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02/19/98 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. KAREEM JETT

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
KAREEM JETT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County. No. 93-CF-1595 Honorable Edward C. Ferguson, Judge, presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Chapman

Fifteen-year-old Kareem Jett was tried before a jury on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder, home invasion, and armed robbery. One of the most incriminating pieces of evidence against defendant was the statement he made shortly after his arrest. Defendant was convicted and was sentenced to a 50-year prison term for the murder of 87-year-old Irwin Dollinger, a consecutive 25-year prison term for the attempted murder of Bernice Boda, and two concurrent 10-year prison terms for armed robbery and home invasion.

On his appeal defendant raises the following issues: (1) whether the court erred in denying his motion to suppress, (2) whether he is entitled to a new sentencing hearing, and (3) whether his sentence should be reduced. We affirm.

At trial, 68-year-old Bernice Boda testified that on October 7, 1993, she went to the senior citizens' center with her friend Irwin Dollinger, who was 87 years old. Around 10 o'clock that evening they went back to her house. As they were entering, two young males forced their way into the house. Boda took the telephone off the hook to try to call for help. One of the young men took the telephone and struck her in the head with it. The other young man beat Dollinger. Boda was knocked down, was kicked in the ribs, and was attacked with a knife. Her attacker tried to cut her throat. Boda lost consciousness, but when she regained consciousness, she was able to reach the telephone and call an operator. Boda could not identify her attackers. She had to have four surgeries to correct her many injuries.

Boda testified that Dollinger told the offenders: "Please don't hurt us. We're old people. You can take anything we've got, but don't hurt us." The offender who had attacked Dollinger responded by hitting him in the stomach and knocking the air out of him. Meanwhile, Boda fell to the ground, and the other offender kicked her hard in the ribs. At some point, one of the offenders broke a vase over her head.

Boda testified that one of the offenders pulled out a steak knife and tried to cut her throat. Boda tried to kick him in the groin, and he said, "You're a spunky old bitch." He then cut her throat and she lost consciousness. Dollinger's throat was cut as well. The offenders then took Boda's purse and Dollinger's wallet and car keys. They drove away in Dollinger's car.

Neurosurgeon Mark Eichler testified that Bernice Boda had open cuts to her head, as well as the cut throat. She had multiple facial fractures, including a fracture of the maxillary sinus and orbital blowout fractures. In addition, she had numerous injuries below the neck, including fractured ribs. Her most serious injury was a subdural hematoma, or bleeding on the brain, which caused damage to brain tissue. As a result of her injuries, Boda had major surgery four different times. Even after surgery, she suffered from mental confusion, severe headaches, and a lack of strength.

Pathologist Charles Short performed the autopsy on Irwin Dollinger. His examination revealed blows that were consistent with having been administered with a cylindrical object or a piece of concrete. Dollinger suffered swollen eyes, a cut ear, a broken sternum, a large neck wound, seven cuts on the scalp, and a fractured skull. The cause of death was blunt trauma to the head.

In defendant's second videotaped statement made to the police after his arrest, he admitted that he hit Dollinger on the head with a brick. Also, in that statement defendant admitted to having possession of a pole used to beat Dollinger. Both defendant's statement and his codefendant's statement describe that it was defendant's accomplice who cut Boda's throat. Thus, the evidence suggests that defendant fatally injured Dollinger while his accomplice was attacking Boda. The evidence also indicates that defendant injured both victims while he was in the house. A shoeprint from defendant's shoe was found on Boda's slacks. At sentencing, defendant admitted to helping to both beat Dollinger and stomp Boda.

Turning to defendant's first issue, the denial of his motion to suppress, we note that defendant makes several arguments. First, defendant argues that reasonable efforts were not made to contact his parents after he was arrested. Defendant contends that given this violation of section 5-6 of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (705 ILCS 405/5-6 (West 1996)), his statement must be suppressed.

Under section 5-6(2), a law enforcement officer who takes into custody a minor who he believes is delinquent "shall *** immediately make a reasonable attempt to notify the parent or other person legally responsible for the minor's care ***." 705 ILCS 405/5-6(2). Although a violation of section 5-6 of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 is a factor in determining whether the defendant's statement should be suppressed, a failure to comply with this section does not require the exclusion of the minor's statement. People v. Denton, 256 Ill. App. 3d 403, 405, 628 N.E.2d 900, 902 (1993); People v. Pace, 225 Ill. App. 3d 415, 429, 587 N.E.2d 1257, 1267 (1992).

In this case, the police detectives arrested defendant at his high school at approximately 1:30 p.m. The police informed the high school principal that defendant was coming with them. The principal told the detectives that he would notify defendant's parents. The principal testified that he did in fact contact defendant's mother's place of employment, but she was not there. He testified that he left a message at her work that he needed her to return his call about something that was important regarding defendant. His call was not returned.

Officer David Bradford testified that he was one of the officers who arrested defendant at the high school, transported him back to the police station, and interviewed him. Officer Bradford is an investigating officer as well as a juvenile officer. He testified that defendant was given pizza and soda to eat. He testified that defendant was repeatedly informed of his rights and that those rights were explained to him. Defendant was also repeatedly asked if he wanted counsel or if he wanted to speak with his parents. Bradford testified that defendant adamantly refused the offer and said that he especially did not want to speak with his mother. Bradford testified that during this time, attempts were being made to contact defendant's parents. Bradford testified that he learned that State agent Manis finally contacted defendant's mother at 7 p.m.

State Police Agent Brian Latham testified that he was present during defendant's questioning, and at no time did defendant ask to see ...


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