Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

12/27/94 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. SHEILA DANIELS

December 27, 1994

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
SHEILA DANIELS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. The Honorable Michael P. Toomin, Judge Presiding.

As Modified on Denial of Rehearing May 16, 1995.

Presiding Justice Scariano delivered the opinion of the court: Hartman, J., concurs. DiVITO, J., dissent.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scariano

AS MODIFIED ON DENIAL OF REHEARING

PRESIDING JUSTICE SCARIANO delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant Sheila Daniels was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, par. 9-1, now codified as 720 ILCS 5/9-1 (West 1992)) and sentenced to 80 years in the custody of the Department of Corrections. On appeal, she contends that (1) her motion to suppress was erroneously denied; (2) evidence regarding polygraph examinations taken by her and her brother prior to her arrest was improperly admitted at trial; (3) evidence relating to the circumstances surrounding her statement to the police was wrongly excluded; and (4) the circuit court erroneously refused to instruct the jury on her alibi defense.

At trial, the State presented the following evidence. On November 12, 1988, at approximately 8:40 p.m., David Ray McCoy, a paraplegic since 1968, was found dead in his car in an alley near the intersection of 87th Street and Cornell Avenue in Chicago, about a block from his office at 8837 South Stony Island Avenue. His body was curled in a fetal position on the floor behind the driver's seat. A .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun, later determined to be the murder weapon, was lying next to his head. After his body was removed, two small caliber cartridge cases were found in the car; blood was found on the front seat armrest as well as on the body. Two days later, McCoy's wallet was found at a McDonald's restaurant located at 1437 East 87th Street, approximately two blocks from the alley where his body was found. The medical examiner recovered two bullets from the back of McCoy's brain, and a third bullet from the right side of his face, but was unable to determine the order of shots or if any single bullet caused his death.

After tracing the gun, police discovered that it had been reported stolen two years earlier by William Hackney. Thereafter, police questioned David Copeland, who had previously been arrested and charged with the theft, about the gun. Copeland admitted stealing it and two other guns when he worked for Hackney in July 1986. He also told the police that about a week and a half after the theft, he sold the handgun to Denton Bailey for $65. The police then questioned Bailey, who told them that after purchasing the gun from Copeland, he sold it to defendant, McCoy's live-in girl friend. Following that sale, Bailey spoke with defendant several times, and "a couple weeks" prior to McCoy's death, he asked her whether she still had the gun. Defendant replied that she did and offered to sell it back, but Bailey declined.

After speaking with Bailey, Chicago police detectives Michael McDermott and John Gallavan, along with Lt. Phillip Cline, went to defendant's house on November 17th to question her about Bailey's statements. They also wanted her to examine some telephone logs because she had told them earlier in their investigation that McCoy had received a phone call between 3 and 4 p.m. on the day he was killed. When they arrived at defendant's house, several other people were there. Defendant was able to recognize some of the telephone numbers on the list, but for each of the others, someone at the station would have to call the phone company to obtain the information. Because this was "very time consuming," the detectives asked defendant to accompany them to the police station in order to simplify the process. Defendant agreed and accompanied them to the police station, arriving there at approximately 5:30 p.m.

At the police station, Lt. Cline told defendant that Bailey had claimed that he sold her the gun that was used to kill McCoy. At first, she denied ever purchasing a gun from Bailey, but then admitted buying a small caliber semi-automatic handgun from him; she stated, however, that she believed her brother Anthony had stolen it from her. Detectives Gallavan and James Boylan then located defendant's brother Anthony, who was brought to the police station, and after being questioned about defendant's allegations, he was released without being charged with any offense.

Defendant was again questioned from 10 to 11:30 p.m. that day and, at approximately 3 a.m., she was placed under arrest, advised of her Miranda rights, and acknowledged that she understood them. She then stated that her brother Tyrone had told her that he had her gun and that he shot McCoy. She agreed to show the detectives where Tyrone lived and directed them to his home. At approximately 3:30 a.m., Tyrone was placed under arrest, and he and defendant were taken to the police station.

