Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Montgomery

December 07, 1998

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
MICHAEL MONTGOMERY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice O'mara Frossard delivered the opinion of the court.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County Honorable Daniel Kelley, Judge Presiding.

At issue on appeal is: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence; (2) whether the trial court improperly admitted polygraph evidence during the hearing on the motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence; (3) whether the evidence supports defendant's conviction for first degree murder; (4) whether defendant was proven guilty of aggravated criminal sexual assault beyond a reasonable doubt; and (5) whether defendant's aggregate 100-year sentence was excessive. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

I. FACTS

This case concerns the sexual assault and murder of Debbie Vinson. Defendant was indicted on 4 counts of first degree murder, 14 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, 6 counts of criminal sexual assault and 1 count of unlawful restraint.

At trial the parties stipulated that if J.D. Stewart, Jr., were called to testify he would state that at about 9:30 a.m. on May 14, 1993, he was in the alley at the rear of a row of businesses in the 1700 block of West 79th Street collecting cans. He discovered the naked, bloody body of the victim, Debbie Vinson. Mr. Stewart phoned the police.

Detective Ernie Bell was assigned the case at 10 a.m. the same day. He proceeded to 1716 West 79th Street to investigate and he observed the victim lying face up. There was dried blood on her right thigh and genitalia and blood on the grass near the body. The victim's wallet, a Chicago Bears T-shirt, a red gym shoe and black baseball cap were also scattered on the grass near the body. Detective Bell canvassed the area to interview possible witnesses.

The morning of May 15, 1993, Detective Bell spoke with Detective Bernatek, who had worked the midnight shift at Area 2. Pursuant to this conversation, they went to the home of Arthur Robinson. Robinson knew the victim and told Detective Bell that the victim and defendant, known to Robinson only as "Mike," were at his home about 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. the night of May 13, 1993. Robinson gave Detective Bell a physical description of defendant and told him the address of the furniture store where defendant worked.

Detective Bell spoke with Mr. Harris, the owner of the furniture store. Mr. Harris indicated that an individual named "Mike" who matched the physical description worked at the store. Defendant arrived at the store between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Officer Bell identified himself, showed his star and then asked defendant his name. Defendant stated his name was "Michael Montgomery" and agreed to go to Area 2 with Detective Bell. The officers did not handcuff defendant.

Upon arriving at Area 2, Detective Williams informed defendant of his Miranda rights and interviewed defendant. Defendant stated that he did not know Debbie Vinson, the victim. He stated that on the evening of May 13, 1993, he went home from work, only left home about 9:30 p.m. to find something to eat and then returned home for the night. This interview started at about 5:40 p.m. and lasted approximately 20 minutes.

At about 6:10 p.m., Detectives Bell, Williams and Marbury reentered the interview room. During this second interview, defendant changed his story. Defendant stated that he knew the victim. He related that he met her on the corner of 79th Street and Racine, showed her a bag of cocaine and went with her to the house of an individual known as "Frank" to smoke the cocaine. Defendant stated that he and the victim engaged in consensual oral and vaginal intercourse in the hallway of a building. Defendant claimed he and the victim parted ways in an alley.

At about noon the following day, Detectives Bell, Williams and Marbury, along with defendant, went to the police station at 11th and State Street. Defendant was introduced to Officer John Stout. Detective Bell spoke with Officer Stout, then interviewed defendant again at about 1 p.m. During this interview, defendant repeated his story from his prior interview. He added that, after smoking cocaine with the victim, he went with her to the hallway of a building where they engaged in consensual intercourse, both oral and vaginal. Defendant then took the victim into an alley, telling her that he was going to obtain more narcotics for her, which he stated he had no intention of doing. Defendant took the victim into an alley where they again engaged in oral and vaginal sex. Defendant stated that the victim started swinging her arms violently and struck him in the head, knocking his glasses off. Defendant stated that he thought he might have been stabbed and was afraid the victim had a weapon. Defendant stated that he then started choking the victim.

The police returned to Area 2 with defendant at approximately 2 p.m., May 16, 1993, and resumed the interview. This interview lasted about an hour. During the interview, defendant repeated his story and added that he choked the victim until she became unconscious, then he went home. Defendant stated that when he arrived at home, he discovered he had blood on the front of his pants, on his underwear, on the front of his shirt and on his shirttail. Defendant stated that he did not know where the blood came from. He threw away the bloody clothing and returned to the alley where he left the victim. Defendant stated that he placed his fist behind the victim's back to lift her up slightly to check if she was still alive. He determined that she was still alive, then engaged in vaginal intercourse with her again. Afterward, he removed the victim's clothing and threw the clothing in a dumpster because he wanted to make it look like a rape. Defendant then turned the victim over so she was facing the ground and engaged in vaginal or anal intercourse with her, he was not sure which. Defendant then stated he returned to his home and again threw away the clothes he was wearing. The parties also stipulated that Arthur Robinson would testify that the victim and an unknown man were in his apartment at 7849 South Troop on May 13, 1993, at about 11 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Robinson described the unknown man as "a black male, six foot tall approximately two hundred thirty pounds, dark skinned, late thirties to early forties." The man told Robinson he worked at a furniture store at 1710 West 79th Street. Robinson would testify that the victim and this man did not appear to be in a hostile relationship. The two used narcotics at his house and, before leaving, the victim asked Robinson for money so she could purchase additional narcotics. Arthur Robinson viewed a lineup at approximately 7:30 p.m. on May 16, 1993. Robinson identified defendant as the individual that was at his home with Debbie Vinson the evening she died. Assistant State's Attorney Nolan interviewed defendant at 10:45 p.m., and defendant repeated the statement he had given to the police earlier that day at 2 p.m.

