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05/26/89 the People of the State of v. Frank Burgos

May 26, 1989





540 N.E.2d 456, 184 Ill. App. 3d 474, 132 Ill. Dec. 716 1989.IL.808

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


JUSTICE McNAMARA delivered the opinion of the court. EGAN, P.J., and LaPORTA, J., concur.


Following a jury trial, defendant, Frank Burgos, was convicted of the murder of Alfreda Campbell and was sentenced to a natural life prison term. Defendant appeals, contending that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of a prior assault committed by defendant; that the trial court erred in admitting a statement of the murder victim as an excited utterance; that he was denied a fair trial by the prosecutor's misstatement during closing argument; and that the State failed to prove him guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

Dr. Stanley Porter testified that on November 12, 1980, at approximately 2:40 a.m., he was awakened by screams and shouts coming from the eight-floor hallway of the apartment building where he was living. Dr. Porter went to his door and looked out of the peephole. He saw nobody, but heard heavy breathing and saw blood on the peephole. He asked who was out in the hall, but received no response. Dr. Porter opened the door and saw a young black woman with multiple stab wounds lying in front of his apartment door. The woman later was identified as Campbell.

Dr. Porter noticed bloodstains on the floor and saw a knife next to Campbell. Dr. Porter's wife brought him a towel which he used to cover the woman's naked body. He stayed with Campbell until the police arrived about 10 minutes later. During that time, the woman was moaning and groaning. He did not have any conversation with her.

Officer Michael Rodgers testified that at approximately 2:40 a.m., he and his partner received a radio assignment of a woman calling for help on the eighth floor of a Lincoln Park apartment building. When Rodgers arrived at that location, he observed Campbell lying on the carpet in front of and facing apartment 809. Campbell was bleeding from stab wounds in her abdomen and chest. The door to apartment 809 was open and Dr. Porter, whom Rodgers knew, was assisting the woman. Rodgers asked the woman what had happened and where she came from, but he could not understand her responses. He then asked her who stabbed her, and she replied, "Frank."

While Rodgers was attending to Campbell, he heard a door open and close. He turned around and observed a man coming out of an apartment down the hall, from the direction of apartment 814. Rodgers described the man as Hispanic, approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 140 to 150 pounds, and wearing glasses. Rodgers identified the man as defendant. Dr. Porter also testified that he saw a man walking down the hall in a wavering fashion. Dr. Porter identified that man as defendant.

Campbell was taken by squadrol to a hospital. After she was removed, Rodgers noticed a knife which had been under her body. He then followed a trail of blood on the walls and the carpeting of the hallway, from apartment 809 to apartment 814. Inside the apartment, Rodgers found large amounts of blood throughout the bedroom and on the walls. (It is undisputed that defendant resided in apartment 814.)

Sergeant Thomas Stevens testified that he was assigned to investigate the Campbell stabbing. He went to the hospital, but was unable to interview Campbell. Stevens proceeded to the apartment building, where he observed a large pool of blood outside apartment 809 and on either side of the door. He followed the trail of blood, which led to apartment 814. Inside the apartment, Stevens observed blood on the living room carpet, on the bedroom floor and walls, and on the bed. He also observed a metal top of a hammer on the bed and a wooden hammer handle next to the bed. Additionally, there was a pair of women's blue jeans on a hanger, a brown striped blouse, a beige bra and white panties in the area of the bed. On the floor near the bathroom door was a blood-spattered white and gray checked shirt.

On that morning, Stevens contacted Campbell's mother. The following day, a woman identifying herself as Campbell's sister contacted Stevens. After talking to this woman, Stevens sent a Leeds message to the New York police department and initiated a stop order for defendant, indicating that he was wanted for an offense. (Defendant was apprehended in New York and was extradited to Illinois on June 5, 1984.)

Officer Michael McGuire testified that he was assigned to process the crime scene. McGuire photographed the interior of the apartment as well as the hallway where Campbell was found. He took the knife which was in the hallway as well as various items of clothing from apartment 814. He also took a hammer head and handle from the bedroom of that apartment. Latent prints were lifted from a package of cigarettes, a bottle of vodka and the television set. The latent print ...

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