Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Christy Berkos, Judge Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcnulty
JUSTICE McNULTY delivered the opinion of the court:
Terrance Steele along with Farrell Hall, Ellis Austin, and Kevin Cathey were indicted for the offenses of attempted armed robbery and first-degree murder. After a separate jury trial defendant was found guilty of attempted armed robbery and not guilty of first-degree murder. The trial court sentenced defendant to four years' probation and 250 hours of community service. A timely notice of appeal was filed.
In requesting that this court reverse his conviction and remand for a new trial defendant alleges two errors: (1) the trial court improperly admitted into evidence unnecessary details of other crimes; and (2) the trial court improperly admitted into evidence portions of codefendant Farrell Hall's post-arrest statement on the charged offense.
Prior to defendant's trial, two of the codefendants pled guilty to the charges and the third codefendant was found not guilty of first-degree murder and guilty of attempted armed robbery in a trial. Prior to jury selection defense counsel moved to exclude the evidence of the other robberies. The court reserved ruling on this matter.
Thelma Jasper testified that the victim was her son, Derrick Hall. On October 4, 1989, prior to being shot, Derrick was at his mother's house near Division and Pulaski Streets in Chicago, Illinois. Derrick left her house to go home between 9 and 9:30 p.m. Derrick was to take the Division Street bus to Western Avenue, and the Western Avenue bus south to his home on Lexington Street.
When Derrick left his mother's house that evening, he was wearing a dark blue Starter jacket. Ms. Jasper next saw her son dead at the county morgue. At trial, Ms. Jasper was able to recognize one of the State's exhibits as the jacket her son wore that evening.
Ricardo Vigo testified that on October 4, 1989, at approximately 10 p.m. he was near the intersection of Western Avenue and Thomas Street. He was waiting for his wife to arrive on the bus at that same intersection. While waiting for her, an individual wearing a Starter jacket joined Vigo at the bus stop. After about five to ten minutes, Vigo saw a car at the intersection of Western Avenue and Thomas Street. The car was going east on Thomas Street and then stopped at the intersection. It was a station wagon with brown and beige trim, and four people inside. The car turned south on Western Avenue and stopped a few feet from the corner.
The car was double-parked when a man jumped from the passenger side behind the driver. This man walked up to the individual who was wearing a Starter jacket. Vigo was only three to four feet away from the two of them. The man from the car pulled a gun out of his jacket and told the individual to take off the jacket. Vigo then stated that, "somewhere along the line he shot him" as Vigo was standing there. After being shot, the victim walked towards Western Avenue. Vigo turned around and saw the gunman get back into the station wagon. The car headed south on Western Avenue. The victim ran into the street and yelled, "Help me I've been shot; I've been shot."
The police arrived on the scene approximately five to ten minutes later. Vigo drove around the neighborhood with the police to try to locate the station wagon, but the car could not be found.
On October 6, 1989, Vigo viewed a lineup at Area 4 police headquarters. He identified the gunman who shot Derrick Hall.
Farrell Hall testified that he was an inmate at the Menard facility of the Illinois Department of Corrections pursuant to a sentence of 40 years for first-degree murder and attempted robbery. In addition, he was sentenced to a concurrent term of six years for an armed robbery that took place in Bellwood, Illinois. Hall was held in contempt for failing to answer the prosecutor's question as to whether he was with anyone on the evening of October 4, 1989. Hall acknowledged that he knew defendant and made an in-court identification of him. Hall was held in contempt for failing to answer the prosecutor's question of whether Hall was with defendant on October 4, 1989.
Despite his initial failure to state whether he was with anyone, Hall went on to testify that he rode around in a green and beige station wagon with Kevin Cathey and Ellis Austin on the evening of October 4, 1989. He testified that he did not know who owned the car. Hall was held in contempt of court again for failing to answer the prosecutor's question regarding how many people were in that car on October 4, 1989. Hall admitted that he, Cathey and Austin were on Western Avenue near Thomas Street that evening. Hall again was held in contempt of court for refusing to answer the prosecutor's question of whether defendant was with them on that evening.
Hall testified that he got out of the car with a loaded handgun. Hall approached a black man, and told him to hand over his Chicago Bear's jacket. As the victim took off his jacket, he began to run away. Hall shot the victim once. The victim fell to the ground, and Hall got back into the car. Hall was held in contempt for failing to answer the prosecutor's question whether defendant was with him at the time of the shooting.
Hall further testified that on that same night, he was with Austin and Cathey in Bellwood. He testified that he did not recall whether defendant was with them. Hall did not recall taking a white jacket from anyone while in Bellwood.
Hall testified that on the same evening he was in Maywood in a car with Cathey and Austin. He testified that he knew that while he was in Maywood a man was robbed of a Redskin's jacket. He testified that he did not recall who took the jacket. During the early morning hours of October 6, 1989, Hall appeared in a lineup. That same morning, he gave a court-reported statement to an assistant State's Attorney.
Hall's statement to the assistant State's Attorney was that "Terry" was driving the car that evening, and that "Terry" wanted to rob somebody else. However, Hall did not remember saying that "Terry" was driving, that "Terry" double-parked the car or that "Terry" received the Cincinnati jacket.
Hall reviewed another statement and did not remember signing it. He further testified that not all of the facts in that statement were true. The statement indicated that on October 4, 1989, at approximately 7:30 p.m., Farrell Hall, defendant, Cathey, and Austin went to Maywood to rob people of their jackets. However, Hall denied the truth of the statement. Hall testified ...