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March 18, 1994



Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied October 6, 1994.

McNAMARA, Egan, Giannis

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcnamara

JUSTICE McNAMARA delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a bench trial, defendant, Gregory Turner, was convicted of armed violence (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1988, ch. 38, par. 33A-1(b)) and the first degree murder of S. T. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1988, ch. 38, par. 9-1), and was sentenced to a prison term of 30 years. Defendant appeals, contending that the trial court committed reversible error in denying his motion to suppress inculpatory statements he made to police two days after the murder, which he argues were induced by virtue of having been confronted with evidence illegally seized from his home shortly before he confessed. In addition, defendant argues that the statements should have been suppressed because they were brought about by the exploitation of an unlawful arrest.

The relevant facts are as follows. On June 10, 1988, defendant gave a confession which may be summarized as follows: On June 8, 1988, after he and the deceased had sex, she demanded $30. They continued to quarrel, and defendant hit her with his fist. When she tried to hit him back, defendant stabbed her.

Defendant filed a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence, contesting his arrest, the search of his parents' house, the seizure of a pair of blood-stained shoes and a sketch, and the admission of his inculpatory statements. At the hearing on the motion, the State called Detective James Boylan. Boylan testified that at approximately 4:30 p.m. on June 9, he and his partner, Detective Michael Cummings, went to the deceased's home where they interviewed several individuals including a friend named Vetta Cole. Cole informed the detectives that the deceased at one time told her she was afraid of defendant. At approximately 6:30 p.m., Cole accompanied the detectives in their vehicle to defendant's house. They knocked on the door, and defendant's mother answered. Defendant was not at home so they left a business card with her and asked her to tell defendant to contact them. They did not enter the house at that time.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. that night, defendant called the police station and spoke with Detective Lawrence Nitsche. Defendant told Nitsche that he had received the business card, and stated that he would come to the station that night. Defendant arrived at 12:30 a.m. with his brother Ricky. Defendant was taken to an interview room, advised of his Miranda rights and interviewed by Boylan and Cummings. Defendant stated he understood his rights, did not ask to have counsel present and expressed a desire to speak with the detectives. Defendant was not handcuffed or restrained. He was awake, alert and coherent, and did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Boylan did not consider defendant to be under arrest at that point. He was uncertain whether he made defendant empty his pockets or whether he went through his wallet.

Defendant told the detectives that on the night of the murder he was with his brother and sister-in-law watching a movie at his brother's home. After receiving this information, Boylan and Cummings went to speak with defendant's brother, who was waiting for defendant in the police station cafeteria. They then went to his brother's home to speak with his sister-in-law. Boylan stated that based upon what his brother and sister-in-law had told them, they did not believe defendant told the truth about his whereabouts on the night in question.

At approximately 2:30 a.m., the detectives went to defendant's house. They knocked on the door, and defendant's parents answeredand invited them in. Boylan told them that defendant was cooperating with the police in the investigation of the deceased's murder and that they were questioning him about his whereabouts on the night in question. They asked defendant's mother if she had seen defendant on that particular night. She stated that she heard him come home around 1:30 a.m., go down to the basement where he slept, and leave sometime thereafter. The detectives asked her if they could see where defendant slept, and she and defendant's father took them to the basement. Boylan could not recall whether they told them that defendant said they could search his room.

The detectives noticed a pair of shoes lying on the floor, and they asked defendant's mother if they belonged to defendant. She responded that they did, and Boylan picked them up and noticed what appeared to be blood stains on the bottom. The detectives asked defendant's mother if they could take the shoes with them, and she said yes. The detectives also observed a drawing on the wall of a woman lying on the floor after having been repeatedly stabbed. When questioned as to what the picture represented, defendant's mother responded that it was something defendant had drawn while in prison. She told the detectives they could take the picture. Defendant's parents did not ask the detectives why they wanted to take the items. Boylan and Cummings then looked through defendant's clothing. They remained in the house for 15 or 20 minutes.

Boylan testified that neither he nor Cummings used any force to enter defendant's house. He acknowledged that they did not have a search warrant.

Boylan and Cummings returned to the station at approximately 3:30 a.m. and, according to Boylan, interviewed defendant again for approximately 20 minutes. Defendant offered no information regarding the deceased's death. During the three-hour period in which the detectives were gone, defendant remained in the interview room with the door open and was not handcuffed or restrained. Boylan did not consider defendant to be under arrest even upon their return at 3:30. Boylan did not tell defendant at any point he could go home, but did not tell him he could not go home. Defendant never asked to leave the station, to use the bathroom, or to have some food or drink. Boylan acknowledged that the police reports did not indicate either that defendant was advised of his rights until Nitsche questioned him at 8:00 a.m. or that defendant was in fact questioned at 3:30 a.m. After speaking with defendant, the detectives went home.

