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08/29/89 the People of the State of v. Nathan Young

August 29, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

NATHAN YOUNG, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, SECOND DIVISION

543 N.E.2d 986, 187 Ill. App. 3d 977, 135 Ill. Dec. 418 1989.IL.1330

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. John H. Hourihane, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE DiVITO delivered the opinion of the court. HARTMAN and SCARIANO, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE DIVITO

Defendant Nathan Young was indicted on two counts of murder and one count of armed violence in connection with the fatal shooting of Theodore Grimes on July 12, 1986. Following a bench trial, defendant was found guilty of murder and armed violence and sentenced to imprisonment for concurrent terms of 32 years for murder and 30 years for armed violence.

On this appeal, defendant claims that (1) the trial court erroneously permitted a State's witness to testify in violation of the court's order excluding witnesses from the courtroom during the trial; (2) the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant did not act in self-defense; (3) the evidence at most supports a conviction for voluntary manslaughter; (4) the evidence does not support separate convictions for both murder and armed violence; and (5) the trial court erroneously considered victim impact statements at sentencing.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. on July 12, 1986, defendant shot and killed Theodore Grimes. Just moments before the killing, an altercation involving defendant's brother, William Young, occurred on the corner of 113th and May Street in Chicago. Cornelius Lyons and Andrew McKinney both testified that at approximately 11:30 p.m. on July 12, 1986, they met Grimes and a third person named Fred on the corner of 113th and Morgan Street. The four of them walked down 113th Street on their way to a party at 116th and Hale Street. When they reached 113th and May Street, they encountered William Young and two other men named Hank and Jerry standing on the corner.

McKinney and Hank engaged in an oral altercation, after which William Young told McKinney that McKinney "ain't tough." McKinney replied "I know I'm not tough," and William Young then pulled out a gun and started shooting. McKinney then told William Young that he would "kick his ass" because William Young was firing blanks. At that point, William Young, using either another gun or the same gun with bullets in it, pointed the gun at McKinney's head. McKinney said "[g]o ahead, make my day" and William Young then shot McKinney in the shoulder.

The group, including Lyons, McKinney and Grimes, then walked six blocks to a bench in Ada Park. There, McKinney told Robert Wright that he was hurt and Wright asked if he wanted to be taken to the hospital. McKinney said yes but then asked Lyons to get Lyons' father to take him to the hospital.

As Lyons was walking away to get his father, defendant "came up running" and shot Grimes in the face. Grimes had been sitting on top of the bench, fell off the bench after he was shot, and then crawled on the ground. After shooting Grimes in the face, defendant fired shots at Lyons and McKinney, walked "right up over" Grimes, shot Grimes in the head, and then ran away. McKinney testified that he grabbed a bottle and threw it at defendant as defendant was running away.

After the police arrived, Lyons took them to defendant's house on Aberdeen Street and identified defendant as the person who shot Grimes.

Robert Wright testified that he was "shooting craps by a bench in Ada Park" at the time of the Grimes shooting. Wright saw defendant pull out a gun and shoot Grimes, and then saw Grimes "stumble" over the bench he had been sitting on. Wright ran away after Grimes was shot and heard "several" more shots as he was running. On cross-examination, Wright testified that he had spoken with a man named Carl Thomas in the lockup on May 20, 1987 and told Thomas that defendant had killed one of "his partners." Wright denied that he had told Thomas that defendant had killed one of his "folks."

Michael Draine testified that he was "shooting dice" in Ada Park on the night of the Grimes shooting, at a distance of approximately 30 feet from the bench where Grimes had been sitting. Draine saw Lyons, McKinney, Grimes and "another guy named Fred" near the bench. Draine also saw McKinney bleeding from the shoulder and talking with Robert Wright. Draine heard some shots, saw defendant standing behind Wright and Grimes, and then saw Grimes fall after he "jump[ed]" over a bench. According to Draine, defendant stood over Grimes, ...


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