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05/17/94 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. DANIEL ARNA

May 17, 1994

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
DANIEL ARNA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable, William Hibbler, Judge Presiding.

Rehearing Denied June 16, 1994. Released for Publication July 14, 1994. Petition for Leave to Appeal Granted October 6, 1994.

DiVito, Hartman, McCormick

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Divito

Presiding Justice DiVito delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a bench trial, defendant Daniel Arna was convicted oftwo counts of attempted first degree murder and was sentenced to the custody of the Department of Corrections for concurrent terms of 30 and 45 years, respectively. On appeal, defendant contends that (1) he was denied his constitutional right to the effective assistance of counsel; (2) the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; and (3) the circuit court erred in denying his pro se motion to reduce sentence without first appointing counsel to represent him.

At trial, the following evidence was presented. Tonya Parks testified that she had lived with Darren Newell for approximately two years and that he was the father of her two oldest children, Whitney (three years old at the time of trial) and Porchia (one year old at the time of trial). After leaving Newell, she moved in with her mother for a short period and then began living with defendant, who was the father of her youngest child, Terrell (three months old at the time of trial). On June 14, 1990, she left defendant because he would argue with and spank Whitney. Although some time prior to her leaving, defendant had threatened to kill her if she left him, on the day she left, he merely told her that he did not think it was a good idea for her to go to her mother's house. After leaving defendant, Parks resided with Newell at his sister's house.

On June 20, 1990, at about 11 a.m., she and Newell took Whitney and Porchia to the currency exchange at 422 East 61st Street in Chicago to pick up her public aid check, as she had done the previous month with defendant. Five or six other people were inside the currency exchange. She and Whitney waited in line while Newell stood off to the side holding Porchia. After she received her check from the clerk, she went to the table and began opening the envelope when she noticed defendant standing near the door to the currency exchange. Defendant then removed a gun from his pants and pointed it at her. She ducked as defendant fired three or four shots, striking her once in the chest and Whitney twice in the head. Defendant then left the currency exchange. Newell chased after him, but came back to take Parks and Whitney to the hospital.

On the way to the hospital, they stopped a police officer and Parks reported that they had been shot by defendant. She and Whitney were then taken to Cook County Hospital, where they both underwent surgery. She remained in the hospital for approximately three days; Whitney was hospitalized for two weeks. Her bullet was not removed; she still has a scar where she was struck on the left side of her chest.

Following the shooting, defendant called Parks on the phone and she visited him in the county jail. In May 1991 defendant asked her to write a letter and told her what to say. The letter stated:

"Dear Daniel

Hi I'am [sic] sorry that I put you through all of this trouble. But however I was coherst [sic] by certain persons in which I said that you was the one, [sic] who shot us. When your court date comes I will be there to tell the gosple [sic] truth of what happen. [sic] Him [sic] and I know it was someone else, but I was mad at you at the time it took place.

Love

Tonya

P.S. I am sorry, sorry, sorry, and I still love you very much. Also I had you a son"

In June 1991, after defendant asked her to fill out an affidavit, she went to his sister's house and his sister Patricia Wilson wrote out the affidavit and gave it to her. She then went to a currency exchange where she signed the affidavit and had it notarized. The affidavit stated:

"I, Tonya Parks, hereby state that all the following information is true and factual: On June 20th I, Tonya Parks and my baby Whitney Newell was shot in the Currency Exchange. The Police came to the hospital while I was under medication and showed me a picture of Daniel Arna and told me he turned hisself [sic] in and they told me to say it was him that shot me and my baby Whitney Newell so I did. I said that because they told me to. When I came to court the State Attorney told me everthing [sic] to say and how to say it. State Attorney also told me if I did not say it was Daniel that shot me and my baby Whitney Newell they would take my children so I said everything they said. I know it was not Daniel that shot me and my baby ...


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