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08/04/97 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. RICKEY HALL

August 4, 1997

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RICKEY HALL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Richard E. Neville, Judge Presiding.

Rehearing Denied September 5, 1997. Released for Publication September 11, 1997.

The Honorable Justice O'brien delivered the opinion of the court. Buckley, J., and Gallagher, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: O'brien

The Honorable Justice O'BRIEN delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a bench trial, defendant, Rickey Hall, was found guilty of second-degree murder and aggravated battery while using a deadly weapon. The court sentenced defendant to concurrent terms of 15 years' imprisonment for second-degree murder and 5 years' imprisonment for aggravated battery. Defendant appeals, contending: (1) the trial court erred by convicting him of a crime not charged in the indictment; (2) he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (3) the trial court erred by admitting hearsay evidence; and (4) his 15-year sentence was excessive. We affirm.

At trial, Eugene Chaney testified that the deceased was his eight-year-old son, Lazaric Eggleston, whom he last saw alive about 8 p.m. on October 1, 1993. The parties stipulated that Doctor Lifschultz would testify he performed an autopsy on Lazaric Eggleston on October 2, 1993, and found that Lazaric died as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Erma Shields testified that on the evening of October 1, 1993, Kenny Eggleston (hereinafter Eggleston) drove her, Leslie Dean, and Lazaric Eggleston to Joey's Food and Liquor. After Eggleston parked the car in the parking lot, defendant approached the driver's side window and told Eggleston that he had made his (defendant's) daughter bump her head. Eggleston exited the car and apologized to defendant. Defendant stated two more times that Eggleston had made his daughter bump her head, and then defendant reached in his pants and pulled out a gun.

Shields testified that after defendant pulled out the gun, "the driver's side window shattered" and she was sprayed with glass. Shields jumped out of the car and saw defendant walking toward the rear of the car. Thinking that Eggleston had been shot, Shields ran to the driver's side to look for Eggleston on the ground. Eggleston was not there, and Shields then ran back to the passenger side and told Lazaric to get out of the car. When Lazaric failed to respond, she picked him up and noticed blood on his back. As she exited the car with Lazaric, a police officer took him out of her arms.

Shields testified that on November 4, an officer showed her some color photographs from which she identified defendant. Later that evening, Shields viewed a line-up from which she selected defendant. On cross-examination, Shields testified she first viewed a photo array of black and white photos, but she was unable to identify defendant therein because the photographs were too dark. On redirect examination, Shields testified she could not identify defendant from the black and white photographs because of their poor quality, but she reiterated that she had no trouble identifying defendant from the color photographs or in the line-up.

Leslie Dean's testimony was substantially similar to that of Shields regarding how defendant approached Kenny Eggleston's car in the parking lot of the liquor store. Dean testified that after defendant told Eggleston he had made defendant's daughter bump her head, "the glass shattered" and then she got out of the car and ran. Dean later returned to the scene and saw Lazaric face-down on the ground. Dean subsequently identified defendant on November 4, 1993, from some color photographs and in a line-up. On cross-examination, Dean testified that police officers never asked her to look at black and white photographs. On redirect examination, Dean testified she viewed some photographs other than the color photographs, but she was unable to recognize anyone in those photographs because they were not "clear."

Kenny Eggleston testified consistently with Shields and Dean about how he drove to the liquor store and was approached by defendant, who stated that Eggleston had made defendant's daughter bump her head. Eggleston further testified that after he exited the car, defendant hit him on the right side of the face with a gun and the gun went off. Eggleston ran away, but later returned to the scene and saw many police there.

Eggleston testified that on November 4, 1993, he identified defendant from some color photographs and in a line-up. On cross-examination, Eggleston testified he had never been asked to identify defendant from any individual black and white photographs. On redirect examination, Eggleston testified that officers showed him some black and white photographs prior to the color photographs, but he could not identify defendant from the black and white photographs because they were blurry.

Detective Victor Gutierrez testified that on November 3, 1993, he received a phone call from an anonymous person who stated she had on television seen a police sketch of the person wanted for the Lazaric Eggleston murder. The caller told Gutierrez that defendant was the person in the sketch.

Gutierrez testified he recovered a photograph of defendant and placed it in a photo spread along with photographs of five other persons. Gutierrez showed the photo spread to Shields, Eggleston, and Dean, but they could not identify defendant because the photographs were of bad quality. On November 4, 1993, Gutierrez separately showed Shields, Eggleston, and Dean a photo array containing a color photograph of defendant, and they all identified defendant. Shields, Eggleston, and Dean later identified defendant in a line-up.

The trial court found defendant committed first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(3) (West 1994)) (felony murder), but also found sufficient mitigating evidence to reduce defendant's conviction to second-degree murder. The court further convicted defendant of aggravated battery while using a deadly weapon and sentenced him to 15 years' imprisonment for second-degree ...


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