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11/25/96 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. WILLIE LOVE

November 25, 1996

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
WILLIE LOVE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE JAMES SCHREIER, JUDGE PRESIDING.

Rehearing Denied January 22, 1997. Released for Publication January 29, 1997.

The Honorable Justice Wolfson delivered the opinion of the court: Buckley, J., concurs. Braden J., specially concurs.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson

JUSTICE WOLFSON delivered the opinion of the court:

The defendant, Willie Love, was tried and convicted of first degree murder. He was given a 50-year-sentence. Love claims errors occurred during trial and because of them he is entitled to a new trial.

He contends:

1. The prosecutor's comment during rebuttal argument improperly expressed her opinion of his guilt;

2. The defendant's counsel was ineffective;

3. The State improperly failed to reveal all pending charges against one of its witnesses.

For reasons that follow, we affirm the defendant's conviction and sentence.

FACTS

The defendant, Willie Love (Love), was tried and convicted of the murder of Alberto Rivera (Rivera).

Rivera was killed October 10, 1992.

Horace Harrington (Harrington) testified for the State.

Harrington was a member of the Conservative Vice Lords. Love was a high ranking member of that gang. Harrington knew who Love was and was able to identify him in court.

On October 10, 1992, Harrington went to a vacant lot near his home to buy drugs. The lot was near the corner of Ohio and Hamlin streets in Chicago.

That day, Love ran a drug business out of the lot. Love was not directly involved in selling the drugs.

When Harrington got to that lot that day, the sellers had temporarily run out of heroin. A line had formed. Harrington got in line. He was a few people behind Rivera. Harrington had seen Rivera other times when he went to buy drugs.

While Harrington waited in line, Love came in from a near-by alley. Love walked over to the person selling drugs, Sherman Strickland (Strickland). After they talked, Love left. When Love came back, he got into line. He stood a few feet behind Rivera. Love asked Rivera, "What the fuck up with you?" This is all Love said to Rivera. Rivera did not say anything to Love. Love walked towards Rivera.

Harrington noticed that Rivera was kind of high. Rivera had his head down and he put his hand into his pocket. He got out some money. Harrington said the money was "what he was going to buy with," but did not say how he knew that.

Love had a silver gun with a black handle. Love took his right arm and brought it around, like a pinwheel. When his arm was parallel to the ground, Love pulled the trigger.

Rivera fell to his knees, then on his face. Everybody scattered.

Harrington went to a nearby store and called someone from a phone outside. Harrington saw Love get into Love's black and red Blazer and leave. Love drove down Ohio toward Avers and straight down Pulaski. There was someone else in the truck. Harrington heard four shots come from the truck. He did not see who did the shooting.

Harrington used heroin every day. He had not used it for a few days before trial because he had been in police custody for failure to appear as a witness. Harrington had not appeared on his own because his family was afraid.

Terry Williams (Williams) testified for the State.

Williams admitted that he was previously convicted of theft, burglary, and delivery of a controlled substance. He told the jury he had been to the penitentiary twice and was now in jail again.

He said that he had a "sell of a controlled substance" case that had been pending since sometime in 1992. It had not yet gone to trial. Williams admitted that he did not want to go to jail again. He said his testimony at Love's trial would not help the disposition of his own case.

Williams knew Love. Williams also was a member of the Conservative Vice Lords.

Williams sold drugs for Love's brother. Love dropped off "packs" and collected money for the operation.

On October 10, 1992, Williams worked security for the drug operation at the vacant lot. He stood at a corner near the place where the drugs were being sold. He watched for police.

The first time Williams saw Love that day, Love was driving around with someone named "Annie Miller." He was driving a red Blazer with dark tinted windows. Love parked his car.

There was a commotion in the lot. Love left. He drove off and then came back around. He parked the Blazer and left it. Love walked toward the lot and up to Rivera.

Love left the lot again. Love got into the Blazer and drove off. When Love came back, he jumped out of the Blazer with a gun. He went towards Rivera. Rivera began to argue that he shopped there ...


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