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March 31, 1994


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Howard T. Savage, Judge Presiding.

Rehearing Denied May 9, 1994. Released for Publication June 7, 1994.

Buckley, Campbell, Manning

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Buckley

JUSTICE BUCKLEY delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a jury trial, defendant Rolando Araujo was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to a term of 50 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Defendant appeals his conviction. We affirm.

At defendant's trial, Regalberto Figueroa, Gabriel Mujica and Ismael Martinez testified on behalf of the State. Their testimonies are corroborative and the following is a summation of them.

On August 23, 1988, at about 6:15 p.m., Figueroa, Martinez, David Chacon and Mujica, all admittedly members of the Bishop street gang, met Mario Rodriguez upon leaving Harris Park. After conversing, Figueroa, Mujica and Martinez began walking north on the east side of the street, while Chacon and Rodriguez walked across to the west side of the street.

Defendant, a member of the Ambrose street gang, drove past them heading north towards 18th and Wood Streets, stopped his maroon-colored car, jumped out and shot at Rodriguez. Rodriguez fell between two parked cars, defendant ran over to him and fired several shots down into his body. Then, defendant ran back down the street, got into his car and drove away. Meanwhile, Robert Mendoza, also an Ambrose street gang member, was standing on the east side of the street shooting in the direction of Figueroa, Mujica, and Martinez.

Zaida Cintron, an Ambrose gang member and Mendoza's girl friend at the time of the shooting incident, also testified on behalf of the State. She testified that at about 6:30 p.m., on August 23, 1988, she was walking at 18th and Throop Streets, about six blocks from the scene of the murder, noticed defendant driving a maroon-colored car and asked him for a ride. Defendant told Cintron that he could not oblige her because he needed to hide his .38 caliber gun since he "had done something." At the time, defendant was alone the car.

Officer Spratte testified for the State that on August 23, 1988, he and Detective McGreal heard a radio transmission at about 6:40 p.m. which instructed them to proceed to 8059 South Oketo in an effort to apprehend defendant who was identified as a gunman in a shooting. Since Spratte is an expert on Chicago street gangs, specializing in knowledge of Pilsen area gangs, he knew that defendant lived at the above address. They arrived at the address at about 7:10 p.m. and saw a maroon Toyota Cressida in the driveway. They watched the house until defendant came out of it at about 7:30 p.m., at which time they arrested him. Later that evening, Spratte obtained a search warrant for 8059 South Oketo. Upon execution, a dark Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver was retrieved. Detective McGreal's testimony corroborates the above.

The State's firearm expert examined the bullets recovered from decedent's body and analyzed whether they came from the revolver obtained from defendant's residence. The expert testified that the bullets recovered from decedent's body were consistent with having been fired from that gun. The State rested its case in chief.

Officer Delgado of the Chicago police department testified on behalf of defendant. Delgado stated that on August 23, 1988, while off duty, he was driving west on 18th Street when he witnessed Willie Perez firing a gun from 18th and Wood Streets. He saw Perez walk down the street and fire several more shots between two parked cars. He noticed a red Toyota double parked at 18th and Wood Streets.

Terry Cornell, a private investigator for defendant, testified that he had interviewed Mujica, who allegedly told him that he was not at the scene when decedent was shot. Cornell further testified that he interviewed Figueroa in jail. Figueroa allegedly told Cornell that he did not see who shot decedent. Mujica and Figueroa denied ever making those statements and confirmed that they were never afforded the opportunity to review Cornell's notes or sign them. Defendant rested.

Then, the State moved to re-open the cross-examination of Delgado. The circuit court allowed the State to do so. When Delgado took the witness stand again, he admitted that he had been a member of the Ambrose street gang 30 years previously. On re-direct, defendant asked Delgado several questions in an attempt to rehabilitate him. The circuit court sustained two of the State's objections on the basis that the questions regarding Delgado enlisting in the ...

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