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03/28/89 the People of the State of v. Antonio Reyes

March 28, 1989




Before the jury selection began, the defendant filed a set of questions to be asked individually of the prospective jurors. They included the following:


536 N.E.2d 990, 181 Ill. App. 3d 246, 129 Ill. Dec. 940 1989.IL.403

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas P. Durkin, Judge, presiding.


PRESIDING JUSTICE EGAN delivered the opinion of the court. HARTMAN and BILANDIC, JJ., concur.


The defendant, Antonio Reyes, and Jose Hernandez were indicted for armed robbery, armed violence, unlawful restraint, aggravated kidnapping and separate counts of murder, including intentional murder, killing in the commission of a forcible felony and stabbing the victim, knowing that such action would cause strong probability of death. Hernandez pleaded guilty to intentional murder, armed robbery and aggravated kidnapping and was sentenced to concurrent terms of 35 years for murder and 30 years for armed robbery and aggravated kidnapping. The defendant was convicted by a jury of armed robbery, felony murder and stabbing the victim knowing that it would cause strong probability of death. His defense was insanity. The Judge indicated he would not impose the death penalty, and the defendant waived his right to a jury for sentencing. The Judge found that the defendant was eligible for the death penalty but, because of the mitigating factor of diminished mental ability, he sentenced him to a term of natural life imprisonment.

Judy Benson, the girlfriend of Hernandez, testified that on August 14 and 15, 1984, the defendant and Hernandez discussed plans to steal a car in order to drive to Idaho to avoid pending criminal charges. On August 16 at 10 a.m., the defendant and Hernandez met Benson. The three went to a resale store where both Hernandez and the defendant made purchases. They stopped at the San Antonio Bar in Chicago, where the defendant changed his shirt and shoes and discarded his old clothes in the alley. The three spent the day together, returning to an area of Chicago called "Greek Town" about 6 p.m. Benson left and rejoined them between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the van in which defendant and Hernandez were living. The two men were drinking; Benson observed that they had a six-pack of malt liquor beer, of which two cans had been opened; however, neither man seemed intoxicated.

The defendant said that "tonight is the night we're going to do it. We're going to get a -- we're going to leave." Hernandez took Benson's purse and showed the defendant Benson's driver's license, apparently to show that Benson could lawfully drive a vehicle. Pursuant to Hernandez' instructions, Benson went home, changed and returned to the van about one hour later. The defendant again stated that they were going to steal a car, hot wire a car or highjack a cab, but Benson refused to participate. Benson and Hernandez stepped away from the defendant, and Hernandez threatened to kill her if she refused to cooperate. Benson again refused, noting that she was pregnant with his child.

The three went to the corner of Gladys and Halsted, and Hernandez flagged down a cab. He refused to enter the cab because he knew the driver. Both Hernandez and the defendant stated that they had to catch another cab. The defendant said that they would have to "get rid of the driver" and that "we'll kill the mother-fucker if we have to." They then flagged down another cab, a Checker cab, and got in. Hernandez was carrying a red duffle bag in which he had placed a knife with a wooden handle and a six-inch blade. It was called a "pro-throw" knife.

The defendant gave a statement to Assistant State's Attorney Dane Cleven which was recorded by a stenographer, transcribed and signed by the defendant. In that statement the defendant said the following: He and Hernandez entered into the back of a cab driven by Dennis Reilly and told him to drive south on Western Avenue. The defendant then told Reilly to make the first right turn, which led into a dark industrial area at 3230 South Western Avenue. Hernandez handed the defendant a knife, although the defendant could not remember whether it was the pro-throw knife. He also handed the defendant his wallet in order to give the driver the impression that the defendant was going to pay the fare. The defendant then handed the wallet back to Hernandez and grabbed the driver by the neck. He recalled that there was a struggle and that the driver was stabbed when he reached for a knife under his seat. The defendant could not remember whether he stabbed the driver. After he was stabbed, the driver got out of the cab, and the defendant got in the driver's seat while Hernandez got in the front passenger seat. The cab driver had given the defendant his money during the struggle. The defendant then drove the cab out of the area. He and Hernandez had intended to drive to Idaho but got lost and wound up in Indiana. At the Indiana State line, Hernandez wanted to drive, so he and the defendant switched places.

