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12/21/89 the People of the State of v. Roy Maldonado

December 21, 1989





550 N.E.2d 1011, 193 Ill. App. 3d 1062, 140 Ill. Dec. 886 1989.IL.1996

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


JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. JOHNSON and McMORROW, JJ., concur.


Defendant, Roy Maldonado, was convicted of two counts of murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(a)(1), (a)(2)) following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County. The trial Judge sentenced defendant to the penitentiary for two concurrent terms of natural life.

Defendant now appeals, contending he did not receive a fair trial because: (1) the trial Judge refused to suppress involuntary statements he made to the police; (2) defense counsel, during discovery, was not informed where a State's witness lived or worked; (3) the trial Judge restricted the scope of the cross-examination of a State's witness; (4) a portion of a tape-recorded telephone conversation was excluded from evidence; (5) the evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt his guilt; (6) the prosecutor made several improper and prejudicial remarks throughout the trial; (7) the jury did not have the tape-recorded telephone conversation in the jury room during its deliberations; and (8) the trial Judge refused defendant's proffered jury instruction.

We affirm.


The record contains the following pertinent facts. The victims, Theresa Musto and Vincent Pagano, lived together at 4520 North River Road in Schiller Park, Illinois. On April 7, 1982, their bodies were found in their home, on the living room floor with pillows and sofa cushions lying over them.

The victims were fatally shot. Sheriff's police found live bullets and .38 caliber spent cartridge casings in the living room and kitchen. Additionally, several areas in the apartment were ransacked.

On March 3, 1983, Chicago police officer Phillip Handzel questioned defendant's brother Fidel and a woman regarding another shooting. Handzel asked the woman for identification. When she opened her purse, the officer saw three guns. They were arrested; car keys were discovered in a pat-down search of Fidel. A search of their automobile uncovered a .38 caliber semiautomatic pistol. Subsequent testing of the pistol, and of the bullets recovered from the bodies of Musto and Pagano and from their apartment, determined that the pistol was the murder weapon in the Musto and Pagano shooting.

On March 6, 1983, Detective Thomas West arrested defendant as a suspect in another shooting (hereinafter the Rojas murder). After being advised of his Miranda rights, he was questioned first on the Rojas murder and then on the Musto and Pagano murders. Present for the interrogation were Detectives West, Robert O'Neill, and Joseph Carrone. Defendant had previously been an informer for Detective O'Neill. Defendant refused to talk about the Rojas murder because his brother was involved and in custody.

Defendant, however, did make statements regarding the Musto and Pagano murders. He stated that he was at the scene when the shooting occurred. He and an acquaintance, "Crazy Ricky" Berrera, went to the couple's apartment to sell them approximately $35,000 worth of narcotics and a machine gun. Defendant left the apartment and went to their automobile to retrieve the narcotics. While he was away, Berrera had shot and killed Musto and Pagano. He and Berrera ran to the car and drove away. Defendant was afraid to take the gun away from Berrera. He dropped Berrera off at a bus stop.

Michael Van Amburgh, a special agent of the United States Treasury Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, questioned defendant on March 22, 1983. Defendant told the agent that he and family members purchased pistols, using different names, from a gun dealer in Ottawa, Illinois. Defendant stated that after he bought the pistols, he had them converted to fully automatic weapons equipped with silencers. Van Amburgh went to the gun dealer. He learned that defendant and family members did buy six or seven weapons. The serial number of one of the pistols they bought matched that of the pistol recovered from Fidel Maldonado's car -- the weapon in the Musto and Pagano murders.

Duane McQuiston was an inmate at Cook County jail with defendant. In 1983 and a part of 1984, he and defendant were assigned to the same tier in the jail and spent approximately 12 hours together per day. They discussed crime. Defendant boasted to McQuiston about making money, shooting people, and enjoying guns equipped with silencers. Defendant explained to McQuiston that one could stage a narcotics deal, where one could pose as selling cocaine and then rob the buyer of his money, or pose as buying cocaine and rob the seller of the narcotic. Defendant further told McQuiston how he had done ...

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