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People v. Patrick

July 07, 1998


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Tully

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Thomas Hett, Judge Presiding.

JUSTICE TULLY delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant, Deon Patrick, was charged by indictment with eight counts of first degree murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 9-1 (now 720 ILCS 5/9-1 (West 1996))), two counts of home invasion (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 12-11-A (now 720 ILCS 5/12-11(a) (West 1996))), and one count of armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 18-2-A (now 720 ILCS 5/18-2-(a) (West 1996))). Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of two counts of murder, two counts of home invasion, and one count of armed robbery. He was sentenced to natural life in prison without parole for murder, and 30 years' imprisonment each for home invasion and armed robbery. All sentences are to be served concurrently. Defendant now appeals his conviction pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 603 (134 Ill. 2d R. 603).

For the reasons which follow, we affirm.


The pertinent facts are as follows. One of the victims in this case, Jeffrey Lassiter, lived at 910 W. Agatite in Chicago. Delone Garner, a manager for Urban Service Realty, maintained the building located at 906-916 W. Agatite in Chicago. On November 16, 1992, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Garner, who lived in the apartment directly above Lassiter, heard loud noises and gun shots coming from downstairs. After a few minutes, Garner called Lassiter's name, went downstairs, and found that someone had broken into Lassiter's apartment. Garner went inside Lassiter's apartment and found Lassiter shot in the head. Garner found that the other victim, a young woman later identified as Sharon Haugabook, was also shot. Garner ran back to his apartment and called the police.

In connection with the victims' deaths, defendant was later arrested and charged with eight counts of first degree murder, two counts of home invasion, and one count of armed robbery.

A. Pre-trial proceedings: Motion to Quash Arrest and Suppress Evidence

Defendant filed a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence on the basis that the police did not have probable cause to enter his home without an arrest warrant and that his statements to the police and the assistant state's attorney were not voluntary. The State first presented Detective Tony Villardita at the motion to quash hearing.

Detective Villardita testified that on the date in question, he investigated a double murder at 910 W. Agatite. He recounted that when he arrived at the apartment, he observed that Lassiter was dead, and he knew that Haugabook had also died upon her arrival at the hospital. Detective Villardita interviewed a witness, Faye McCoy, who was one of the residents of the 906-916 W. Agatite building complex. On November 16, 1992, McCoy heard gunshots and immediately looked out her window. She observed two males coming out of the entrance, and two other males shortly followed. McCoy told Detective Villardita that she recognized one of the males, who went by the name "Goldie." Subsequently, McCoy viewed the lineup in relation to the homicides, told Detective Villardita that she knew four of the people, and identified defendant, Daniel Taylor, Rodney Matthews, and Paul Phillips. She said she did not know their names, but knew they were from the 910 W. Agatite area. She also told Villardita that she was afraid and would not go to court. She did not tell Detective Villardita that defendant was definitely not one of the four men who came out of the building.

Detective Villardita further testified that on December 2, 1992, he arrived at the police station and learned that Lewis Gardner and Akia Phillips were in custody for another unrelated offense. They claimed to have information about the Lassiter and Haugabook homicides. Gardner stated that he was a member of the Vice Lords gang and that he was informed at a meeting at Clarendon Park that drug money was to be collected from Lassiter. After receiving their instructions, eight gang members went to Lassiter's apartment. Gardner and three other members were assigned to be the lookouts, while four other members, including defendant, went into Lassiter's apartment to collect the money. Gardner recalled hearing gun shots, and shortly after, defendant and the others came out and defendant yelled "almighty," meaning the job was completed. When shown a picture of defendant, Gardner identified him as "C-Deon." Detective Villardita stated at the hearing that Phillips told a similar story to Detectives Terry O'Connor and Ricardo Abreu.

Next, the State presented Detectives O'Connor and Abreu who testified that in an interview with Phillips on December 2, 1992, they learned that some members of the gang planned to go to Lassiter's apartment. Phillips stated that defendant had shot the victims, but the detectives were unsure what Phillip's role was. Subsequently, Detective O'Connor checked defendant's police record and found that he was on parole and that his last known address was 1637 S. Springfield in Chicago. When the detectives arrived there at around 11:15 p.m. on December 2, they knocked on the door and defendant's grandmother answered and informed them who she was. The detectives inquired whether defendant was present, and the grandmother answered "he's all the way in the back" and gestured over her shoulder towards the back. Detective O'Connor stated that they did not have to be let into another door and he "was under the impression that it was all one residence since grandma walked [them] back to where [defendant] was." They went to the back of the apartment, and found defendant there along with several other people. Subsequently, defendant was arrested and given his Miranda rights.

