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June 28, 1995


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Daniel J. Kelley, Judge Presiding.

The Honorable Justice Cerda delivered the opinion of the court: Greiman, P.j., And Tully, J., Concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cerda

JUSTICE CERDA delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a jury trial, defendant, Joe Champs, was found guilty of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(3))(West 1992)) and two counts of armed robbery (720 ILCS 5/18-2-A) (West 1992)). He was sentenced to an extended-term sentence of 90 years' imprisonment on the basis that the crime was exceptionally brutal and heinous. Concurrent sentences of 30 years' imprisonment were imposed on each of the armed robbery convictions.

On appeal, defendant asserts that (1) the trial court erred in failing to find a prima facie case of racial discrimination in the State's use of peremptory challenges; (2) the trial court erred in refusing his request that a mugs hot photo array be cropped before publication to the jury; and (3) his sentence was excessive because the murder was not exceptionally brutal or heinous nor indicative of wanton cruelty. Based on the following reasons, we reverse and remand.

On October 16, 1990, Andre Eagle, Timothy Jones, Keith Kalley, David Redmond, Lorenzo Shelton, and Joseph Dobine were sitting on a porch at 6242 S. Honore Street in Chicago. Several of the men were drinking and at least one was selling drugs.

Timothy Jones and David Redmond testified that a car went by the house twice around 11:30 p.m. Another man, Damion Jones, who is Timothy Jones's nephew, testified that he was standing a block away when he noticed a loud two-toned beige car circle the block twice. Damion watched as the car parked in an alley four or five houses away. A tall man and two shorter men got out of the car and walked down the alley.

According to Timothy Jones and Redmond, three men came out of the alley toward the porch. One of the men, who was wearing a long leather coat and was later identified as defendant, asked who was selling drugs and announced a stickup. After Timothy Jones stated that he was selling drugs, defendant put a gun described as a machine gun or Uzi to his head and told him that he would be the first to die. Defendant and the second man ordered the victims to lie on the porch on their stomachs, searched them, and took wallets from the victims and a ring from Redmond. Defendant threatened to kill Redmond and eventually hit him in the head with the gun. The second man grabbed Shelton and put a gun to his head asking "where the stuff at?" and then took him to a building across the alley. The third man acted as a lookout.

According to Redmond, the second man and Shelton returned while Lament Harris was still across the street. One of the short men saw Harris and told him to come across the street or he was going to shoot Shelton. Harris obeyed. The men then ordered all the victims into the alley and onto their knees with their hands behind their heads. Defendant told them that they were all going to get a head shot. Dobine pushed defendant and allthe victims ran. As Redmond was running, he heard shots.

On October 23, 1991, the police came to Redmond's house and showed him several photographs. He identified defendant from the photo array and picked him from a lineup on January 31, 1991.

According to Timothy Jones, when Shelton returned from trying to get into the building across the alley, Harris was with him. They stood in the alley as the second man walked up the porch stairs. Defendant told him to give each of the victims a head shot. At that point, Dobine jumped up and pushed the second man. His gun went off and all the victims ran separate ways.

Four days later on October 20, 1991, Jones looked through mugshot books at the police station. After he identified defendant's picture in the book, a police officer showed him several loose photos. Jones made a positive identification of defendant from the photo array and later identified him from a lineup.

Lament Harris, who lived across the street, noticed his friends on the porch at 6242 S. Honore Street. As he started to go over to see them, defendant turned toward him and told him that he would shoot him or his friend Shelton if he tried to run. Defendant held the gun to Shelton's head and ordered Harris to come across the street. When Harris crossed the street and walked toward the alley, defendant approached him and led Shelton and Harris into the alley next to the house. All the other victims were lying on the porch. Defendant asked Harris where he got his shoes. After Harris responded that his aunt had bought them for him, defendant hit him on the head with the gun.

According to Harris, defendant ordered him and Shelton onto their knees and the other victims were told to go into the alley and get on their knees. Defendant told the victims that he was going to shoot each of them in the head with a single shot. While the other victims were still on the porch, someone pushed defendant and all the victims ran. Harris heard several gunshots. On January 23, 1991, Harris identified defendant from a lineup.

When the shooting stopped, Eagle was dead. He had been shot twice, once in the neck and once in the back. Eventually, defendant ...

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