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03/31/94 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. STEVE JONES &

March 31, 1994

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
STEVE JONES & PERRY LEWIS, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. THE HONORABLE JOHN E. MORRISSEY, JUDGE PRESIDING.

Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied December 6, 1994.

Cousins, Jr., Gordon, McNULTY

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cousins

JUSTICE COUSINS, JR. delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a joint jury trial, defendants Steve Jones and Perry Lewis were convicted of first degree murder and two counts of attempt first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1, 5/8-4 (West 1992)). In their consolidated appeal, defendants argue that: (1) the trial court improperly admitted evidence of defendants' gang affiliation; and (2) the State improperly introduced evidence of threats made to an eyewitness.

We affirm.

BACKGROUND

On December 9, 1989, at approximately 3 a.m., a shooting occurred at the Night Owl Motorcycle Club located at 643 North Kedzie, Chicago Illinois. One of the doormen, John Redmond, was killed, and two patrons, Dora Keys and Odes Jackson, were wounded.

George Horton testified that he was the president of the Night Owl Motorcycle Club. He explained that the club was open to the public on Fridays and some Saturdays, but all persons who were not motorcycle club members were searched at the door. He also stated that individuals were allowed to wear hats in the club, but they were required to wear their hats straight, as opposed to crooked or backwards. Horton testified that he was familiar with the neighborhood where the club was located and knew that the Vice Lord street gang members wore their hats to the left.

Horton described the entrance to the club as follows. The front door of the club opened outward toward the street, and led to the front hallway. At the end of the front hallway, there was a another door, followed by a second hallway which led to the main bar area.

On December 8, 1989, Horton arrived at the club between 10 and 11 p.m. He testified that Tracy O'Neal (O'Neal), John Redmond (Redmond) and a few others were working the door area that night. Redmond was responsible for searching people at the door as they entered the club. At approximately 2:15 a.m., Horton saw Redmond and defendant Jones exchanging words in the front hallway, but he was unable to hear what was said. About 45 minutes later, Horton heard shooting, and he ran to the hallway. When he reached the front, he observed Redmond and Odes Johnson lying on the floor.

On cross-examination, Horton stated that when he was questioned on December 9, 1989 by two detectives, he did not mention the altercation that had occurred at the door between Jones and Redmond. Horton first told the officers about the altercation a few days later, after he identified Jones from a photo array. Horton did not recall whether Redmond was armed on the night of the shooting.

O'Neal testified that on December 8, 1989, he was working at the Night Owl Motorcycle Club from 11 p.m. until closing time. At about 3 a.m. O'Neal was working the door. While he was standing in thesecond doorway and looking toward the front door, he observed a woman enter the club and a second person come to the front door. He then heard the door slam, and observed Redmond and a woman standing near the front door. The front door opened again and the shooting began. O'Neal observed defendant Lewis firing a small revolver and defendant Jones firing a medium-sized shotgun into the hallway of the club.

O'Neal lives in the same neighborhood as defendants and he has known both of them since grammar school. O'Neal testified that defendants were not motorcycle club members; instead, they wore their hats to the left, which means that they were members of the Vice Lord street gang. O'Neal saw other Vice Lord street gang members in the club that evening. Minutes before the shooting, O'Neal observed non-members leaving the club. On cross-examination, O'Neal stated that after the shooting he was in the office of the club and did not talk to police officers at that time. It was not until several days after the incident that he told the police what he had observed.

Edward Keys testified that on December 9, 1989, at about 1 a.m., he went to the Night Owl Motorcycle Club with his wife Dora. He was not a member of the Night Owl Motorcycle Club, but he was a member of the Chicago Guy Hawks Motorcycle Club. At approximately 2:45 a.m., he and Dora were ready to leave the club. As Dora walked outside, Keys stopped to talk to a club member. Following the conversation, he went to the door to tell Dora to come back inside. At that time, he observed Redmond and Jones arguing at the door. Redmond was prohibiting Jones from re-entering the club. Keys observed that Redmond was holding a two-barrel derringer which was pointed down toward the floor. As Dora started to come back inside, someone told him to "hit the floor" and he heard a shotgun blast and pistol shots. Keys saw Redmond fall backwards. Dora was crawling toward him and telling him that she had been shot. He saw that her right ear was bleeding and swelling. Keys observed Jones holding a shotgun.

