APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE LORETTA HALL MORGAN, JUDGE PRESIDING.
Rehearing Denied August 9, 1994. Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied December 6, 1994.
Campbell, O'connor, Jr., Manning
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Campbell
PRESIDING JUSTICE CAMPBELL delivered the opinion of the court:
Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant Alfredo Gonzalez was found guilty of the murder of Kevin and Torrence Wiley. Defendant was sentenced to natural life imprisonment in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Defendant now appeals.
The record on appeal indicates the following facts. The State presented Joseph Wiley to testify that his brothers, Kevin and Torrence were alive prior to the early morning hours of May 25, 1990. At that time, Kevin and Torrence would have been 26 and 27 years old, respectively. Joseph identified his brothers from photographs.
Chicago police officer Luis Montalvo testified that at approximately 1 a.m. on May 25, 1990, he responded to a police call regarding shots fired at Kimball and North Avenue. Officer Montalvo testified that he arrived at the scene between ten and fifteen seconds later. Officer Montalvo stated that he observed two African-American males down on the sidewalk. Officer Montalvo noted that one man was bleeding from the mouth and the back of the head, but both men were alive and gasping for air or quivering. Officer Montalvo called an ambulance, but both men died before the ambulance arrived. According to Officer Montalvo, a paramedic identified a wound that went almost through the body of the man who was not bleeding. Officer Montalvo identified the scene and the victims from photographs.
Chicago police officer John Butler testified that he was an evidence technician involved in the investigation of the two deaths. Officer Butler testified he took a number of photographs of the scene and searched the area for physical evidence. Officer Butler testified that four 9 millimeter cartridge cases were recovered from the scene. The police also recovered a beer can from the area. According to Officer Butler, these items had partial fingerprints that were not suitable for identification.
Officer Butler indicated that another fired bullet was later found in the underwear of one of the victims, who had gunshot wounds to the chest, hip and penis. Officer Butler testified that he inventoried the spent cartridges. Officer Butler also identified a number of views of the crime scene from a series of photographs taken by Butler and his partner. Out of the presence of the jury, the trial court overruled defendant's objections to the publication of a number of the photographs of the crime scene and the victims.
Rosa Bello testified that she had known defendant and a man named Justino Cruz for approximately two years. Bello identified defendant in court. Bello testified that she also knew a man named Jose Maysonet, indicating that he was the father of her son, who was born in 1991. Bello indicated that defendant, Cruz, Maysonet and a man she knew only as "Fro" were members of a street gang known as the Latin Kings.
Bello testified that on May 24, 1990, she was living with Maysonet and her two daughters, neither of whom were sired by Maysonet. Bello indicated that at approximately 11:30 p.m., after her daughters had gone to sleep, three men she called "Lluvia," "Tino" and "Fro" arrived at her house. Bello testified that "Lluvia" was a nickname of defendant. The three men asked to speak to Maysonet. Bello testified that she admitted the three men to her home, but did not overhear the conversation between the three men and Maysonet.
According to Bello, at Maysonet's request, she retrieved something wrapped in a towel and a plastic bag from the bedroom. Bello testified that she gave the bag to defendant, also at Maysonet's request. Bello testified that she saw that the item inside the towel and bag was a gun. Bello further indicated that she saw defendant put bullets into a clip and put the clip into the gun.
Bello testified that she became upset and said something to Maysonet. Bello also testified that defendant rewrapped the gun in the plastic bag and towel and that she gave defendant a second plastic bag to wrap the gun. Bello further indicated that defendant stuck the gun under his "hoodie" at the waist. Bello explained that the "hoodie" was a long black shirt with a hood. Bello testified that the three men and Maysonet then left; Maysonet returned alone after midnight.
Finally, Bello testified that she had been staying at a hotel for several days at the expense of the State's Attorney's office. Bello testified that she was staying at a hotel because someone had tried to run over her and her son while they were on their way to a doctor between 1:30 and 2 p.m. on the Friday before her testimony.
