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06/15/94 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. JOSE MARTINEZ

June 15, 1994

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JOSE MARTINEZ, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Edward Fiala, Judge Presiding.

Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied October 6, 1994.

Tully, Rizzi, Cerda

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Tully

PRESIDING JUSTICE TULLY delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a jury trial, defendant, Jose "Tony" Martinez, was convicted of solicitation of murder for hire and attempted first degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years' imprisonment for solicitation of murder for hire and an extended term of 50 years' imprisonment for attempted first degree murder, the sentences to run consecutively. Defendant appeals to this court from the judgment of conviction pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 603 (134 Ill. 2d R. 603).

On appeal, defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion for discharge pursuant to section 103-5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure; (2) the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion in limine regarding a videotape of the victim; (3) the trial court abused its discretion in allowing the State to present evidence regarding his motive where the State allegedly failed to establish his knowledge of the acts which allegedly constituted that motive; (4) the prosecution made improper comments that denied him a fair trial; (5) the trial court improperly entered convictions and sentences upon him; (6) the State failed to prove defendant guilty beyond a reasonabledoubt; and (7) the trial court improperly refused to allow certain evidence to go the jury room.

For the reasons which follow, we affirm.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The following pertinent facts were adduced at trial. In December 1989, Orelia "Lia" Turner, the victim, was four months pregnant with defendant's child. In the early part of 1989, Turner was living with defendant. Miguel "Tito" Ramos testified that he visited defendant at Cook County Jail along with his girl friend, Martha Torres. Defendant told them that he needed his girl friend "knocked off" because she had "tricked" on him. Ramos interpreted this to mean that defendant wanted Turner killed because she was testifying against him in the murder case of defendant's brother-in-law, Anton Crespo. Defendant was incarcerated in the Cook County jail at that time for the Crespo killing. Martinez said he was willing to pay $20,000, a Chevrolet Corvette and a Chevrolet Blazer to have Turner killed.

Ramos and Torres then went to the home of Lillian "Leo" Sanchez, the girl friend of Jose Contes. Ramos offered Contes $5,000 dollars to fulfil the wishes of defendant. Torres told Contes that "the guy in jail is good for it because he's a big time dope dealer." Ramos then contacted Luis "Chino" Cornier, who said that he could get a gun from a friend to carry out defendant's wishes. Ramos and Cornier saw a fellow member of a street gang to which they belonged, the "Spanish Cobras", on the street who gave them a gun. They returned to Contes' house and then drove to Sanchez' house, where they placed the gun in the trunk of Contes' car.

Turner and her friend, Karen Gallas, went to the house of Torres. When Ramos arrived, the women said they were going out to get nylons. Turner asked Ramos for his car keys so they could buy nylons. With the car keys, Turner and Gallas left the house. A few minutes later Gallas returned crying and said that Turner had been shot in the head.

Around 7 a.m. the next morning, Contes called Ramos to say the job was done and asked for his money. Ramos returned to Torres' house, where two police officers escorted them and Gallas to the police station. The police took Ramos with them to locate Contes' house. Ramos paged Contes and told him he had the money.

On cross-examination, Ramos stated where he went after the visit with defendant in jail. He did not put in his statement defendant's instructions regarding arranging a blind date and stripping Turner of her identification. Ramos stated that defendanthad told that him Turner was the one testifying against defendant and once she was out of the way he was going to win the Crespo case. Ramos also testified that he had been treated well by the police and that he was not threatened in any way.

Torres was pregnant with what Ramos believed to be his child. Ramos was shown defense photographs of Torres and Martinez in bed together. Ramos could not remember if he had seen the pictures prior to visiting defendant in jail.

Contes testified that he was currently incarcerated in a state penitentiary as a result of his having previously pled guilty to the attempted murder of Turner and was sentence to 10 years' imprisonment for the crime. On December 15, 1989, at Sanchez' home, Ramos explained what defendant wanted. Contes was to be the driver and Turner's blind date. Ramos gave Contes a description of Turner. He confirmed that he would receive the money and cars from defendant. Contes suggested that his cousin Cornier would shoot Turner. Contes, Cornier and Ramos removed a .38 black snubnose gun from the trunk of Ramos' car and placed it in the trunk of Contes' car. Cornier grabbed the gun from the trunk and they followed Ramos to 1639 North Fairfield.

Contes stopped the car near an alley, parked and waited about 15 minutes. He heard a gunshot coming from Cornier's direction. Cornier returned to the car after shooting Turner and the two men drove to Sanchez' house. The next evening Contes contacted Ramos, who said that he had the money. Shortly thereafter, the police arrived at the house and arrested them.

Contes testified to all of the preceding facts. He also stated that he was a member of the Spanish Cobras and that there was a lot of hatred among rival gangs. Contes, his cousin Ramos, and Cornier were all members of the gang. Contes recounted that Torres had made plans for them to go to a night club and for Turner to be his blind date.

Ramos left the house and returned after 12:00 a.m. Turner asked Ramos to borrow his car in order to buy nylons. As they left the house, Turner approached the passenger side of the car when a man came out of the parking lot, grabbing her from the back of the head. Gallas testified that a man shot Turner in the back of the head. She ran to the house and told the people there that ...


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