant had used in the shooting and why the revolver had been cleaned. Defendant replied that he always cleaned his weapon after shooting it.

At approximately 2 p.m., that same day, Officer Wesley returned to defendant's apartment and recovered a blue, waist-length jacket, People's exhibit No. 6. Officer Wesley did not see any cuts or slash marks on the jacket but he noticed what appeared to be bloodstains on the inside left sleeve of the jacket.

On cross-examination, Officer Wesley testified that Margaret McIntyde appeared upset at the scene of shooting. She was crying and sobbing uncontrollably. He did not ask her any questions. He did not speak to her. She did not tell him that she witnessed the shooting.

Officer James W. Washington testified that on December 17, 1984, he responded to a radio assignment of a shooting at 5538 South Peoria. He proceeded to the third floor of the building, where he saw decedent lying face down on the floor of the hallway. Defendant was standing in the hallway. Officer Wesley entered defendant's apartment and recovered a Tarus .38 caliber revolver which contained six live hollow point cartridges. Officer Washington then searched defendant's apartment using a flashlight and recovered three expended .38 hollow point cartridges.

The apartment and the hallway were a pigsty. The floor of the apartment was littered with bottles and other garbage. The hallway was littered with garbage, human waste and animal waste. The apartment had no heat and no working electricity. The only source of electricity seemed to be an extension cord running into the apartment, which was unplugged.

Officer Washington examined decedent's hair and clothing. He noticed that decedent had trash in his hair and on the front of his clothes, from the top all the way down to the ankles. Decedent was then transported to the hospital.

Officer Washington noted that defendant was dressed in a blue jogging suit and had some cuts on his left arm. Defendant was not wearing a jacket.

Dr. John Rudzinski was qualified as an expert in the field of medicine. He testified that from the summer of 1984 until June 1985, he worked in the emergency room of St. Bernard's Hospital in Chicago. At approximately 2 p.m., on December 17, 1984, defendant arrived at the hospital complaining of cuts to his left arm. Defendant said that his left arm had been slashed with a wine bottle. Dr. Rudzinski examined defendant's left arm and observed half a dozen thin, straight, superficial cuts along the arm, in a well-delineated area. The cuts appeared to involve no major injuries to the nerves, blood vessels, tendons or muscles of the arm. The cuts were of a uniform direction and depth and did not contain any foreign bodies such as pieces of glass. They did not resemble cuts made by the jagged edge of a bottle. A cut made with a bottle is generally wider, more irregular and deeper, with gaping edges, and, often, pieces of glass embedded in the wound. Based upon these observations, Dr. Rudzinski was of the opinion that the cuts on defendant's arm were self-inflicted.

Detective Thomas O'Connor testified that he arrived at 5538 South Peoria at approximately 11 a.m., on December 17, 1984. He proceeded to the third floor of the building, where he observed decedent lying facedown near the stairway. Decedent's hair was dirty in one section and his clothing was soiled, especially at the knees. Detective O'Connor entered defendant's apartment, which consisted of one large room separated in two sections by a curtain or sheet. The first section of the room was the sleeping area and contained a couple of mattresses on the floor and a chair. There was debris centered in the middle of the sleeping area. The back section of the room was the kitchen area and contained a sink which did not work. There were broken bottles inside the sink but the kitchen area did not contain any other debris. There was a common kitchen outside the apartment with a garbage can lying on its side.

Detective O'Connor further testified that at approximately 2:45 p.m. that same day, he and Officer Dale Riordan interviewed defendant at the police station. Officer Riordan read the Miranda warnings to defendant. Defendant indicated that he understood his rights and gave three accounts of the shooting. In all three accounts, defendant stated that he returned home from work early in the morning. He was in bed when Larky Hudson knocked on the door announcing that Margaret's brother had come to visit. Margaret opened the door and her brother entered. Larky did not come into the apartment. Margaret introduced her brother, ...

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