Keys conceded that the police never asked him to view a lineup or photo array, and that he saw Jones in court on the Monday prior to trial. However, this was not the first time he told anyone that Jones was the same individual in the bar that night with a shotgun; Keys testified that he had previously told defense counsel, the police, and the State's Attorney that Jones was at the scene of the crime with a shotgun.

Dora testified that on December 9, 1989, around 1 a.m., she went to the Night Owl Motorcycle Club with her husband. She stated thatafter they decided to leave she went out the door to the sidewalk where she observed a disturbance. She stayed outside for a while because the doorman would not let her back in until her husband came and got her. As Dora was going back inside, she heard someone say, "hit the floor." Dora heard shooting and then felt a bullet hit her in the right ear. After the police arrived, she was taken to Cook County Hospital where she received medical treatment.

Dr. Edmond Donoghue testified that on December 10, 1989, he performed an autopsy on Redmond, and it was his opinion that Redmond died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Odes Jackson testified that he was a member of the Night Owls Motorcycle Club prior to December 9, 1989. He went to the club at around midnight on December 9th and decided to leave sometime between 2:30 and 3 a.m. Upon reaching the front door, he saw Redmond, who appeared to be "kind of mad." A man who Redmond had previously put out of the club was also at the door. Jackson did not leave right away because Redmond asked him to handle the door. Jackson let a man out and a woman in. When Jackson tried to pull the door shut, someone snatched the door open and started shooting. Jackson fell back, hit the floor, and felt a burning sensation in his leg. He had suffered two gunshot wounds to his leg.

Antonio Murray testified that on December 9, 1989, at approximately 2:50 a.m., he was standing on the front porch of 620 N. Kedzie, which is located across the street and about five houses away from the Night Owls Motorcycle Club. At that time Murray, a member of the motorcycle club, saw a gang of people standing in front of the club making a lot of noise and arguing. Murray then observed defendant Lewis emerge from the Night Owl and run southbound on Kedzie toward Ohio Street. Lewis passed right in front of Murray. Murray had known Lewis for seven or eight years from the neighborhood and he knew Lewis to be a member of the Vice Lord street gang. Murray testified that Lewis wears his hat to the left the way the Vice Lords wear their hats in the neighborhood. About 2-3 seconds later, Murray observed Lewis running back towards the Night Owl holding his jacket like he had something underneath it. After Lewis returned to the Night Owl, Murray heard hollering coming from the club, and specifically heard: "All Vice Lords leave." Murray then saw people running out of the club and heard gunshots which sounded like a gun and a shotgun. After hearing the shots fired, Murray saw Lewis running back south toward Ohio, passing in front of him again.

Murray also saw a green Oldsmobile with a beige top pull up in front of the club. He observed two men dragging somebody toward the car and another person trying to get in on the opposite side. Before the person could get in, the car drove off. Murray then saw that same person, who he identified as Jones, run past him down Kedzie toward Ohio. Jones was carrying a shot gun and Murray could see eight to nine inches of the double barrel shotgun; the rest of the gun was covered by Jones' jacket.

Murray testified that the group of people that he had observed in front of the motorcycle club were wearing their hats to left, but they were not people that he knew from the neighborhood. He also stated that the people who came running out of the club after someone yelled "All Vice Lords leave" were wearing their hats to the left.

On September 14, 1989, Murray went to the police station, and identified Jones in a line-up. While at the police station, Murray also identified Lewis from a photo array.

Officer Frances Higgins testified that on December 13, 1989, he arrested Jones, and turned him over to two gang crimes officers. Officer Howard Butvill testified that he was a Gang Crimes West officer, specializing in monitoring gangs and gathering information on gangs. On December 15, 1989, Butvill received a call from Reverend Butler, and in response to that call, Butvill and his partner went to Reverend Butler's church at 321 N. Pulaski, where Lewis presented himself to the police.

Following a joint jury trial, Jones and Lewis were convicted of first degree murder and two counts of attempt first degree murder. Jones was sentenced to a term of 36 years imprisonment for the charge of first degree murder, to run concurrently with a term of 30 years for both counts of attempt first degree murder. Lewis was sentenced to a term of 44 years imprisonment for the charge of first degree murder, to run concurrently with a term of 30 ...


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