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April 21, 1994


Appeal from Circuit Court of McLean County. No. 91CF916. Honorable Ronald C. Dozier, Judge Presiding.

As Corrected May 13, 1994. Released for Publication June 1, 1994. Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied October 6, 1994.

Honorable Carl A. Lund, J., Honorable James A. Knecht, J., Honorable Robert W. Cook, J.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lund

JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a jury trial in McLean County, defendant Gregory Lee Chambers was convicted of the murder of Carlette Walton and sentenced to 60 years' imprisonment. He now appeals, contending the following errors:

(1) His fifth amendment right to remain silent was violated because police continued interrogation after he invoked that right, where he had not waived that right. (U.S. Const., amend. V.) His fifth and sixth amendment rights to counsel were violated because he was questioned after invoking his right to counsel either following arrest or 13 days earlier. U.S. Const., amends. V, VI.

(2) His warrantless arrest should have been quashed, his post-arrest statements and evidence taken from his car suppressed because exigent circumstances did not exist, and he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the home where he was an overnight guest.

(3) The trial court committed reversible error in allowing the State to present other crimes evidence regarding an April domestic incident, since the State put on a minitrial on this evidence and relevance of the testimony was far outweighed by its prejudicial value.

(4) The trial court committed reversible error by allowing witnesses to testify regarding defendant's holster, since that holster was in no way connected to the offense.

(5) The trial court erred in admitting testimony that defendant told a friend six months before decedent's disappearance that he thought about killing decedent, where that testimony was remote, the declarant had a strong motive to lie, the testimony was not a threat, and any relevance was outweighed by its prejudicial impact.

The victim and the defendant, who was married to another, had maintained a relationship. Both were residents of Chicago, and defendant was a Chicago police bfficer. On April 27, 1991, the victim was beaten during an argument with defendant and, as a result, defendant was suspended pending a police department disciplinary hearing. Defendant's police disciplinary hearing was set for earlyDecember 1991, and the victim was to testify at that hearing. On November 22, 1991, during the evening hours, the victim left with defendant, evidently in his auto. Evidence established that defendant was intent upon convincing the victim to not appear at the disciplinary hearing. The victim disappeared the night of November 22 and her whereabouts were unknown until her body was found on December 14, 1991, near Interstate 74 in McLean County. The body was decomposed, but the cause of death was established as a result of two bullet wounds. One bullet was found and could have been from a 9-millimeter pistol, and defendant had owned such a weapon.

Defendant's statements set forth his parking with the victim near the lake on Lake Shore Drive and later letting her off near 35th Street and Martin Luther King Drive. The only evidence of anyone seeing the victim alive after that was speculative at best. At the time of the April beating, defendant made threats of death if police were notified. There was evidence, by another resident of the jail where defendant was retained, of his incriminating statements.

Evidence presented to the jury was sufficient to establish guilt, and testimony relating to answers given by defendant when interrogated by authorities did not indicate an admission of guilt but, in some respects, placed defendant in a bad light. Additional facts will be related during the Discussion of the various issues on appeal.

Defendant was arrested at 9 p.m. on December 14, 1991, and read his Miranda rights. He acknowledged each of the warnings and did not request an attorney. Defendant was interrogated four times between midnight on December 14, 1991, and 10:30 a.m. the following day. He was read his Miranda rights prior to each interrogation. According to those involved, defendant did not ...

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