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06/30/89 the People of the State of v. Richard Wiley

June 30, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

RICHARD WILEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION

541 N.E.2d 1345, 185 Ill. App. 3d 1097, 133 Ill. Dec. 907

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Gino L. DiVito, Judge, presiding. 1989.IL.1055

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE MURRAY delivered the opinion of the court. PINCHAM and COCCIA, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MURRAY

After a bench trial, defendant Richard Wiley was convicted of murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 9-1) and sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment. On appeal, he urges that: (1) his murder conviction should be reduced to voluntary manslaughter (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 9-2) and that we remand the cause for a resentencing hearing; or (2) that his conviction should be reduced to "guilty [of murder or voluntary manslaughter] but mentally ill" and his sentence reduced or the cause remanded for resentencing; or (3) that we reduce his sentence of 30 years to 20 years.

On April 12, 1985, defendant concededly killed his wife, Ruth. The following evidence was adduced at trial. On April 12 at approximately 6:10 p.m., defendant summoned the police by calling "911"; he identified himself, asked that an ambulance be sent to his home at 2503 North Oak Park Avenue, and stated he had stabbed his wife in "the chest and on top of her" and that she was unconscious. Chicago police officer Michael Stephens went to defendant's home, heard sobs from within, and found the door ajar. He entered the house and saw defendant in the living room kneeling over the body of his wife; she was lying face up and was nude from the waist down. Officer Stephens observed that defendant was not under the influence of alcohol -- he did not sway, slur his speech or appear off-balance -- and a fellow officer concurred in this observation. (On cross-examination, however, Stephens testified that the police report stated that defendant "Had Been Drinking .") Stephens took defendant to the kitchen and he related that he and his wife had argued. Paramedics subsequently arrived and announced that defendant's wife was dead. Defendant then yelled "Oh God" or "Oh no" and ripped off his shirt. The officers then handcuffed defendant, placed him under arrest, and took him to the station house.

At the station house, Detective Raymond Shalk spoke to defendant about the stabbing incident. Defendant explained that his wife was upset because he had cancelled their vacation trip to Jamaica, he was angry at her because he had heard a comment from a neighbor about her staying out late, and that he believed his wife was having an affair with someone. Defendant further stated that when their argument intensified, he lost control, picked up a "ceremonial" knife from a drafting table in the living room, then stabbed his wife several times. Upon realizing "his action was wrong," he called the police and then his father.

Detective Ernest Halvorsen also spoke to defendant at the station house later that day. Defendant told Halvorsen that his argument with his wife began in the bathroom, he hit her with a pop bottle, he later stabbed her but he did not remember how many times, and that he had been drinking. Halvorsen observed that defendant displayed no sorrow or remorse for what he had done.

Dr. Michael Chambliss, a Cook County deputy medical examiner, testified that the victim had been stabbed 23 times, suffering wounds to her chest, back, abdomen, right thigh, buttock and arm, and her fingers and hands. Dr. Chambliss also found blunt trauma injuries producing abrasions, lacerations or contusions on the victim's left shoulder, right chest, forehead, eye and cheek, and hemorrhaging under the victim's scalp. The cause of death was a stab wound to the chest.

Debbie MacDuff, a friend and co-worker of the victim, testified that she called her between 6:10 and 6:15 p.m. to make arrangements with her for going out that evening. Defendant answered the telephone and told her her "timing" in calling was "bad," "I can't handle this anymore," and "How do you think it makes me look and feel when my neighbor tells me Ruth's been staying out late?" Defendant also told MacDuff that his relationship with his wife was "terminated," using the word "terminated" several times. MacDuff asked defendant twice to speak to his wife, but defendant declined. During the conversation, which lasted approximately five minutes, MacDuff heard a faint gurgling sound in the background. MacDuff also testified that she and the victim went out together frequently, staying out late; that she had spoken to her about her relationship with a man named Jack Evans, but she did not know the full extent of the relationship; that if Evans appeared when they were out for the evening, the victim would stay at the night club when she decided to go home; and that she was aware that the victim had filed for divorce about a year prior to her death.

Jack Evans, who testified for the defense, admitted that he and the victim had been lovers for nine months in 1983; that he knew defendant before beginning the relationship with his wife and that their relationship never changed even after defendant learned of the affair; his affair with the victim ended when defendant spoke to him about it and he withdrew from it to give defendant an opportunity to reestablish the marriage; and that he was never aware of the fact that the victim had become pregnant, had had an abortion, or whether he was the father of the child. Evans further testified that he never sought out defendant after this time, but, in 1985, he saw the victim at a bar, she told him she was still having marital problems, and she wanted to resume their relationship. Subsequently, in February 1985, he attended a party at defendant's home and he sensed defendant knew his wife was "seeing" someone. During the evening, defendant took his car keys and refused to let him drive home. An altercation arose between the two men, and when he turned to leave, defendant struck him on the back of his head with a bottle. Evans nevertheless continued his affair with the victim until her death.

Defendant testified on his own behalf. He stated he was 31 years old and an honors graduate of Northern Illinois University. On April 12 he stayed home from work because of a sinus infection. At approximately 1 p.m. he began drinking wine and whiskey and continued doing so until 5:15 p.m. At some point he started his barbecue and a neighbor came over and they ate dinner. His wife came home from work at 5:15 p.m., "had some conversation with him in passing," and went into the house. After his neighbor went home, he went inside the house and he and his wife got into an argument about his staying home from work and not having enough money for a trip to Jamaica which they had planned. When the argument became more heated, he called his bank sometime before 6 p.m. and cancelled a check for the trip; his wife was in the bathroom showering at the time. Their argument continued, becoming more intense and loud. After his wife accused him of "terrorizing" her sister, Mary Beth Hartford, during a trip to Wisconsin, he called Hartford to prove that he had not done so, but she was not at home. Thereafter, at approximately 5:45 p.m., he received a telephone call from Debbie MacDuff. He told MacDuff that his wife was in the shower, they were arguing, and his wife was unable to come to the telephone. At 6 p.m., Hartford called him. (Contrary to defendant's testimony, Hartford testified she never telephoned him.) Later, after having talked to Hartford, he "went into the bathroom and told his wife -- who was putting on her make-up for her evening activities -- that she was lying." He made several accusations about her staying out late and that she was probably having an affair "and seeing Jack," and she replied, "Yes." He then "exploded," struck her with a pop bottle, and proceeded to stab her numerous times.

More specifically, on direct examination, defendant admitted that he told Dr. Richard Elliot, a psychiatrist, that he supposed hitting his wife with a bottle "just wasn't enough for the betrayal" she had inflicted on him. He stated that everything then happened "fast." He heard a thud after he hit his wife, vaguely recalled struggling with her, picked up a knife, and lunged at her. He further stated that the next ...


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