Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

06/30/89 the People of the State of v. James Williams

June 30, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

JAMES WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

THE DEFENDANT, JAMES WILLIAMS, WAS FOUND GUILTY BY A JURY OF INTENTIONAL MURDER (ILL. RE

v.

STAT. 1983, CH. 38, PAR. 9-1(A)(1)), FOR THE SHOOTING DEATH OF FRANK RHODES AND WAS SENTENCED TO 35 YEARS' IMPRISONMENT.



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, SECOND DIVISION

542 N.E.2d 93, 185 Ill. App. 3d 1040, 134 Ill. Dec. 93 1989.IL.1052

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Gino L. DiVito, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE EGAN* delivered the opinion of the court. BILANDIC, P.J., and HARTMAN, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE EGAN

On October 31, 1984, at 9:30 p.m., Frank Rhodes was standing with five or six other persons, including his friends Duane Gratton, Wayne Mitchell and William Purchase, at 72nd and Eggleston in Chicago. They were attempting to start Purchase's car, which was parked facing east on 72nd Street next to Hamilton Park. The area was illuminated by a streetlight across the street.

While Rhodes and the others were working on the car, a man, later identified as the defendant, walked by on the sidewalk adjacent to the park heading east on 72nd Street. A person standing near Rhodes, identified only as "Ya Ya," said to the man, "What's happening, man?" After the man did not respond, Ya Ya asked, "Man, is you Folks or what?" "Folks" is the term used to describe street gangs affiliated with the Disciples; Rhodes and his friends, other than Purchase, were members of the Gangster Disciple street gang. The man turned around and said "I ain't no Folks. I ain't no sissy. All is well." The term "all is well" meant that he was a member of the "People." "People" is used to describe the rival group of gangs affiliated with the Stones: El Rukn, Black Stone or Cobra Stone street gangs. The man also wore his hat turned backwards and tilted toward the left, which also represented the Stones.

The man then pulled a gun from his jacket pocket and fired one shot, which hit Rhodes in the head, killing him. Those standing with Rhodes ran when the shot was fired; and the man fired two shots at them. He then walked up to Rhodes, who was lying on the ground, and it appeared to witnesses that he was going to shoot Rhodes again. At that moment two men came out of a courtyard building, and the man ran into Hamilton Park.

At approximately 9:45 p.m., Officers Terrance Pickens and Brian Daley of the Chicago police department received a radio call regarding the shooting. They arrived on the scene approximately 15 to 20 minutes later and interviewed Mitchell, Gratton and Purchase, who described the assailant as wearing a black cloth or leather jacket, black or navy blue pinstripe pants, white gym shoes and a dark-colored cap.

About one hour later, while the officers were interviewing the witnesses in their squad car, the defendant was seen walking through the park. Gratton first identified him as the assailant, and the others agreed. The officers arrested him; and the clothes he was wearing fit the general description given to the police, except that he was not wearing a hat and his jacket, although black, was not leather.

Later that evening, Detective David Golubiak requested that evidence technicians perform a gunshot-residue test on the defendant's hands. The test was performed between midnight and 1 a.m., approximately three hours after the shooting. The test did not disclose any residue on his hands. It was stipulated that the evidence technician would testify that during the course of taking the gunshot-residue test the defendant replied in response to the technician's question that he had washed his hands at about 10 p.m. that evening.

Jean Goliak, an employee of the Chicago Police Department Crime Laboratory with special training in gunshot-residue analysis, testified that hand-washing could destroy any gunshot-residue on the hands. Other factors which affect detection of residue include weather conditions, passage of time and whether the gun was fired indoors or outdoors. Golubiak, who was not an expert in the field of gunshot-residue, testified that he was told by technicians at a police crime laboratory class that the residue is very sensitive and could be destroyed when a person puts his hands in his pockets.

Golubiak also testified that the defendant was placed in a lineup at Area 3 Headquarters and viewed by six witnesses. Five of them were on the scene at the time of the shooting; the sixth was walking through the park when the assailant was fleeing the scene. Gratton identified the defendant as the assailant, as did Mitchell, who had known the defendant from the neighborhood for the previous 1 1/2 years. Purchase identified the defendant by his clothes and voice; he had not seen the assailant's face. Neither Ray Peoples nor the witness walking through the park could make an identification. Another witness, Evon McCoy, could not identify the defendant and stated that he had not seen the assailant.

Mitchell and Gratton testified at trial and identified the defendant. Purchase identified the defendant as the man he saw wearing the same clothes as the assailant. At the time of trial Gratton had criminal charges pending against him for unlawful use of a weapon, strong-arm robbery and two counts of aggravated assault. He denied that any promises had been made in regard to those cases in exchange for his testimony.

After his arrest the defendant gave an oral and two written statements. Although the record is not completely clear, it shows that he did tell the police and assistant State's Attorneys that he had shot Rhodes. These statements have been used in a puzzling fashion. The State successfully resisted the defendant's pretrial motion to suppress them but did not refer to them in the opening statement. (No issue is made here of the ruling denying the motion to suppress.) But the defendant's attorney did and told the jury that the defendant was coerced into making a signed statement "implicating himself in this crime." The State did not introduce the statements in its case in chief. It did, however, bring out, through the testimony of Officer Golubiak, that the defendant was given Miranda warnings, that he said he was ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.