Appeal from Circuit Court of McLean County. No. 92CF1062. Honorable Ronald C. Dozier, Judge Presiding.
As Corrected December 6, 1995.
Honorable James A. Knecht, P.j., Honorable Frederick S. Green, J., Honorable Robert J. Steigmann, J., Concurring
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Knecht
PRESIDING JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the opinion of the court:
After a McLean County jury trial, defendant Michael Shea Carlos was convicted on eight counts of first degree murder, a violation of section 9-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (720 ILCS 5/9-1 (West 1992)). The trial court sentenced him to natural life imprisonment. Defendant now appeals, asserting he is entitled to a new trial because the trial court erred by allowing into evidence a videotape showing prior inconsistent statements by a defense witness. We affirm.
Defendant was charged with the shooting deaths of Terry Williams and Jerome McDonald, which occurred outside the Third Ward Club (Club) in Bloomington, Illinois, late in the evening of December19, 1992. At trial, during the State's case in chief, the State called Marion Carr to the stand. He was a cousin of both defendant and the victim McDonald. Carr testified he drove to the Club that evening, sat in a car in the parking lot, and drank. He heard gunshots, but did not see from where the shots came. He also did not see anyone with a gun and did not see anyone shoot anyone else.
The State then attempted to impeach Carr's testimony. Carr admitted a videotape was made without his knowledge of a conversation he had the day after the shooting with Spanky Ledbetter in the basement of a house. When the prosecuting attorney began to question Carr about his statements on the tape, he replied:
"I didn't know [the conversation] was getting taped. Now, everything I said, I wasn't under oath when I said it so, I was told you on my statement that was the truth was on that videotape I was putting everything together what I heard from everyone else."
In answers to most of the questions by the prosecuting attorney regarding his statements in the videotape, he replied he could not remember what he had said in the videotape.
The State requested to show the videotape to the jury to impeach Carr's testimony. Defense counsel objected, arguing the tape was inadmissible as a prior inconsistent statement because Carr already admitted he made the statements on the tape. The trial court overruled the objection, declaring the videotaped statements were admissible under section 115-10.1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Code) (725 ILCS 5/115-10.1 (West 1992)).
The videotape shows Carr talking with Ledbetter in the basement of a house. Carr describes the shooting in detail. Carr explains McDonald was in an argument with a girl named Jackie. Apparently, defendant decided to forcefully intervene. Carr tried to dissuade defendant from using a gun by telling him a gun was not necessary. He also told defendant not to shoot their cousin. However, defendant said he had some business to take care of and shot McDonald. Defendant then turned and shot Williams. Throughout his narration, Carr consistently used the first person singular. At no point did he say the events he was describing were told to him by someone else. At one point, he even disputes a description of the event given to Ledbetter by another eyewitness, telling Ledbetter his version was correct because he was there and he saw the shooting happen.
Section 115-10.1 of the Code states:
"In all criminal cases, evidence of a statement made by a witness is not made ...