APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE FRED G. SURIA, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING.
Released for Publication May 5, 1994.
McNAMARA, Rakowski, Giannis
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcnamara
JUSTICE McNAMARA delivered the opinion of the court:
After a bench trial, defendants Gerhard Johnson and Johnny Weaver were found guilty of first degree murder. Johnson was sentenced to a term of 40 years, and Weaver was sentenced to a term of 25 years. On appeal, Johnson contends that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, or, in the alternative, that his sentence of 40 years was excessive. Weaver contends that it was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was accountable for the acts of the shooter, and that he was denied a fair trial because of certain comments made by the trial Judge. The pertinent facts follow.
On June 5, 1989, Randy Patterson was shot and killed in an apartment located at 3030 West Fulton Avenue in Chicago.
Philicia English testified for the State that on June 5 she went to the third floor Fulton Avenue apartment to visit her friend, CorletteTemple. Temple and Freddie Golden lived there together. In addition to Temple and Golden, the deceased and two men known as "Red" and Mark were present. They were all sitting watching television. English had heard that Golden was involved in drugs but did not see anyone doing drugs and was not offered any.
At about 10:00 p.m., English and Temple decided to go out to get something to eat. The deceased opened the door for them because the apartment door was jammed. At that point, English observed a man at the door with a gun who was shooting in her direction from about six feet away. Two other men were in the hallway, but English was only able to see one of those two men.
The man English identified as Johnson entered the apartment and fired two more shots before she and Temple fell to the floor. English observed Johnson for about 10 seconds before she fell, Johnson walked over her fallen body as he continued into the apartment. He ran past her still firing shots, and she was close enough to touch him. At that point, English heard the sound of a breaking window inside the apartment. Johnson ran out of the apartment, kicking English in the head as he jumped over her.
As Johnson ran into the apartment firing shots, English had an opportunity to see the man who was with Johnson. She identified him as Weaver. She had a good opportunity to view Weaver because there was a bright ceiling light in the hallway. When the window breaking occurred, Weaver ran down the stairs. After the two defendants fled, English and Temple went outside and found the deceased's body on the ground. The police arrived shortly thereafter.
English identified Johnson to the police as a 19 or 20 year old black male wearing a Chicago Bears jacket who was about 5'7" tall, weighed 160 pounds and had a low haircut. She identified Weaver as a lighter complexioned black male between 5'7" and 6' tall, weighing between 170 and 180 pounds. English identified both defendants in a police station lineup two days after the crime and again at trial.
Corlette Temple testified for the State, and her testimony mirrored that of English in substantial detail. At the time the two women were leaving the apartment to get something to eat, burglar bars were fastened to the apartment door. As a result, the deceased unlocked the bars and opened the door for them.
As they left the apartment, Temple observed three men standing on the side of the door. One of the men fired three shots from his gun, and Temple immediately hit the floor, pulling English down with her. The man who was firing shots jumped over both women and fired five more shots. Temple also heard glass breaking. Afterthe shooter entered the apartment, Temple noticed that the man in the hallway, whom she identified as Weaver, remained for a moment and then ran down the stairs. After the two men left, Temple and English went downstairs and observed the deceased's body lying on the ground.
Temple was unable to identify the shooter. She stated that he was a black male, approximately 5'6" tall, weighing between 150 and 160 pounds, with a dark complexion and a low haircut. He was wearing blue jeans, ...