Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable James P. Flannery, Judge Presiding.
As Corrected July 6, 1995.
The Honorable Justice Hartman delivered the opinion of the court: Scariano, P.j., and DiVITO, J., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hartman
JUSTICE HARTMAN delivered the opinion of the court:
Following a jury trial, defendant Matthew Hall was convicted of aggravated battery of a child. He appeals from that conviction, questioning whether (1) he was proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of aggravated battery of a child; and (2) his sentence was excessive. For reasons which follow, we affirm.
At trial, Shirley Porter testified that, at approximately 4:30 p.m. on September 11, 1992, she was walking near the corner of Kilbourn and Wilcox in Chicago with three of her sons and noticed defendant, who lived in the neighborhood, sitting on a car. Two of Porter's sons were in front of her, and Jonathan, who was two years old, lagged behind as he stopped to open a candy wrapper. At this time, Porter heard a car speeding behind her and then heard sounds like firecrackers going off. The sounds were not unusual. She then heard someone shout "I been shot, I been shot." Porter turned around and saw Jonathan lying against a building with a wound to his head and blood running down his face. At a hospital, an operation was performed on Jonathan's head. He subsequently stayed at a rehabilitation center for several weeks, continued with outpatient therapy for four weeks, and then returned for surgery to remove a bullet from his leg. Jonathan was still undergoing speech therapy.
Oliver Conic, who was 13 years old at the time of trial, testified that he was leaving the grocery store at Kilbourn and Wilcox around the time of the shooting and saw defendant, who he knew, and two others near a car. He also recognized Porter and Jonathan walking on the sidewalk. A black car then stopped in front of the car that defendant was working on, and the person inside the black car started shooting in defendant's direction. Defendant then ran 10 to 12 feet towards Jonathan, who was on the sidewalk, picked him up and held Jonathan's body so that the infant's body shielded defendant's face and chest as the shots were being fired. Defendant then laid Jonathan against the building and ran around the corner.
The State then introduced the testimony of Darlene Rich, which corroborated Conic's testimony and which defendant does not contest.
Dr. Terry Lichtor, a neurosurgeon, testified that he operated on Jonathan on September 11, 1992. Jonathan was in a deep coma when he was brought into the hospital. The bullet wounded the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls personality, some parts of speech and motor skills, and intelligence. He believed that the injuries could have permanent effects on Jonathan.
The parties stipulated that on September 11, 1992, defendant was over 18 years of age. The State rested. The circuit court denied defendant's motion for a directed verdict.
Detective Louis Trifilio testified for the defense. He was assigned to the investigation of this shooting on September 11, 1992. When he first saw defendant around 8 p.m. at the police station, defendant was not under arrest, but was held overnight. At approximately 1:00 a.m., he was charged with a misdemeanor. On September 12, 1992, Detective Trifilio spoke with Oliver Conic, who told him that defendant picked up Jonathan for protection during the shooting and ran with him. At approximately 5:00 p.m., after Detective Trifilio had spoken with Conic and Darlene Rich, defendant was charged with a felony.
Following closing arguments, the jury found defendant guilty of aggravated battery of a child. On November 5, 1993, the circuit court sentenced defendant to 10 years in custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections. Defendant timely filed a notice of appeal.
Defendant's first contention is that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of aggravated battery of a child and makes two separate ...