At the station, Detective Boylan spoke with defendant while Detective Cummings interviewed Tyrone. After Boylan advised her of her constitutional rights, defendant stated that Tyrone shot McCoy in her house. Boylan then left the room in order to speak with Cummings. When he returned, he confronted defendant with the discrepancies between her account of the events and Tyrone's. At that time, defendant asked to speak to her brother, and after she was allowed to do so, she stated that she would tell the "truth."

She then stated that on November 12, 1988, she and McCoy had an argument. McCoy was sitting in the driver's seat of his car which was parked in the garage. During the argument, she removed the gun from her bathrobe pocket and shot McCoy in the back of the head. Tyrone then removed McCoy's wallet from his pocket, and the two rolled McCoy over the seat into the back of the car, where Tyrone shot him twice in the forehead. Tyrone then wiped off the gun and dropped it on the floor next to McCoy. He then drove McCoy's car to 88th and Cornell, left the keys in the ignition, and locked the car. Tyrone joined defendant in her car, and the two went to the McDonald's restaurant at 87th and Blackstone where Tyrone discarded McCoy's wallet.

After defendant told him what happened, Boylan spoke to Assistant State's Attorney Anna Demacopoulos, who returned to the interview room with Boylan and again advised defendant of her rights. After defendant repeated her account of the events, she agreed to give a statement, and a court reporter was summoned. Defendant's statement was then taken between 8:55 and 9:10 am. After the statement was transcribed, defendant reviewed and signed it, as did Demacopoulos and Boylan, both of whom testified that defendant never requested an attorney nor indicated that she did not want to speak to them about the events in question.

In her statement to the court reporter, defendant stated that on the afternoon of November 12, 1988, she helped McCoy take a bath and get dressed. During this time, they argued for approximately 30 to 40 minutes about the gas meter. Tyrone then rang the doorbell, and defendant "buzzed" him into the house. After McCoy finished getting dressed, he got in his wheelchair, got his gun which he always carried, and asked for some water. When she returned with a gallon jug of water, she heard McCoy cursing into the phone, and then saw him go into the garage. She then got the gun from her purse, put it in the pocket of her robe, and went to the garage. In the garage, McCoy began cursing at her and calling her names while she helped him into the car. She then gave him the water and began to walk away, but McCoy kept screaming at her and picked up his gun. When she walked back towards the car, he threatened to "start kicking [her] ass" and then "jumped" at her. She became scared and pulled out the gun and shot him once. Tyrone then came in the garage, took the gun, brought her into the house, and told her that he would help her get rid of McCoy. She then went to get dressed while Tyrone pushed McCoy over the car seat and shot him with her gun. They then left in separate cars. Tyrone drove McCoy's car and parked it in the alley at 88th and Stony Island. Tyrone then got in her car, took $1500 from McCoy's wallet, and left the wallet at a McDonald's restaurant.

Elaine O'Neal testified for defendant that on November 12, 1988, at approximately 3:30 p.m., she and defendant left defendant's house to go shopping and did not return until nearly three hours later. McCoy was in the house when she first arrived at 3:15, but left before they did.

O'Neal also testified that on November 17, 1988, she went to defendant's house at 6:40 p.m. with defendant's sister Diane because defendant had called Diane and told her that she was going to the police station to look at some phone numbers. When they arrived, there were no adults in the house to take care of defendant's children. They wanted to see defendant at the police station that night, without success.

Gwendolyn "Diane" Daniels testified that defendant told her on November 17th that she was going to the police station to look over some phone numbers. Defendant declined Diane's offer to accompany her to the station. That night, Diane did not succeed in her efforts to see defendant at the station.

Wilbert Taylor testified that he met McCoy in the alley behind his office between 3:30 and 3:45 p.m. on November 12, 1988, in order to repay a loan. At that time, he saw Willie Ross, an acquaintance of his, shoot McCoy while McCoy was in his car struggling with a uniformed police officer.

