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04/25/89 the People of the State of v. Oscar Peterson

April 25, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

OSCAR PETERSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, SECOND DIVISION

538 N.E.2d 685, 182 Ill. App. 3d 756, 131 Ill. Dec. 310 1989.IL.596

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. James J. Heyda, Judge, presiding.

Rehearing Denied May 23, 1989.

APPELLATE Judges:

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

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE BILANDIC

Defendant Oscar Peterson was convicted by a jury of murder, robbery and the aggravated kidnapping of Gerald Broyles (hereinafter victim or deceased). On defendant's motion, the trial court vacated the aggravated kidnapping conviction and sentenced defendant to concurrent terms of 30 years for murder and seven years for robbery. Defendant appeals, arguing that he was denied effective assistance of counsel at trial; that he was denied a fair trial by the admission of a hearsay statement of the deceased to a paramedic; and that his 30-year sentence for murder is excessive. We affirm.

The alleged crimes occurred on September 24, 1984, in the vicinity of 69th and State Streets in Chicago, Illinois. Guys and Gals Lounge occupies the first floor of the building known as 6901 South State Street. Charlene Smith lives in a third-floor apartment in the same building. As she looked out of her apartment window at approximately 4 a.m. on September 24, 1984, she noticed two police officers talking to an elderly man and a young man. She identified the defendant as the younger man and the victim as the older man. Charles Fitzpatrick and Robert Poole were the officers engaged in the conversation with the defendant and the victim. She did not hear the conversation.

Ms. Smith saw the defendant and the victim walk east on 69th Street. There was no struggle or exchange of angry words. Then the officers entered the lounge on the first floor of her building and were out of her view. Next, she saw the defendant look back toward State Street, grab the victim by the collar, and drag him into a 3 1/2-foot-wide gangway on the State Street side of her building. The only entrance or exit to the gangway was on State Street.

As defendant dragged the victim into the gangway, Ms. Smith saw the victim's foot clinging to an edge of the building. Then she noticed the foot quiver, go limp, and disappear from her view. Approximately two minutes later, she saw the defendant emerge from the gangway alone. Ms. Smith called 911 and reported the incident.

When she returned to her apartment window, she saw Officers Fitzpatrick and Poole leave the lounge and head for their squadrol and leave. Shortly thereafter, she noticed that the squadrol returned. She then saw the officers speaking to the defendant. She did not hear this conversation.

The officers testified that when they first observed the defendant and the victim at 69th and State Streets, the victim was bleeding from a laceration across his nose, his glasses were crooked, and he smelled of alcohol. He told the officers that the defendant did not cause his injuries. Then the officers entered the Guys and Gals Lounge and talked to the night watchman for 5 or 10 minutes.

As the officers left the lounge in response to a call to check out the alley between 69th and 70th Streets, they noticed the defendant four or five feet from the gangway. They asked him about the victim, and defendant responded that he left in a car with some whores. Defendant was sweating profusely despite the fact that it was a fall morning. Because of his suspicious activity, the officers filled out a contact card regarding the defendant and then asked him to leave.

After completing the alley check, the officers returned to the corner of 69th and State Streets. The night watchman knocked on the window of the lounge to get their attention. They then noticed the gangway for the first time. With the help of a flashlight, they entered the gangway and discovered the victim in the fetal position, lying in a pool of blood, with his wallet and some papers nearby. They ...


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