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11/22/89 the People of the State of v. Albert Bell

November 22, 1989





548 N.E.2d 397, 191 Ill. App. 3d 877, 139 Ill. Dec. 12 1989.IL.1812

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


JUSTICE RIZZI delivered the opinion of the court. FREEMAN, P.J., and CERDA, J., concur.


Defendant-appellant, Albert Bell (Bell), was tried by a jury and found guilty of murder and armed robbery. He was sentenced to 40 years' imprisonment on the murder conviction. On appeal, Bell argues that the trial court erred in (1) refusing to quash his arrest where the evidence demonstrated that the police lacked probable cause to arrest him; (2) refusing to suppress his statements to law enforcement officers and the knife found on his person at the time of his arrest; (3) allowing the use of his codefendant's statement where the co-defendant was unavailable for cross-examination by the defense; and (4) refusing to submit to the jury instructions on self-defense and voluntary manslaughter. We affirm.

On April 15, 1983, the police found Stanley Teer's body in an abandoned apartment building on West 60th Street in Chicago. Teer's death had been caused by multiple stab wounds. On April 15, the police arrested Curtis Bell, the defendant's brother, in connection with Teer's death. Based upon Curtis Bell's admissions, the police arrested Albert Bell on April 17, 1983. Defendant ultimately made a statement to the police implicating himself and his brother, Curtis, in Teer's murder.

Prior to trial, both Albert and Curtis Bell moved to suppress their statements. Curtis Bell testified that on April 15, 1983, after the police arrested him and read the Miranda warnings, he replied, in response to their questions, that he had nothing to say and requested the presence of a lawyer. The trial court found that the nonarresting officers who subsequently questioned and obtained statements from Curtis did so in violation of his Miranda rights. Therefore, the trial court granted Curtis' motion to suppress. In a separate appeal, this court affirmed that ruling.

In response to Albert Bell's motion to suppress, the State presented the testimony of Detectives Joseph Gandurski and Thomas J. O'Connor, and an assistant State's Attorney. According to the detectives, on April 17, 1983, they arrested Albert Bell on the street at 6009 South Honore and advised him of his Miranda rights in the police car and at police headquarters. Bell stated that he understood his rights, did not invoke his right to remain silent and did not request counsel. Rather, Bell told the police various accounts of what transpired on April 17, 1983. During the hearing on his motion to suppress, however, Bell testified that on the day of his arrest he had ingested drugs and alcohol and was "high." Bell further testified that he was not advised of his Miranda rights, but was threatened by the officers with a chair.

The assistant State's Attorney testified that when he advised the defendant of his rights on the evening of April 17, 1983, he did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol or to have any comprehension difficulties. He did not request counsel, state that he had been threatened or express that he did not want to make a statement. The trial court found that there were no threats or coercion and no violation of defendant's Miranda rights.

In addition, the court denied defendant's motion to quash his arrest for lack of probable cause. In support of that motion, the defense called Detective O'Connor. O'Connor testified that he and Detective Gandurski arrested the defendant on the afternoon of April 17, 1983, without an arrest warrant after other police officers had informed him that Curtis Bell had indicated that he and Albert had participated in the robbery and murder of Teer.

After the court's denial of this motion, Bell argued pro se a second motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence, asserting that the arrest was the product of the unlawfully obtained statement of Curtis Bell. This motion was denied, subsequently argued by counsel and denied a second time.

The court granted the State's motion in limine precluding the defense from mentioning the Disposition of Curtis Bell's case. In response to defendant's motion in limine to exclude Curtis Bell's statement, the court ruled that the State could not reveal the contents of any of Curtis Bell's conversations but did not prohibit the State from introducing evidence that conversations with Curtis Bell occurred or that the police showed defendant Curtis Bell's statement.

The trial consisted of the testimony of eight witnesses called by the State. The forensic pathologist testified that an autopsy revealed an abrasion to the left side of Teer's face, two stab wounds to his anterior chest, two incised wounds on the left side of his back, and two smaller wounds on his back. She was shown a ...

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