APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION
530 N.E.2d 1035, 176 Ill. App. 3d 49, 125 Ill. Dec. 626 1988.IL.1541
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Earl E. Strayhorn, Judge, presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE JIGANTI delivered the opinion of the court. LINN and McMORROW, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE JIGANTI
The defendant, Lindsay Cannon, and co-defendants Andre Johnson and Preston Adams were jointly indicted and tried before a jury for murder and conspiracy to commit murder. This appeal concerns Cannon, who was found guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to natural life. The co-defendants were found not guilty of murder but guilty of conspiracy to commit murder. Cannon's appeal raises issues concerning jury instructions, severance, and certain other trial errors.
Prior to trial, Cannon made a motion for severance on the ground that Adams' defense at trial would be coercion and intimidation on the part of Cannon and Johnson which was inconsistent with Cannon's defense of self-defense. The trial court denied this motion. Cannon unsuccessfully renewed the motion after opening statements.
At trial, the State's evidence consisted primarily of published court-reported statements of Cannon, Johnson, and Adams. Cannon's court-reported statement established the following. Cannon, Johnson, and Adams were all members of a street gang called the Disciples. On October 6, 1984, Cannon met with co-defendants Adams and Johnson and discussed going to 2051 West Lake Street to "get even with some boys that shot at [Adams] during the day." The boys who shot at Adams were members of a rival gang called the Vice Lords.
In his statement, Cannon further stated that later that night, he went to 2051 West Lake Street with the codefendants. Cannon carried a .22 caliber sawed-off rifle, Adams carried a .38 caliber revolver, and Johnson carried an umbrella. When they arrived at the building, Cannon separated from Johnson and Adams and went up to the seventh floor. When Cannon returned to the first floor, he walked out to the front of the building and found Johnson and Adams arguing over the .38 caliber revolver which was to be used for shooting at the Vice Lords.
While Cannon was breaking up this argument, he heard someone shout "Almighty," which meant Vice Lords, and someone immediately started shooting at the three defendants. The defendant saw that the shots were being fired by a person in the 2051 West Lake Street building. All three of the defendants started to run. Cannon turned around and fired three shots at the building. He had to reload the rifle after the first and second shots. The reason Cannon shot at the building was because "[that] is where the shots were coming from." Codefendant Adams also fired five shots at the building.
In a portion of a statement by Cannon that defense counsel unsuccessfully requested be redacted, Cannon stated that after firing the three shots, he ran to 2111 West Lake Street, where he and Johnson each fired once at the building located at 2029 West Lake Street. Finally they ran to 2145 West Lake Street, where they left the gun until several days later when Cannon took the gun to a different location where the police subsequently retrieved it.
Johnson's court-reported statement gave substantially the same account of the events. He additionally stated that Cannon saw the Vice Lords coming while he was trying to break up the argument outside of the building. Johnson further stated that he heard four shots and ran for shelter while Cannon and Adams fired shots at the 2051 West Lake Street building.
One of the shots fired by Cannon fatally wounded Edward Barrow, who was on the second-floor landing of the 2051 West Lake Street building on his way to visit his mother. Barrow was not part of any street gang.
Adams' court-reported statement was also substantially similar to the statements given by Cannon and Johnson. However, at trial Adams, the only defendant to testify, stated that not all of his statement was true. Adams testified that Cannon and Johnson had told him what to say in his court-reported statement and that he followed their instructions out of fear for his own life and that of his family. According to Adams, both Cannon and Johnson held a high rank in the gang. Adams stated that they had been to his home in the past to get him against his will. On cross-examination, Adams testified that Johnson had not threatened him after his arrest and that Cannon never directly told him how to testify.
Adams also testified that before the shooting incident, Cannon and Johnson asked Adams to go to 2051 West Lake Street because someone lived there who owed Johnson money. Cannon had a .22 caliber rifle and Adams got the impression that something might happen to him if he did not go. According to Adams, Johnson carried an army rifle. Adams testified that he was not armed and that he did not fire any shots at the 2051 West Lake Street building. However, Adams later testified that when the Vice Lords began shooting, he returned fire with a .38 caliber pistol which he grabbed from Johnson.
During the jury instructions conference, defense counsel for Cannon requested jury instructions for self-defense, both categories of voluntary manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter. After hearing argument from counsel, the trial Judge concluded that ...