APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE MICHAEL P. TOOMIN, JUDGE PRESIDING.
Released for Publication July 14, 1994. Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied October 6, 1994.
McNAMARA, Rakowski, Giannis
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcnamara
JUSTICE McNAMARA delivered the opinion of the court:
Following a bench trial, defendant Raymond Rogers was found guilty of the first degree murder and aggravated kidnapping of Irving Sanders and the second degree murder of Perry White. Defendant was sentenced to concurrent terms of forty years and five years on the first degree murder count and the second degree murder count, respectively.
On appeal, defendant contends that the State failed to prove the corpus delicti with respect to the deceased Sanders; that he was not proved guilty of the crimes because he was acting in self-defense of his person and property; that the trial court improperly permitted the medical examiner to testify as to certain Conclusions supporting her theories as to the deaths; and that after the psychiatrist submitted his report that defendant was fit to stand trial with medication, the trial court failed to follow the statutes relevant to adequately protecting defendant's rights. The pertinent facts follow.
On January 5, 1990, defendant, who was employed as a correctional guard for the Cook County Sheriff, shot and killed Sanders and White. The shootings occurred at a house in Chicago which defendant owned and where he had lived with his family several months prior to the shootings. At the time of the shootings, the house was uninhabited and boarded up. There was no electricity or heat, and the water pipes were cracked. However, the house was filled with furniture, clothing and other personal belongings.
After the incident, defendant used a neighbor's telephone to call the police. Officers Toni Washington, Joe Parker, Thomas Ptak and Michael Duffin responded to the call. Defendant approached the officers and told them that he had shot the two men and that the two bodies were in the house. Defendant was carrying a blue bag containing wedding pictures and a hammer.
The door was blocked, and the officers gained entry by forcing the door open and removing some boards. They found the house to be in complete disarray. Every inch of the floor space had clothing, furniture or dust on it. The disarray and dirt appeared to have been present for some time.
The officers first discovered White's body. It was wedged between the front door and the bottom step of a short staircase. The officers heard moaning and found Sanders at the top of the stairs. He was handcuffed to a bed frame. Sanders was severely bruised, with brain matter coming from his head and blood all over. He was shaking with pain. Sanders was not responsive to questions and made no intelligent replies. He had wounds to his lower thighs and other injuries about his face. He subsequently died.
The officers found no weapons on White or around where he was lying. Likewise, no weapons were found in Sanders' hands or close to his body.
The police officers had conversations with defendant at the scene. Defendant stated that he had purchased another but smaller house so that he had to leave a lot of belongings behind. He checked his old property every day. Defendant told the officers that on January 4, 1990, he visited the property and saw that the house had been entered and that his prom pictures had been taken. Defendant was worried that his wedding pictures would also be taken, so he returned to the house on January 5 at 7:00 a.m., upon completion of his midnight shift at Cook County Jail. Defendant was carrying his loaded revolver. He pulled out his revolver, entered the house and waited.
Defendant also told the officers that later in the day White and Sanders pulled up in front of the house in a truck. The two men entered the house with their hands in their pockets, but not in a threatening way. As soon as White entered the house, defendant stated that he shot him and "he went down right away." White died as a result of a gunshot wound through the back of the neck. Defendant also shot at Sanders, but apparently kept missing him. He continued to shoot, during which time he reloaded his gun. Defendant, who was six feet, four inches tall and weighed 230 pounds, was then able to knock Sanders down. He hit Sanders on the top of the head and dragged him to the middle of the room, handcuffing him to a bed frame. Defendant then used a meat hook to inflict puncture wounds upon Sanders. Assuming it was Sanders who had taken his belongings, defendant tried to find out where they were. He learned that Sanders had taken defendant's sofa to another address. Sanders unsuccessfully struggled with the handcuffs in an attempt to escape. Defendant then pressed his gun to the back of Sanders' head and shot him. Sanders died as a result of this contact-range gunshot wound to his head. Multiple blunt-trauma injuries contributed to his death.
The police officers recovered defendant's gun, a hammer, and the meat hook. Defendant did not have any cuts, bruises or lacerations. Ptak testified that he had inspected defendant's hands for injuries but found none. Ptak also testified that he asked defendant to remove his shirt and upon doing so, Ptak saw no injuries. Defendant did not complain about pain or injuries, despite the fact that Ptak directly asked defendant whether he was hurt.
Officer Parker testified that defendant did not tell the police that the two men had been shot during a burglary in progress. Parker also did not recall a radio simulcast stating that two men had been shot during a burglary in progress.
Doctor Nancy Jones, the medical examiner who performed the autopsies on both victims, testified on behalf of the State. With regards to White, she stated that he sustained a single gunshot wound to the right side of the back of his neck. Doctor Jones stated that she recovered a rusty knife from White's sleeve and submitted the knife and bullet to the police for inventory. She stated that if White had the knife in his hand prior to being shot, he would not have been physically capable of later concealing the knife in his sleeve after having received the gunshot wound to the back of the head.
With respect to Sanders, Doctor Jones described multiple wounds and injuries to his body, which included a contact-range gunshot wound to the head, and a blunt-trauma injury to his face, to the left side of the forehead and to the back of his head, all unrelated to the gunshot wound and consistent with being struck by a hammer. In addition, Sanders had puncture-type wounds on both legs consistent with being punctured by the meat hook found next to his body. He also had internal injuries on the lungs, ribs and kidney.
Doctor Jones noted that the pattern of the injuries suggested that they were caused to inflict pain, rather than to cause death. In her opinion, the gunshot wound was the final wound suffered by Sanders, stating that it was so significant that death would have occurred within a very short period of time. All of the ...