Detective O'Connor further stated that they arrived at the police station at approximately 11:45 p.m. Defendant was placed in an interview room, his handcuffs were removed, and he was told that he had been arrested because his name was mentioned in connection with the double murders that occurred on W. Agatite. Defendant denied knowing anything about the double murders. Prior to leaving the station at 10 a.m. the next day, Detective O'Connor asked defendant whether he wanted food or wanted to use the washroom, to which defendant responded he did not want either.

At approximately 8:30 p.m., a six-person lineup was conducted. After the lineup, Detective O'Connor had another conversation with defendant. Defendant was read his Miranda rights and told that Phillips, Gardner, and Daniel Taylor had identified him as the shooter. Subsequently, defendant made a statement during which Detective Abreu was also present. Defendant later made the same statement to Assistant State's Attorney Joe Magats, who proceeded to prepare defendant's statement. Defendant then reviewed and signed it. On cross- examination, Detective O'Connor stated that he never attempted to get an arrest warrant for defendant. He also stated that defendant was not identified in the lineup.

The defense presented defendant's cousin, Keona Scott, who was living at 1637 S. Springfield when defendant was arrested. Scott testified that she was living in the first floor rear apartment with defendant and her son, while her grandmother was living in the first floor front apartment. Scott explained that there is a separate entrance for the rear apartment with a separate lock. On December 2, 1992, police officers came to her door and asked for defendant, but did not show her any identification. She stated that she asked them to wait outside, but they came in right behind her, with their guns drawn. The police then grabbed defendant and handcuffed him.

Defendant testified on his own behalf. He confirmed that he was living with his cousin in the rear apartment on December 2. He stated that a doorway in his grandmother's apartment opens to a hallway which then leads to defendant's apartment. Defendant recalled that he was in his room when he heard his cousin call his name. When he came out of his room, his cousin was halfway through the living room with the police officers following right behind her. Detective O'Connor grabbed defendant and handcuffed him. Detective Abreu searched his bedroom, while another officer was let into the back door. The police put defendant in the car and told him they had some of his friends at the station who said that defendant knew something about the murders which took place on W. Agatite. Defendant said he did not know anything about the murders. Defendant claimed that he was handcuffed to a ring on the wall all night at the police station. Defendant also said that he was not read his Miranda rights and specifically asked for permission to call his lawyer, Sheila Kalish, but was not allowed to do so.

In rebuttal, Detective Abreu's testimony was basically the same as Detective O'Connor's. Detective Abreu stated that they peaceably entered the rear apartment. He also explained that he did not let other officers in the back door and did not search defendant's bedroom. Detective Abreu recalled that defendant never said that he wanted to talk to his lawyer and defendant was not handcuffed when he was placed in the interview room.

The trial court denied defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence finding that the police had probable cause to arrest defendant based on the corroborated statements of Gardner and Phillips who said that defendant was involved in the double homicide. The trial court also held that defendant's grandmother consented to the officers' entry into the home. Although defendant's cousin said there was a second apartment, the trial court stated "the police say that didn't happen" and found the police more credible. Finally, the trial court found that defendant was not coerced and his statement was voluntary.

B. Trial

The following facts were adduced at trial. Stephanie Webb, a friend of Lassiter, testified that during October and November 1992 she visited Lassiter almost every day. During that time she met Sharon Haugabook, who was staying at Lassiter's apartment, and Goldie, who sold drugs. Goldie claimed that he was the only one who could sell drugs out of Lassiter's house. Although Webb had seen defendant in the area, she had never seen him in Lassiter's apartment.

On November 10, 1992, a week before the shooting, Officer William Baxter responded to a call for battery at Lassiter's apartment. Lassiter had a bruise on his face and a laceration on his mouth and told him that some of his partners had beaten him up. ...

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