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12/04/89 the People of the State of v. Lonza Holmes

December 4, 1989





556 N.E.2d 539, 198 Ill. App. 3d 766, 144 Ill. Dec. 861 1989.IL.1864

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Stephen R. Schiller, Judge, presiding.


PRESIDING JUSTICE MANNING delivered the opinion of the court. CAMPBELL and QUINLAN, JJ., concur.


The defendant, Lonza Holmes, was indicted in the circuit court of Cook County for murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)), home invasion (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 12-11(a)(2)), robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 18-1(a)), armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 18-2(a)), and residential burglary (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 19-3). Following a bench trial the defendant was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 9-2), and not guilty of home invasion, robbery, armed robbery and residential burglary. Thereafter, the defendant was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

On appeal, defendant alleges that: (1) his fourth amendment rights were violated when he was arrested without probable cause; (2) the trial court erred in its finding that the defendant's statements were voluntary and in its denial of the defendant's motion to suppress the evidence derived from an illegal arrest; and (3) he was denied a fair sentencing hearing when the trial court improperly considered a "victim impact letter" written by the victim's mother.

Detective Frank Glynn testified at a suppression hearing that on May 30, 1985, he, along with Detectives George Baslie, Jack Hines and Sammy Lacey, was investigating the death of David Ward (deceased). While at the scene of the murder, which occurred at David Ward's home, Detectives Glynn and Baslie observed the deceased lying facedown in a pool of blood with head injuries and one of his feet touching the front door. His pockets were turned "inside out," and he was wearing a smashed watch with the time stopped at 1:10. Detective Glynn also noticed a box of Newport cigarettes and two ashtrays containing Tareyton 100's and Newport cigarette butts on the couch. Subsequent to examining the scene of the incident, Detective Baslie spoke with Brian Simms and Jack Anderson, neighbors of the deceased, who informed him that they saw the deceased with the defendant at 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., respectively. Detectives Glynn and Baslie then walked to the defendant's house, where it was verified by the defendant's mother, Ora Lee Holmes, and his brother, Edward Holmes, that the defendant had been with the deceased on the previous evening. Since the defendant was not at home at that time, Detective Glynn left his card and requested that the defendant either call or come to the police station for questioning. At approximately 9:30 p.m., Detective Glynn received a telephone call informing him that the defendant was now at home. Upon their arrival at the defendant's home, the detectives explained to the defendant that they were investigating the death of David Ward and asked the defendant to come to the Area 2 police station. The defendant stated that he did not have a ride. Therefore, he accompanied the detectives to Area 2.

Detective Glynn further testified that, while driving to the police station, he did not tell the defendant that he was under arrest nor was the defendant handcuffed. Moreover, he did not tell the defendant that he had to go to the police station. They arrived at the police station on May 30, 1985, at approximately 10 or 10:30 that evening. The defendant was escorted to a large conference room and advised of his Miranda rights. During this period of questioning, which lasted about an hour, Detective Glynn observed that the defendant smoked Tareyton 100's cigarettes, and the defendant told the detectives that on the previous night he was wearing a "two-tone brown shirt and light brown slacks." The questioning subsided while the detectives "checked-out" the information provided by the defendant. The questioning resumed at 1 a.m., and the defendant was again given his Miranda rights. When the defendant stood up and reached for his cigarettes, Detective Glynn noticed that the defendant was wearing a pair of tan pants underneath his blue jeans with a bloodstain on the cuff of the left pant leg. When Detective Glynn questioned the defendant about the bloodstains, the defendant stated that the bloodstains resulted from the injury suffered by David Ward on the previous evening when David Ward had injured his nose on his screen door. Thereafter, the detectives asked the defendant to remove his blue jeans in order to see the rest of the tan pants. Upon their removal, the detectives noticed blood splatterings all over the tan pants. Detective Glynn then took the bloodstained pants, sent them to the police crime lab to be analyzed, and told the defendant to put the keys that the defendant had taken from his pocket back into his pocket. The defendant responded, "hose are not my keys, those are David's keys." This line of questioning took about an hour. At approximately 2 a.m. after discovery of the bloodstained pants, Detective Glynn placed the defendant under arrest.

Detective Glynn further testified that prior to 4 a.m. on May 31, 1985, the defendant was never placed in handcuffs nor did the defendant ever ask to leave the police station after his arrival. Detective Glynn also stated, if the defendant had attempted to leave the police station he said he "would have asked him why." Detective Glynn testified that he could not answer what he would have done since the defendant did not attempt to leave. However, the defendant freely moved in and out of the interview room to use the restroom and get coffee. Additionally, Detective Glynn testified that although the time entered on the consent to search form was 11:45 p.m., the defendant did not sign the form until after 1 a.m. Finally, Detective Glynn testified that he told the defendant that he would remain in custody until he signed the consent to search form in order that the police could look for his shirt.

Detective Jack Hines testified that he prepared the consent to search form at 11:45 p.m. However, since he had other things to do, he did not immediately go to the room where the defendant was located, and the defendant did not sign the form until about 2 a.m.

The defendant moved to quash the arrest and suppress the evidence flowing from that arrest, arguing that he was illegally arrested without probable cause. The trial court denied this motion, reasoning that in light of the defendant's freedom of movement at the police station, no arrest took place until the defendant's bloodstained pants were discovered.

The State then proceeded with the defendant's motion to suppress his statements. Detectives Glynn, Hines, Lacey and Dignan testified that they did not beat, physically abuse, threaten or holler at the defendant. Detective Hines testified that he was present while the defendant was being questioned by Detective Glynn. In addition, at various times during the questioning, Detectives Baslie and Lacy and Lt. Burge were present. After the defendant was placed under arrest, Detective Hines took him to the lock-up for processing and subsequently returned him to the conference room. Detective Hines further testified that as late as 4:15 a.m., when his tour of duty ended, the defendant was not handcuffed.

On May 31, 1985, at approximately 9 a.m., Detectives Dignan and Madigan questioned the defendant for about an hour after giving him his Miranda rights. Detective Dignan testified that when they entered the room at 9 a.m. to question the defendant, he was handcuffed to a ring. He proceeded to remove the handcuffs, and at that time the defendant appeared to be fine physically. They returned to the interview room at 3 p.m. for a second interview with the defendant. After this interview, Detectives Dignan and Madigan took the defendant to his home to obtain more clothing and to allow the mobile crime unit to further process the scene of the crime. Specifically, they went to look for a board, previously described by the defendant as the weapon used by him to strike the decedent with in the ...

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