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12/15/88 the People of the State of v. Melvin R. Cleesen

December 15, 1988





531 N.E.2d 1113, 177 Ill. App. 3d 103, 126 Ill. Dec. 486 1988.IL.1818

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Adams County; the Hon. Edward B. Dittmeyer, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE SPITZ delivered the opinion of the court. KNECHT and GREEN, JJ., concur.


Defendant Melvin R. Cleesen was charged by indictment on August 28, 1987, with three counts of first degree murder, one count of home invasion, and one count of conspiracy (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3), 12-11(a)(2), 8-1(a)).

On October 22, 1987, the defendant filed a motion to suppress statements he made to police officers during interrogations that took place on August 10, 1987. The motion alleged that the statements were made as a result of threat and coercion, and therefore, were not given voluntarily. A suppression hearing was held on November 2, 1987, at the Conclusion of which the motion was denied. The evidence presented at this hearing will be discussed where relevant to the issues presented.

One of the murder counts (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)(1)) was dismissed on January 14, 1988, on motion by the State. The cause then proceeded to trial on the remaining four counts. The prosecutor's theory was that the defendant was accountable for the conduct of Tommy Dailing and Paul Wayman. The evidence disclosed that Dailing and Wayman had broken into an upstairs apartment located at 1110 1/2 State Street in Quincy, Illinois, and ransacked the apartment, looking for money. The incident took place sometime between the hours of 7 p.m. on August 6, 1987, to 1:30 p.m. on August 7, 1987. The woman who lived in the apartment, Mae Barry, died during the incident.

Dr. Jordin Lee Mann, who performed the autopsy on Barry's body, testified that the exact cause of death was undetermined. In performing the autopsy, Mann observed multiple contusions, located primarily on Barry's arms and legs and around the mouth. He found an area of hemorrhage between Barry's scalp and skull. Further, he determined that there had been two distinct blows to the head from a fairly broad surface. He reasoned that one blow might have been caused by someone knocking her off the bed and banging her head on the floor. Mann also found extensive blunt trauma to Barry's chest which resulted in rib fractures. He believed that this could have been caused by someone jumping on her as she lay on the bed. Additionally, Mann found some type of blunt injury to Barry's left back area. At the time of her death, Barry was 85 years old, was 5 feet 1 1/2 inches tall and weighed 89 pounds.

Charlie Mudd owned the apartment building in question and lived in the apartment located downstairs from Barry's. He had thrown a party at his apartment on the evening of the incident. A number of people attended the party and several kegs of beer were served. Among those attending the party were the defendant, Tommy Dailing, and Paul Wayman -- defendant's mother's live-in boyfriend. According to Mudd, he had seen Barry in her apartment at approximately 7 p.m. on the night of the party. At approximately 1:30 p.m. the following day, Mudd found Barry's door ajar and discovered her body. The police were then contacted.

Quincy police officers Grant and Meyer initially investigated the scene. When the officers arrived, they found Barry lying supine on the floor by her bed, and the apartment was in a state of disarray. Furniture had been overturned, a fan had been knocked to the floor, the bed and rug were pulled away from the wall, and the mattress was off-center on the bed. In the closet area, numerous containers, some containing jewelry, were scattered with the lids off. The investigating officers removed the carpet and found two envelopes, one containing $250 and the other containing $275. They discovered a broken chain lock on the apartment door and found fingerprints on the transom above the door, indicating a forced entry. No valuables or cash appeared to be missing. An employee of Illinois Bell Telephone Company testified that a telephone line along the outside of the apartment building had been cut by a pocketknife or a pair of cutters.

Mudd also owned an apartment building located behind the one in which Barry lived. Mudd testified that Melvin "Butch" Schamma, who lived in the second apartment building, had previously told Mudd that he thought Barry had large amounts of cash in her apartment. Mudd further testified that Tommy Dailing, an amateur boxer, had lived with Schamma during part of the summer of 1987. Mudd had several prior burglary and theft convictions.

Schamma testified that Dailing had lived upstairs from him. Schamma admitted telling Dailing and Wayman that he thought Barry had as much as $20,000 in cash in her apartment. He further admitted to having "several" conversations with Dailing about the cash. Schamma stated that he had been involved in a number of residential burglaries with Dailing and Wayman.

Linda Cleesen, defendant's mother, testified that Paul Wayman and the defendant had developed a father- and son-like relationship. Cleesen stated that Wayman and the defendant left home on the evening of August 6, 1987, and returned at 2 a.m. the following morning. The ...

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