At the same time Boylan and Cummings were questioning defendant, Nitsche and his partner, Detective Al Wolf, were questioning another man by the name of Saterial Stuttley about the deceased'smurder. Stuttley was a former boyfriend of the deceased. In the course of his investigation, Nitsche learned that Stuttley and the deceased had a confrontation the week before her death and that Stuttley had "slapped her around." Stuttley agreed to come voluntarily to the police station for questioning. He arrived at the station between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. on June 9 and was placed in an interview room. He gave the detectives an alibi for his whereabouts on the night of the murder, and the detectives left to verify it. Stuttley remained in the interview room while they were gone. Stuttley was not placed under arrest, but was advised of his rights prior to giving his alibi. After Stuttley's alibi checked out, Stuttley left the station.

Nitsche acknowledged speaking with defendant on the telephone on June 9 at approximately 11:30 p.m., when defendant called the station looking for Boylan or Cummings. Defendant told Nitsche that a couple of detectives had been at his house in regard to a purse snatching. Nitsche told defendant he did not know about a purse snatching, but that a girlfriend or former girlfriend of his had been found murdered. Nitsche informed defendant that the police were questioning her past acquaintances, and would like to interview him. Nitsche offered to pick him up, but defendant declined and said he would come to the police station on his own. Nitsche then went home.

When Nitsche arrived at work the next morning, defendant was still at the station being questioned. A Sergeant Wilson informed Nitsche that lab tests indicated that human blood had been detected on the bottom of the shoes that were removed from defendant's house. Nitsche was also informed that defendant's alibi did not check out. Shortly thereafter, Nitsche and Wilson went into the interview room and began questioning defendant. Nitsche told defendant his alibi did not check out and that human blood had been found on his gym shoes. Defendant was advised of his rights and indicated he understood them. He expressed a desire to speak with Nitsche, and did not state that he wished to have a lawyer present.

Nitsche's conversation with defendant lasted five or six minutes. After defendant was confronted with the information about his shoes and the fact that his alibi did not check out, Wilson left the room and Wolf entered and began taking notes. Defendant was not handcuffed or restrained, and did not indicate a desire to leave or to use the telephone. At the end of the conversation, defendant was placed under arrest and an assistant State's Attorney was contacted.

At approximately 10:30 a.m., the assistant State's Attorney and Wolf interviewed defendant. Sometime thereafter, defendant gave a formal statement in the presence of the assistant State's Attorney, Nitsche and a court reporter. Prior to defendant giving the statement, the assistant State's Attorney advised him of his rights. Defendant then gave his statement, made corrections to it, and signed it. Thereafter, defendant attempted, unsuccessfully, to assist the detectives in finding his knife.

Defendant's father testified that around 2:30 a.m. on June 10, 1988, he was asleep at home when he heard someone banging loudly on the front window. The detectives identified themselves, and he opened the door slightly. The detectives asked him if he knew defendant, and he said that he did. The detectives told him that defendant had given them permission to search the basement. He said nothing at this point, and the detectives then "just pushed the door open and came on in." He did not invite the detectives into the house, nor did they request permission to enter. They did not, however, have their weapons drawn. Once inside, defendant's father opened the basement door and led the detectives down to the basement. Defendant's mother followed. The detectives did not display a search warrant, nor did they tell defendant's parents they he had a right to refuse to let them in.

The detectives searched the area of the basement where defendant slept as well as the laundry room. They took with them defendant's gym shoes and the drawing. Neither defendant's father nor mother objected. Defendant's mother testified that she asked the detectives why they were taking the items, and they responded that they wanted to ask defendant a question about the drawing and wanted to see if the gym shoe matched a shoe print that had been left by the assailant.

Defendant's father stated that defendant paid rent to live in the basement, and he considered defendant's area to be private. He stated that he would not go into defendant's area without his permission.

Defendant's mother testified that she spoke with Cummings the evening of June 9. Cummings told her that defendant had assisted in catching a purse snatcher and that his sister was with him at the time. When the sister stated she knew nothing about a purse snatching, the detectives told defendant's mother to have defendant call them when he returned.

When the detectives arrived at defendant's house at 2:30 a.m. the next morning, they asked defendant's mother if they had heard about "the girl," and she said she had. They told her that defendant had given them permission to search his apartment and was being "very cooperative." When it became clear to her that the detectives were planning to take the gym shoes and drawing, she asked them why they needed the items. They stated that the offender wore size 12 shoes and they wanted to compare defendant's shoes with a footprintfound near the deceased's body. They also stated they wanted to ask defendant something about the picture. She told the officers they did not need the picture, but they took it and the shoes anyway.

Defendant testified that at 11:50 p.m. on June 9, he and his brother went to the police station. Cummings and Boylan took defendant to an interview room for questioning. Defendant's brother did not accompany him. The door to the room was closed, and Cummings and Boylan asked defendant what he knew about the deceased's murder. Defendant ...

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