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12/22/88 the People of the State of v. Donald Carter

December 22, 1988

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

DONALD CARTER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION

532 N.E.2d 531, 177 Ill. App. 3d 593, 126 Ill. Dec. 846 1988.IL.1865

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Vincent Bentivenga, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. JIGANTI, P.J., and McMORROW, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN

After a jury trial, Donald Carter was convicted of the murder of his wife, Rene Carter, and sentenced to 32 years in prison. He asserts several errors on appeal, including improper comments by the prosecutor; improper cross-examination; error in the admission of a witness' statement that defendant told her he would not let her telephone the police on him again; insufficiency of the evidence; and improper jury instructions on the requisites of voluntary manslaughter.

Background

Sandra Pierce, sister of the victim, testified that she, her two sons, and the defendant lived together in Sandra's apartment. On August 18, 1984, defendant and his wife, Rene, were going out to celebrate because he had won $40 in the lottery. Sandra saw defendant and Rene at approximately 7 p.m. that evening. Shortly after midnight on August 19, defendant telephoned Sandra to see if Rene had returned to the apartment. He told Sandra that they had started arguing and that Rene had gone off with some men.

Fifteen to twenty minutes later, defendant rang the apartment bell in the lobby and Sandra buzzed him in. He went into the bedroom where Rene's daughter Gerviece was watching television and stayed for 15 minutes. He then returned to the front room, where Sandra was sitting. Rene came home approximately 15 to 20 minutes later and an argument broke out. Rene held an unopened bottle of beer which defendant grabbed away from her and poured out in the bathroom.

Defendant returned to the living room as Sandra passed him on her way to the bathroom. She heard defendant call Rene names and ask why she left him. Sandra heard someone go into the kitchen. As she started to leave the bathroom, Gerviece brushed past. She then saw defendant run by with one of her kitchen knives in his hand. She saw defendant leave through the front door of the apartment. At the same time, she heard mumbling from the kitchen. She went into the kitchen, where she saw her sister with blood coming out of her chest. Rene stumbled toward her and then fell on her.

Gerviece Pierce, Rene's 16-year-old daughter, testified that in the early morning hours of August 19, 1984, she was in her room watching television when the telephone rang. Her aunt, Sandra Pierce, came to her door and told Gerviece that defendant had told her during the telephone call that a gang had her mother. About 15 minutes later, defendant came home and entered Gerviece's room, where he sat down for awhile. He said, "I am going to kill that bitch."

When the doorbell rang and her mother returned, Gerviece went to the front room. She saw defendant snatch the beer bottle Rene was holding and pour it out. Gerviece saw Sandra go toward the bathroom after defendant returned to the front room. Defendant grabbed Rene and started to pull her out of the apartment, while Gerviece pulled her mother back in. Defendant was calling Rene names, and Gerviece tried to get between the two of them. Defendant hit Rene in the face and she fell on the couch. Gerviece ran to the kitchen to call the police. Defendant ran after her, grabbed the phone, and told her that she was "not going to call the police on [him] this time." Gerviece ran out of the kitchen toward the front door. She last saw her mother alive standing in the doorway of the kitchen.

Gerviece called the police from a phone booth across the street from the apartment building. When she returned, the front door was open, blood was all around, and her mother was lying on the kitchen floor in the arms of Sandra Pierce.

Officer Eldridge Grimes testified that he received a call at 2:14 a.m. that someone had been stabbed and that he called paramedics when ...


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