APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION
535 N.E.2d 1113, 180 Ill. App. 3d 418, 129 Ill. Dec. 348 1989.IL.303
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Matthew J. Moran, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. JOHNSON and McMORROW, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN
Defendant, Darnisha Scott, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 9-2(b)) after a bench trial and sentenced to a seven-year term. She argues on appeal that the evidence failed to prove that her actions were not reasonable and justified in self-defense, that it was improper for the sentencing court to consider a victim impact report, and that the court abused its discretion in sentencing her to seven years' imprisonment.
Chicago police officer Daniel Dixon testified for the State that on March 26, 1986, about 10:20 a.m. he and his partner responded to a call and found defendant and her mother on the sidewalk at an address on West 105th Street in Chicago. Defendant ran toward the police car and stated that she had been at her boyfriend's house that night, that she had argued with her boyfriend, that he had told her that he was going to get a gun, and that although she did not see the gun, she picked up a knife and stabbed him. Defendant then directed the police to her boyfriend's residence at 10555 South La Salle. However, when they were unable to enter the apartment, they returned to defendant's mother's home and Dixon attempted to telephone the boyfriend. At this point defendant's mother handed him a knife. Later, when Dixon entered the boyfriend's apartment, he found L.C. Godfrey's body. He did not find any weapons or towels near the body. The officer did not observe any injuries to defendant.
Godfrey's mother, Ann Everson, testified for the State that her son did not keep any firearms in their home.
Chicago police officer Gloria Oakes testified for the State that defendant was upset, nervous and was talking in a rambling manner as they sat in the squad car in front of 10555 South La Salle. Defendant told Oakes that her boyfriend had reached for a knife, that they had struggled, and that during the struggle she took the knife and stabbed him. She did not mention a gun in the conversation. She did not observe any injuries to defendant.
It was stipulated that, if called, Dr. T.L. An would testify that he performed an autopsy on Godfrey, that Godfrey had five stab wounds, and that death resulted from multiple stab wounds to the chest and back.
Detective Robert Flood testified for the State that as part of an investigation of the stabbing, he searched Godfrey's home and found a BB gun on a shelf of a dresser in the bedroom adjacent to the bedroom where Godfrey was found. The gun was underneath some clothes, and the room was orderly in comparison to the room where Godfrey was found. The latter room was in disarray. He did not see a green towel anywhere in or near the bedroom where Godfrey was found.
About noon on the date of the incident, Flood interviewed defendant, who stated, after she waived her Miranda rights, that she was awakened to the smell of an "embalming fluid" tablet that was burning in an ashtray. She went to the living room, where Godfrey laughed and told her that he thought that would get her up. She then went to the kitchen to get some water, Godfrey followed and they began arguing. She began hitting him and he went to his bedroom and got a gun which he held in his right hand. She then picked up three knives and told Godfrey, "Kill me." Two of the knives fell and Godfrey twisted her left hand so that the remaining knife fell. She then picked up the knife and started cutting him until he fell.
Subsequent to this interview an assistant State's Attorney arrived. Flood again interviewed defendant, and Flood told her that there was no gun found near Godfrey's body. In reply she stated that she had not seen a gun but that Godfrey had a green towel. At approximately 4:30 p.m. defendant was advised of her Miranda rights, and she gave a statement which was taken in the presence of a court reporter. In this statement defendant said that after she and Godfrey struggled, he pulled her into the living room and that he had a green towel but she did not know what he had in it. She also said that she thought that he was going to kill her, that she picked up a knife and that she stabbed him two or three times in his chest. He then staggered, grabbed her, and told her not to leave him while she yelled, "Let me go." She then ran to her home. As Flood interviewed defendant, she did not complain of injuries, and he did not observe any injuries to her face, neck, right arm or left hand.
Ruby Rodgers, defendant's mother, testified for defendant that at approximately 10 a.m. she met defendant outside their home and found her vomiting. Defendant asked her to help and to call the police. About 15 minutes later, a police car arrived, and defendant flagged the car down. When defendant and the police returned from driving to Godfrey's home, one of the officers came to Rodgers' home and tried to telephone ...