Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Joseph J. Urso, Judge Presiding.
Released for Publication December 16, 1994. As Corrected December 9, 1994. Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied February 1, 1995.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Tully
PRESIDING JUSTICE TULLY delivered the opinion of the court:
After a jury trial, defendant, Lionel Webb, was convicted of first degree murder in violation of section 9-1(a)(1) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)(1) (now 720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West 1992))) and attempted armed robbery in violation of section 8-4 and 18-2 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 8-4, 18-2 (now 720 ILCS 5/8-4, 18-2 (West 1992))), receiving concurrent prison terms of 32 years and 15 years for those respective crimes. It is from the judgment of conviction that defendant now appeals to this court pursuant to section 6 of article VI of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 6) and Supreme Court Rule 603 (134 Ill. 2d R. 603).
For the reasons which follow, we affirm.
On July 7, 1990, defendant met up with a group of his friends, Kenneth Roper, Marvin Bowman and Gregory King at the Israel Deli located at intersection of 73rd and Halsted Streets in Chicago. The group, ranging in age from 16 to 18, decided to go and buy some liquor from a store at the corner of 79th and Halsted Streets. Around this time the youths discussed stealing a car for a joy ride and then selected a beige Oldsmobile parked near a church off the intersection of 75th and Halsted Streets. The vehicle had a passenger, the victim, Charles Patton. At this time defendant was in possession of his father's loaded .38 caliber revolver, which he had handed to King before heading over to the liquor store.
King said, "Let's get the car." Whereupon, King approached the car, tapped on the window and asked Patton for a light. Patton simply looked up and nodded back down. King then fatally shot Patton and the boys fled. Subsequently, King returned the pistol to defendant, who in turn, cleaned the weapon and returned it the place where his father kept it.
Subsequent to a police investigation into the matter, defendant was indicted for first degree murder and attempted armed robbery and put on trial.
During voir dire, defendant wished to have his grandmother sit in a particular chair in the courtroom. Initially, the trial court refused, citing lack of space in the courtroom. The first venire panel was then brought in and the trial Judge explained that he was going to dismiss the panel for lunch and that upon their return each member was to take the exact seat they were currently occupying. The panel was then dismissed for lunch.
After the venire members left, a short Discussion was held between the trial court, defense counsel and the prosecution concerning the voir dire and some other matters.
On return from lunch, the trial court sua sponte reconsidered its decision to exclude defendant's grandmother from the courtroom. The trial Judge instructed defense counsel to escort defendant's grandmother into the courtroom and she was seated. In the presence of defendant, the trial Judge asked defense counsel "Are you satisfied in your's client's right to a public trial?" Defense counsel responded "Yes, Judge." ...