Dennis Reilly's body was discovered in the roadway of 3230 South Western Avenue by Officer John Tedesco. He observed a large blood stain in the center of the victim's face, nose, mouth and left wrist. The autopsy revealed stab wounds to the chest and wrist as well as multiple abrasions on the victim's face and knees. The stab wound to the chest lacerated the heart.

The defendant and Hernandez were arrested in the cab later that night in Indiana after a high-speed chase which ended when Trooper Michael Greene bumped the cab off the road. Trooper Richard Dick observed what appeared to be blood on the driver's door. He saw a book with a knife handle sticking out. He also retrieved a red duffle bag. The duffle bag was later opened and found to contain personal items and approximately $7 in nickels, dimes and quarters. At the jail the troopers confiscated the defendant's clothes and found $77 in one of the defendant's shoes. Subsequent tests performed by the Chicago police crime laboratory showed that Reilly's blood was on the defendant's trousers. Fingerprints lifted from the left inside rear-view mirror of the cab were identified as those of the defendant and Hernandez.

The defendant first called Indiana Trooper Dick, who testified that at approximately 4:35 a.m. on August 17, he read the defendant his rights off an advice-of-rights interrogation form, which the defendant appeared to understand. The defendant refused to sign the bottom portion of the form. Dick also stated that the defendant did not appear to be intoxicated and did not mention that he had been sniffing paint that day.

The defendant's sister, Angela Reyes, one year older than he, testified about his family life. Their mother ran off after the defendant was born and their father remarried. The father constantly beat the children and yelled at the defendant, calling him names and telling him that he was no good. When the defendant turned 12 or 13, his personality underwent a change, and he became sad, emotionally disturbed and exhibited low self-esteem. He was also getting high on sniffing paint every day, after which he would come home and sit and stare while his father stared at him. He reported to his sister that he saw Jesus and heard humming sounds while he prayed. He dropped out of school in 1978, at the beginning of his second year of high school, because of his fear of street gangs. She testified that her brother's condition deteriorated, and sometimes after his father yelled at him, the defendant would break windows and doors. He began sleeping in alleys after getting high from paint-sniffing. When the police found him they would take him to a hospital, and from there he would be sent to a mental hospital or a veteran's hospital. His father refused to let him come home until the police insisted. The defendant's father and stepmother moved to Texas soon after the defendant's arrest in this case. When the defendant joined the army and was sent overseas to Germany, his sister lost track of him.

The defendant had entered the army in 1979 and received a general discharge in 1981 for psychological reasons after he was caught sniffing paint and after he had assaulted his sergeant.

Albert Pawlowski, a drug rehabilitation technician at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center in Chicago, testified that he first met the defendant in February 1982 when the defendant voluntarily entered a rehabilitation program after admitting to sniffing paint and using phencyclidine for four to five years. The defendant stayed in the program for two months. Pawlowski next met the defendant over a year later, in July 1983, in the "detox" unit of the Veteran's Administration Medical Center, where the defendant had gone voluntarily. The defendant remained in the program for seven months. He described the defendant's behavior as passive, withdrawn and timid, which was characteristic of paint or PCP abusers. However, the defendant was given a high level of responsibility as a cook in the program and was able to follow the rules. He voluntarily left the program February 8, 1984, while in the second phase, although the medical staff advised him that he was not ready to leave.

Dr. Leonard Koziol, a clinical psychologist, evaluated the defendant in May 1986 at the Cook County jail. He reviewed the police reports, psychiatric treatment reports from the defendant's prior hospital admissions and family history and interviewed the defendant for 4 1/2 hours. He concluded that the defendant had an organic mental disorder. The defendant's IQ was 80, 29 points lower than his score in 1979, from which Dr. Koziol concluded that the defendant's chronic paint-sniffing had resulted in deterioration of his functioning. He also concluded that the defendant had self-destructive behavior, as exhibited by his history of paint-sniffing, frequent inability to care for himself physically and his numerous suicide attempts. On cross-examination Dr. Koziol admitted that the defendant's alleged suicide attempt where he lay "in front of a train on railroad tracks" but did not kill himself because the train was going too slow could have been an act of "manipulation." He felt that the defendant's impairment could have been caused by chronic paint inhalation, the effect of which would include impairment of judgment and impulsive behavior. He was also of the opinion that at the time of the killing, the defendant was incapable of conforming his conduct to the requirements of the law. The defendant was "insane" at the time of the killing, although the defendant's ...

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