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04/28/89 the People of the State of v. Cory S. Fisher

April 28, 1989




Before giving the sentence, the trial court stated it had considered the evidence at the trial, the presentence investigation report, the letters submitted to the court, the testimony presented at the sentencing hearing, arguments of counsel, and the statement of defendant. We note the trial court also referred to evidence that defendant had experienced problems with blacks. The court stated as follows:


542 N.E.2d 1127, 186 Ill. App. 3d 255, 134 Ill. Dec. 620 1989.IL.619

Appeal from the Circuit Court of McLean County; the Hon. Charles E. Glennon, Judge, presiding.


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


Defendant Cory Fisher was charged with two counts of first degree murder and one count of aggravated battery. A jury found defendant guilty of second degree murder. He was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment and ordered to pay $13,582 restitution within two years after his release from prison. On appeal, defendant questions the propriety of his sentence. Defendant argues the trial court considered improper aggravating factors in sentencing him to 15 years' imprisonment; the trial court erroneously sentenced defendant to the maximum term of imprisonment allowed by statute; and the trial court erroneously ordered defendant to pay restitution to the victim's mother.

The record on appeal consists of the common law record, transcripts of the July 4, 1988, hearing held on the post-trial motion and for sentencing, and the exhibits presented at the sentencing hearing. The record on appeal does not contain any transcripts from the six-day jury trial.

The facts are as they were related by the trial court at the sentencing hearing. The incident which led to defendant's conviction occurred on November 3, 1987, at a Burger King restaurant during the noon hour. Defendant, a student at Normal Community High School, brought his grandfather's .357 magnum handgun to school with him that day, because he had experienced difficulties with some students and felt he was not receiving any help from adults with this problem. Defendant sat at a picnic table outside the Burger King, the victim approached defendant, some words were exchanged, and defendant pulled the gun and backed the victim into the restaurant. Defendant then shot and injured the victim. Defendant pursued the fleeing victim, who cowered and tried to protect himself. According to the trial court, defendant then stated "Now, it is time to die," and "That will teach you to mess with me," and shot the victim a second time. The victim attempted to flee again and defendant shot him a third and final time. In addition, a bullet fragment injured a Burger King employee.

Defendant filed a post-trial motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict and, in the alternative, for a new trial which basically alleged failure to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, among other claims, but failed to argue any of the issues which are now on appeal. The trial court denied the motion at the sentencing hearing. The court next stated it would consider the following before imposing sentence: a presentence investigation report, an intensive probation supervision report, a forensic report by Dr. Robert Chapman dated May 26, 1988, McLean County Center for Human Services contact notes filed June 23, 1988, and a victim response letter from the victim's mother dated June 23, 1988, with medical and hospital bills attached thereto. The court also stated it would consider all but one letter submitted by relatives and acquaintances of defendant.

The State called Mary Johnson to testify. Johnson stated that she is the victim's great aunt and had adopted the victim approximately three years before the hearing. Mrs. Johnson also gave a brief statement concerning the effect of the loss of her son.

Defendant called Melinda Fellner, an inmate counselor for the McLean County sheriff's department. Fellner testified to defendant's behavior during his incarceration since the date of the incident. She stated that there had been no reports or incidents of disciplinary proceedings against defendant since his incarceration on November 3, 1987. She said defendant was polite and had obtained a general equivalency diploma in February 1988. She said defendant was a subdued and quiet inmate, and he asked for counseling on occasion when suffering from anxiety or depression.

The court admitted, on defense counsel's motion, a letter from Dr. Chapman to defense counsel dated July 12, 1988. Dr. Chapman was then called to testify on behalf of defendant. The court took notice of earlier evidentiary proceedings relating to Dr. Chapman's qualifications as a psychiatrist and expert witness. Dr. Chapman stated he had examined defendant on three occasions and concluded defendant suffered from a personality disorder. Dr. Chapman also gave a tentative diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, a psychological and physiological reaction to stress beyond the common human experience triggered by the incident on November 3, 1987. Dr. Chapman stated that without treatment defendant's personality was unlikely to change and as he matured it might take a different form, adult avoidance personality. Without treatment, according to Dr. Chapman, the post-traumatic stress syndrome would resolve itself within two years.

Dr. Chapman stated the optimum treatment for defendant would consist of defendant residing elsewhere than Bloomington and defendant obtaining individual psychotherapy or counseling by a professional or under the supervision of a psychiatrist. Dr. Chapman thought defendant should have rehabilitation training including the development of vocational skills, assertiveness training, social skills training, and training in the skills of independent living directed ...

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