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08/25/89 the People of the State of v. John Clark Bridges

August 25, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

JOHN CLARK BRIDGES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT

544 N.E.2d 40, 188 Ill. App. 3d 155, 135 Ill. Dec. 683 1989.IL.1307

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Saline County; the Hon. William A. Lewis, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE HOWERTON delivered the opinion of the court. WELCH, P.J., and HARRISON, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE HOWERTON

Defendant, a juvenile, was convicted as an adult of voluntary manslaughter, attempted murder, unlawful use of weapons, and two counts of aggravated battery, but acquitted of murder. He was sentenced to the Department of Corrections, Juvenile Division, until 21. We affirm in part and vacate in part.

Defendant heatedly argued with Brad Taylor and Leroy Sanders, Jr. Later that day, Taylor, his brother Danny Taylor, Sanders, Winfred Moss and Toni Flemmings returned to the area, stopping at defendant's neighbor's house to collect for trash hauling. As they were leaving, defendant came out, saying he was going to "get" someone on Saturday and shouting derogatory names at the group as they were leaving. Moss stopped the car. Brad Taylor, Danny Taylor and Sanders got out. Brad Taylor approached defendant. Danny Taylor remained about 40 to 50 feet behind Brad Taylor. Sanders stayed near the car. Flemmings remained in the car. Moss was near the car door. Brad Taylor and defendant started swinging at each other. Taylor slapped defendant in the face. Defendant pulled a handgun, Sanders and the two Taylors started running, and defendant started "shooting like crazy," firing four to six shots in rapid succession. Danny Taylor was shot twice and killed. Sanders was shot in the leg. A bullet was found lodged in Moss' car.

Defendant claimed self-defense. In support of his defense, he testified that Sanders had a pipe inside his jacket, that Brad Taylor acted as if he had a knife, that he saw the barrel of a gun sticking out of the rear window of Moss' car, and that he believed that the person in the car was going to shoot him. He also called three witnesses who testified that Brad Taylor had a propensity for violence, and also related Sander's violent past. However, the trial court refused to admit the past violent acts of Winfred Moss.

Contradicting defendant, Brad Taylor, Sanders and Flemmings testified they had no weapon, and, to the best of their knowledge, neither Moss nor Danny Taylor had a weapon. Neighbors testified that only defendant had a weapon.

Danny Taylor was shot twice and killed: The jury found defendant guilty of voluntary manslaughter, but not guilty of murder.

Brad Taylor was shot at, and Leroy Sanders was shot in the leg: The jury found defendant guilty of attempted murder, and also found defendant guilty of aggravated battery against Sanders.

Defendant first argues that the jury verdicts finding him not guilty of the murder of Danny Taylor, but guilty of the voluntary manslaughter of Danny Taylor, are both logically and legally inconsistent with the verdicts finding him guilty of the attempted murder of Brad Taylor and Leroy Sanders; therefore, he argues the attempted murder convictions must be vacated. We do not agree.

The verdicts on Danny Taylor's killing are first examined. One found defendant guilty of voluntary manslaughter; the other acquitted him of murder. These verdicts are not inconsistent, because together they implicitly show that the jury rejected the theory that defendant intended to kill Danny Taylor, and instead found that defendant had an unreasonable belief in the need to defend himself.

In finding defendant guilty of the attempted murder of Brad Taylor and Leroy Sanders, however, the jury found that defendant ...


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