In rebuttal, Ronald Howland testified that at approximately 4 p.m. on the date in question, he was at McCoy's house returning a television set that he had repaired. At that time, he saw defendant and a black man in the house.

Shirley Bradley testified that she was working for McCoy on November 12, 1988, and that although she spoke to him that day, she did not see him. She also stated that she left the office at approximately 4:15 p.m. that day, and did not hear any gunshots or see McCoy's car parked in the alley.

After the jury found defendant guilty of first-degree murder, the circuit court sentenced her to 80 years' imprisonment. Defendant appealed. *fn1

I

Defendant first contends that the circuit court erroneously denied her motion to suppress. She maintains that the court wrongly concluded that she voluntarily accompanied the police to the station on November 17, 1988. She also asserts that regardless of the propriety of the court's determination, any consent which she did give was invalid because it was procured by means of "fraud and ruse." She therefore concludes that any statements which were made while she was at the police station should have been suppressed as the fruit of the prolonged detention and coercion. Finally, she argues that she was illegally arrested because the statement she made that Tyrone had told her that he had the gun and shot McCoy did not provide probable cause for her arrest.

Prior to trial, defendant moved to quash her arrest and suppress statements on grounds that she was illegally arrested in her home without a warrant and that she was denied access to her attorney. At the hearing on the motion, the State presented evidence that the police went to defendant's home on November 17, 1988, in order to ask her about the gun and about numerous phone calls that were made to the house from various lines. They did so because they believed that McCoy knew his killer because defendant had previously told them that shortly before McCoy was killed, he received a phone call at home and seemed very upset. The police did not obtain a warrant to enter the house because defendant was not a suspect at that time.

The police were met at the door by an adult woman who instructed them to wait in the dining room. A few minutes later, defendant appeared and began answering their questions. After spending approximately 20 minutes trying to identify the phone numbers, defendant agreed to go to the police station in order to check the unpublished telephone numbers. Two other adults and two children were in the house, and defendant never indicated any concerns about leaving her children. Defendant was not under arrest and was not handcuffed at any time.

Upon arriving at the police station at approximately 5:15 p.m., defendant was given a large list of phone numbers and asked if she could identify them. She was not searched, fingerprinted, or photographed at that time, and was given free reign of the station and access to the telephones. Later, defendant was brought to an interview room and questioned for approximately one-half hour regarding weapons in the house. The door was always open and defendant was "free to come and go." Based on her statement that her brother Anthony had stolen the gun from her, Anthony was brought to the police station, but was released after a polygraph examination revealed that he had no knowledge of McCoy's murder.

At 11:40 p.m., defendant was advised of her Miranda rights and given a polygraph exam, which lasted approximately two-and-a-half hours. After learning that she had failed the exam, defendant told the polygraph examiner that her other brother had told her that he had the gun and had shot McCoy. After she was advised of her rights, she repeated her statement to the detectives.

Defendant then directed the police to Tyrone's home and accompanied them as they went to arrest him at approximately 3:30 a.m. At the station, defendant was again advised of her rights, and then questioned for approximately one hour. At 5:30 a.m., Assistant State's Attorney Anna Demacopoulos advised defendant of her rights and interviewed her for approximately 20 minutes. Defendant then agreed to give a statement. At 8:30 a.m., a court reporter arrived and Demacopoulos took her statement, which Detective Boylan signed as a witness.

Defendant testified that following McCoy's killing, police would come to her home every day for approximately 20-30 minutes and speak with her about the investigation. On November 14, 1988, Edward Vrdolyak, an attorney and longtime friend, came to her home and offered to help. Based on that statement, she considered him to be her attorney.

On November 17, 1988, at approximately 4:30 p.m., some police officers arrived at her house and told her to come to the police station to "go over some phone calls." As they arrived, her friend Henrietta was leaving. No other adults were present at that time. The only other people in the house were her 12-year-old daughter and her niece and nephew, aged three and four. The police refused to allow her to wait until her mother came to the house and instructed her not to make any phone calls. However, she was able to call her sister and tell her to come over and watch the children without the knowledge of the police.

