APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. THE HONORABLE WILLIAM PRENDERGAST, JUDGE PRESIDING
Released for Publication July 14, 1994. Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied October 6, 1994.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gordon
JUSTICE GORDON delivered the opinion of the court:
Following a bench trial, defendant was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 29 years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant contends that she was denied her sixth amendment right to effective assistance of counsel. She also argues that her sentence was excessive. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
Defendant Jasmine McKenzie was charged with first degree murder in connection with the death of her boyfriend, Derrick Walker. After she waived her right to a jury trial, a bench trial was held. At that trial, the following evidence was revealed.
On October 6, 1990, the victim, Derrick Walker, was visiting with Erica Brown and her younger sister Tamara at the garden apartment of Erica's grandmother. Walker lived in an apartment above the garden apartment with his mother. The layout of each apartment was identical.
Both Erica and Tamara Brown testified to the events of that night. At approximately 10 p.m., Walker, Erica and Tamara were in Erica's room watching television and listening to music. The doorbell rang and Tamara opened the door to find defendant standing there. Defendant asked for Walker. When Walker came to the door defendant asked him what he was doing downstairs. Walker and defendant then went upstairs to Walker's apartment. Both Erica and Tamara heard them enter the upstairs apartment and heard the upstairs door being locked.
Erica and Tamara both heard a loud Discussion begin between defendant and Walker. During this conversation, Tamara heard defendant say, "If you love the baby, you wouldn't be talking to anybody else", to which Walker responded, "I wasn't talking to anyone, I was downstairs laughing and joking."
Erica heard Walker and defendant talking in the living room of the upstairs apartment. She heard defendant ask Walker, "What were you doing downstairs?" According to Erica, Walker responded that "he was visiting a girl and her family", at which time defendant told the victim to get a job so that he could take care of his son. The voices became louder and moved from the living room to the hallway of the upstairs apartment.
Both Erica and Tamara next heard Walker and defendant hittingeach other. Tamara heard Walker ask defendant, "What are you hitting me for." Tamara heard them move into Walker's bedroom, continuing to argue. Erica then heard someone walking towards the bedroom of the upstairs apartment and someone else walking towards the front door of the apartment. She heard defendant's voice from near the front door ask for keys and ask Walker why he was trying to lock her in the apartment. Erica then heard Walker walk to the front door. Erica heard one person strike the other and someone fall to the floor. Erica stated that she heard crying and then heard someone walk from the front door of the upstairs apartment to the bedroom.
Erica testified that after approximately three to five minutes of silence, she again heard someone walk from the front door of the upstairs apartment to the bedroom. Tamara said she heard Walker ask defendant, "What do you have the knife for?" Both Tamara and Erica then heard a loud thud come from Walker's bedroom. After the thud, the electricity in the downstairs apartment went off and the apartment trembled.
Erica began to walk back and forth through her apartment calling for Walker. She returned to her bedroom and heard scratching on the floor of the upstairs apartment. Tamara also heard this scratching. Tamara then heard someone run from Walker's bedroom to the kitchen. The scratching moved from the bedroom to the hall of the upstairs apartment. Erica heard defendant yelling at Walker and then say something about "another female." Erica then heard ...