APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE VINCENT GAUGHAN, JUDGE PRESIDING.
Released for Publication October 22, 1996.
The Honorable Justice Wolfson delivered the opinion of the court: Campbell, P.j. and Braden, J., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson
JUSTICE WOLFSON delivered the opinion of the court:
During jury selection in this murder and armed robbery case the prosecutors made a shambles of Supreme Court Rule 234. They indoctrinated, preeducated, conditioned, and pretried.
After both sides rested, the State's final argument contained improper references to the victim's surviving family.
Joseph Mapp (Mapp) was convicted by the jury and sentenced to 55 years for murder and 25 years for armed robbery, the sentences to be served concurrently.
Despite our misgivings about the way the jury was selected and about the State's final argument, our review of the evidence persuades us that the convictions should be affirmed.
Joseph Mapp was arrested the day after Larry Shelton (Shelton) was killed. After Mapp was arrested, he made a statement. The statement was read to the jury. According to the statement, a few nights before August 12, Mapp, Joseph Martin (Martin), and Joseph Richardson (Richardson) were riding around in Mapp's mother's Isuzu Rodeo. Martin said Shelton owed him money. The three came up with a plan to get the money back. They decided to point a gun at Shelton and ask for it, thinking Shelton would not refuse. Mapp suggested they use masks to hide their identities.
When Mapp picked up Martin to drive around in the Rodeo on August 11, 1993, Martin had a Tech 9 gun with him. When they saw Shelton in his van, they decided to carry out their plan. Martin gave Mapp the Tech 9. Mapp saw that the gun was loaded. They put on their masks. Mapp borrowed Richardson's jacket to hide his hair. Mapp and Martin left the truck.
Mapp and Martin approached Shelton, who was walking with his family, from different sides. Martin shot Shelton. Shelton dropped everything he was carrying. Mapp approached Shelton with the Tech 9 and picked up two key chains Shelton had dropped. He shoved Shelton in the back. Martin shot Shelton again. Mapp stepped back to avoid being shot himself. Martin fired several more shots. Then Mapp and Martin ran off. As they did, they threw away their masks and jackets. Richardson saw them and picked them up in the Rodeo. Mapp and Martin suggested that the guns be wiped to destroy fingerprints. Richardson agreed to do this. Mapp went to his girl friend's house. That was the statement.
An assistant State's Attorney testified he read the entire statement to Mapp. Mapp signed the statement and initialled corrections. Mapp can read and has completed four years of high school.
Shelton's daughters, Robin and LaDonna, and his fiancee, Stephanie Turnbull (Turnbull), testified for the State as eyewitnesses. They described what happened early in the morning of August 12, 1993. At that time, they, Shelton, and two other children returned home from an evening outing. Turnbull was carrying her and Shelton's two-month-old son. They lived at 3500 S. Lake Park in Chicago, Illinois. They parked on the street in front of the building. Everyone but Turnbull walked to the building. Turnbull stayed at the van to lock it, then followed the others.
Two men approached Shelton. The men carried guns. They wore masks. Although Ladonna knew Martin and Mapp, she could not identify them because of the masks. One man had a silver gun, the other a black gun. Later testimony showed Martin had the silver gun and Mapp had the black gun.
The eyewitnesses' description of the incident was similar to Mapp's. In addition, Robin said the first shot hit her in the ankle. The children then ran to the building. They heard four to five more shots.
LaDonna had seen Martin, Mapp, and Richardson in the parking lot just before the incident. She saw Martin and Mapp head toward her building. She saw a blue Isuzu Rodeo truck the three often used.
Turnbull said as the man with the silver gun started shooting, the man with the black gun shoved Shelton, searched his pockets, and grabbed a chain from around his neck. The man with the black gun pointed it at Turnbull and the baby. The two then ran past her, taking off their masks.
When the black gun was later found, no bullets had been fired. Only one mask was found.
Shelton died from multiple gunshot wounds. All the shots came from Martin's gun.
At trial, Mapp testified in his own defense. He said he did not plan to rob anyone. He cooperated with the police because he believed if he implicated Martin, they would return his mother's truck and let him go. He claimed the assistant State's Attorney had not read him the entire summary and he did not read it himself. He had the opportunity to read it. Mapp specifically denied hearing any sentence that implicated him as an accomplice. He admitted to hearing the attorney read every sentence that did not implicate him.
Mapp testified that on the night of the shooting, he, Martin, and Richardson set out to find a couple of girls Mapp knew at 3500 S. Lake Park. Richardson left them there and took the Rodeo to get his own girl friend. As Mapp and Martin walked towards the building, Martin produced a gun. He asked Mapp to hold it for a second. Mapp did not know Martin had a gun or why he had a gun. Martin put on a mask and ran up to Shelton. Mapp followed to tell Martin to stop. Martin fired his gun and Shelton dropped his keys. Mapp picked up the keys to give them to Shelton. Martin continued to shoot Shelton. Mapp got out of the way because he could not stop Martin.
Mapp then ran off. Martin followed him. Mapp threw away the gun and the keys. He took off his jacket when Martin told him to.
When Mapp was taken into custody the next day, he told the police he didn't know about any killing. Mapp said he told the police this because he did not know Shelton was dead. At one point he said the police did not beat him. Later Mapp said one detective slapped him a couple of times. Mapp claimed the assistant State's Attorney told him if he gave a statement, he could go.
During rebuttal, the State's witnesses said no one made any promises in exchange for the statement. The assistant State's Attorney did not skip the sentences that incriminated Mapp. No one hit Mapp.
The jury learned during the trial that Martin was killed shortly after the incident. The circumstances of his death are not in the record.
The jury found Mapp guilty of murder and armed robbery.
(1) Prosecution questions during jury selection
The shooter was dead. No witness said Mapp pulled the trigger. His conviction would have to be based on a theory of accountability. The prosecutors apparently were concerned that the jury would disregard the evidence and the law. There can be no other explanation for the questions they asked during jury selection.
Out of a total of 33 jurors interviewed during voir dire, the State asked 15 potential jurors about their views of accountability and felony murder principles. Eight served as jurors and one served as an alternate.
The State said to the first venireperson: "We're going to be talking about something called felony murder here. It's where somebody, in this case we believe the defendant, and others got together to commit a crime. And during the course of that crime a man was killed. Will you follow the law which talks about criminal responsibility for an individual where he is not necessarily the person who pulls the trigger?" Mapp did not object to this question. The venireperson served as a juror.
The State asked the next venireperson: "Do you have any problem with the law of criminal responsibility and one for the actions of another when you're part of that agreement?" Mapp's objection was overruled. The venireperson served as a juror.
The State asked another venireperson: "Do you have any problem with the law of criminal responsibility which talks about being responsible for the actions of another when you're part of the plan?" Mapp objected to the question. The court overruled. The venireperson asked to hear the question again. The State replied, "Do you have any problem with following the law of criminal responsibility?" The venireperson served as a juror.
The State asked another venireperson: "Do you have any problem with any of the things we have been talking about, about the law of criminal responsibility?" The ...