Upon arriving at the police station at approximately 5:30 p.m., the officers placed her in a small room, closed the door, and began questioning her for approximately two hours about a .25 caliber gun. She was not allowed to use the phone despite her numerous requests to call both Vrdolyak and her sister. The officers questioned her about Bailey, and told her that unless she admitted they were lovers and that he killed McCoy, she would go to jail because she owned the gun. She then admitted purchasing the gun from him, but stated that it had been stolen. She then told them that her brother Anthony had stolen it from her and then told them where he lived. Two officers then left the interview room. Later that evening, she was taken to another room in the police station where Anthony was being questioned. She noticed that he was bleeding from the corner of his mouth, his face was swollen, and he was crying. He asked her why she told the police he had stolen the gun and shot McCoy. She responded that she did not tell them that, and was escorted back to her interview room.

Around midnight, the officers told her that she would have to take a lie detector test before she could go home. She agreed and was taken to the polygraph examiner, arriving at approximately 1 a.m. The examiner told her that she could go home if she would admit to being lovers with Bobby Champole, one of McCoy's business associates, who had failed the test three times. She refused and was "strapped" into the machine. When the examiner told her that McCoy's spirit was in the room, she became frightened, began crying, and asked to call Vrdolyak.

After approximately two hours of questioning, one of the officers asked her if she had a brother Tyrone. When she responded that she did, but did not know where he lived, the officer brought her back to the police station. After questioning her about Tyrone, the officers told her that she could go home if she agreed to take them to Tyrone's house. After she showed them where Tyrone lived, she was brought back to the police station, and questioned again.

Later, after she was told that Tyrone had said that he shot McCoy, she was taken to see him. He had been beaten and his arms were handcuffed and attached to a hook on the wall. The officers removed the handcuffs and then she asked Tyrone to cooperate and "sign the papers" so that they could go home. Tyrone refused. She was then taken back to the interview room.

Approximately two hours later, at 8 a.m., she agreed to "go along" with the police because she was no longer able to resist and wanted to go home. She then spoke with a woman attorney, not realizing that she was an assistant state's attorney. She gave a statement which was taken by a court reporter, and then signed it without first reading it because she did not have her eye glasses.

Henrietta Leak testified that she answered the door when the officers came to defendant's house on November 17th. The officers were going over some telephone records with defendant as she was leaving. No other adults were in the house at the time.

Demacopoulos testified in rebuttal that defendant never requested a lawyer or stated that she wanted to see Ed Vrdolyak or anyone from her family.

Defendant's motion to suppress was denied. The circuit court expressly found that she was not arrested or seized in her home, but instead voluntarily accompanied the officers to the police station. The court also found that probable cause existed after defendant spoke with the polygraph operator and admitted knowledge of the murder. Finally, the court found "incredible" defendant's testimony that the assistant state's attorney purported to be her attorney, and stated that no credible evidence existed that her will was overborne or that she had invoked her right to counsel.

A

A reviewing court will not disturb the circuit court's ruling on a motion to suppress unless that finding is manifestly erroneous. ( People v. Melock (1992), 149 Ill. 2d 423, 432, 599 N.E.2d 941, 944, 174 Ill. Dec. 857.) Reversal is thus mandated only if the court's ruling is against the manifest weight of the evidence. ( People v. Ferguson (1992), 238 Ill. App. 3d 448, 454, 603 N.E.2d 1257, 1261, 177 Ill. Dec. 883.) It is the function of the circuit court to weigh the evidence, determine the credibility of the witnesses, and to resolve any conflict in their testimony. People v. Redd (1990), 135 Ill. 2d 252, 268, 553 N.E.2d 316, 322, 142 Ill. Dec. 802.

The officers' testimony in this case supported the State's assertion that defendant voluntarily accompanied the officers to the station. Although defendant's testimony directly contradicted that assertion, the circuit court expressly stated that her testimony was not credible and found that she went to the police station voluntarily. Because there were sufficient bases for that determination, we affirm the circuit ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.