On cross-examination, Bello admitted that she was not going to testify at any trial of Maysonet. Bello also admitted that although she was questioned by the police on May 25, 1990, she did not tell the police anything about defendant until August 23, 1990, when Maysonet was arrested and charged regarding this matter. Bello testified that she knew the gun she had retrieved was a 9 millimeter gun "just by looking at it," but had seen other such guns "only by books."
Justino Cruz testified that he was charged with the murders of Kevin and Torrence Wiley. Cruz indicated that he had reached an agreement with the State that the State would recommend a 22 year sentence in return for his truthful testimony and a guilty plea as to one of the murders. Cruz testified that he understood that the actual sentencing decision would be made by a Judge and that the sentence for the murder to which he will plead guilty could range between 20 and 60 years. Cruz also indicated that without the agreement, he could face life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Cruz further testified that he had been convicted of possession of marijuana and was on probation for that offense on May 25, 1990. Cruz indicated that he had been in custody for approximately 15 months when the State first approached him regarding a plea agreement in January 1992. Cruz testified that he initially declined to enter an agreement and that the aforementioned agreement was reached on March 13, 1992.
Cruz testified that defendant was his uncle. Cruz testified that he also knew Maysonet and "Fro," whom he identified as Chris Hernandez. Cruz indicated that he was a member of the Latin Kings and knew defendant, Maysonet and Hernandez to be Latin Kings.
Cruz testified that on May 24, 1990, he was walking toward his girlfriend's home when he saw defendant and Hernandez in a blue Buick. After a brief conversation with Hernandez, Cruz got into the car. The three men drove to Maysonet's house; Cruz testified that defendant stated that they were going "to Juan's house to get a gun." According to Cruz, Hernandez indicated that they needed the gun to "do a drug sale."
Cruz then testified regarding the events that transpired at Maysonet's home; this testimony is substantially similar to the testimony offered by Rosa Bello. Cruz added that defendant initially told Maysonet to get the gun. Cruz recognized the gun as a 9 millimeter automatic pistol, as he had seen similar guns on the street. Cruz indicated that he and defendant were wearing "hoodies," which Cruz described as hooded sweatshirts.
Cruz testified that he, defendant, Hernandez and Maysonet then left Maysonet's home and drove away in the car. According to Cruz, Maysonet was the driver, defendant was in the front passenger seat, Hernandez sat behind defendant and Cruz sat behind Maysonet. Cruz indicated that defendant took the pistol out of his pants and looked at it while they drove.
Maysonet eventually parked the car in an empty lot. Cruz testified that he, defendant and Hernandez jumped out of the car. According to Cruz, defendant and Hernandez walked toward North Avenue while he was stood by the car and looked toward St. Louis and Kimball. Cruz testified that he could also see two African-American men standing on North Avenue by the empty lot. Cruz testified that he could see defendant and Hernandez talking with the other two men; the four men talked for approximately five to ten minutes.
According to Cruz, when he looked again toward St. Louis and Kimball, he heard three or four shots; he heard one or two more shots as he turned to look. Cruz stated that he saw Hernandez and defendant running toward their car. Cruz also saw one of the African-American men on the ground. According to Cruz, when defendant and Hernandez reached the car, defendant said, "Let's get out of here. We just shot two guys." Cruz testified that everyone jumped in the car and drove away.
Cruz further testified that he was brought to the police station by two plainclothes policemen on August 23, 1990. Cruz saw defendant and Maysonet at the station.
On cross-examination, Cruz indicated that he was aware of the possibility that he might receive day for day credit for time served and that "good time" may be deducted from any sentence he will receive under his plea agreement. Cruz admitted that on August 24, 1990, he did not tell Assistant State's Attorney Perkaus that defendant had said "I just shot two people." Cruz added that he did convey that information to his lawyer and to police officers whose names he could not remember prior to March 13, 1992.
On re-direct examination, Cruz identified a written summary of a statement he gave to an Assistant State's Attorney on August 24, 1990. Cruz indicated that his signature appeared on each page and that the ...