Dr. Mitra Kalelkar, the deputy chief medical examiner for Cook County, testified on behalf of the State. Dr. Kalelkar performed a post-mortem examination on the victim. The external examination revealed an unclothed female body with grass and dandelions on her back and dirt on her knees. The victim's body had hemorrhages over her eyes and abrasions on the bridge of her nose, the right side of her forehead, her chin, the left side of her neck, the angle of the jaw and abrasions on her left and right upper arms. She had abrasions on her knee and right thigh area. Dr. Kalelkar testified that the victim was menstruating at the time and had a wad of paper towel product inside her vagina. The victim had extensive injuries to her anal area. Specifically, the anus was large and gaping with tears at the 12 and 5 o'clock positions. There were extensive hemorrhages in the mucosa of the rectum.

Dr. Kalelkar's internal examination of the victim showed significant injuries to the neck. The victim had hemorrhages on the top of the right side of her neck to the muscle that becomes prominent when turning the head. She had hemorrhages to the inside layer of the neck muscle that connects the base of the tongue to the thyroid area. She also had hemorrhages in the mucosa of the larynx and trachea. An examination of the victim's tongue revealed multiple tongue bites. Dr. Kalelkar testified that "all of these combined together are hallmarks of a strangulation." The doctor's opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty was that Debbie Vinson was strangled to death. Dr. Kalelkar testified that the injuries to the victim's anus were consistent with intrusion by a penis and that "[t]he injuries are so extensive I think besides a penis something else was used." The doctor testified that the victim was strangled after the anal injuries occurred.

On cross-examination, Dr. Kalelkar testified that cocaine use may cause seizures and that bite marks to the tongue may occur in seizure deaths "sometimes, not all the time." The toxicology report on the victim was positive for cocaine and alcohol. On redirect, the doctor testified that a person who suffered a seizure would not have the type of injuries to the neck that she observed on the victim. Dr. Kalelkar stated that Debbie Vinson did not die from a seizure, but died from strangulation.

The defendant presented evidence through stipulation that Leon Stockstill, the victim's live-in boyfriend, would testify that the victim left their apartment at about 10 p.m. on May 13, 1993, to go to the liquor store. Mr. Stockstill would further testify that the victim had five seizures on May 9, 1993. The parties further stipulated that Drs. Khan and Watson of Cook County Hospital would testify that the victim had a 20-year history of seizure disorders for which she was taking medication. The defendant chose not to testify.

The trial Judge denied defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. The court found probable cause for arrest at approximately 6 p.m. on May 15, 1993, which was during defendant's second interview with the police at Area 2. The court found that probable cause for defendant's arrest existed during that second interview "at the time the defendant changed his story from not knowing or from being home the evening before to actually having been with Miss Vincent [sic] in an apartment and smoking cocaine with her."

Defendant's motion to suppress statements alleged that defendant did not receive his Miranda warnings. The court found that it was clear from defendant's own testimony that he knew what the Miranda warnings were and that he, in fact, received such warnings. Specifically, the court found that Detective Williams gave defendant his Miranda warnings when he was first taken to Area 2. He was again given Miranda warnings before the polygraph examination. Defendant was advised of his rights again at Area 2 in the afternoon on May 16, 1993, and later that evening by Assistant State's Attorney Nolan. The trial court also found that there was no evidence to substantiate defendant's claim that his statements were obtained through psychological coercion. Also, the court found that there was no evidence to substantiate defendant's allegations that his history of substance abuse and treatment impaired his ability to understand the nature and consequences of his interrogation.

Following the bench trial, the court found defendant guilty of four counts of first degree murder and four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. The court rejected the prosecution's request for the death penalty and sentenced defendant to an extended term of 70 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for first degree murder and a consecutive sentence of 30 years for aggravated criminal sexual assault. This appeal followed.

II. ANALYSIS

Defendant first argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. Defendant contends he was arrested without probable cause. The trial court found that probable cause for arrest existed at approximately 6 p.m. on May 15, 1993, which was during defendant's second interview with police at Area 2. Defendant argues that he was under arrest even before the second interview and that probable cause to arrest did not exist until after 4 p.m. on May 16, 1993. The State maintains that the trial court properly denied defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. The State asserts that probable cause was established during defendant's voluntary appearance at the police station.

A reviewing court will overturn a trial court's ruling on a motion to quash the arrest and suppress evidence only where the trial court's ruling is manifestly erroneous. People v. Adams, 131 Ill. 2d 387, 400, 546 N.E.2d 561 (1989). "Manifestly erroneous" or "against the manifest weight of the evidence" occurs where the trial court's ruling is " 'palpably erroneous and wholly unwarranted' or 'arbitrary, unreasonable, and not based upon the evidence.' " People v. Leach, 245 Ill. App. 3d 644, 655, 612 N.E.2d 825 (1993), quoting People v. Shelby, 221 Ill. App. 3d 1028, 1039, 582 N.E.2d 1281 (1991).

A person has been arrested when his or her freedom of movement has been restrained by physical force or a show of authority. People v. Melock, 149 Ill. 2d 423, 436, 599 N.E.2d 941 (1992). In determining whether a suspect has been arrested, the relevant inquiry is whether, under the circumstances, a reasonable, innocent person in defendant's situation would conclude that he was not free to leave. People v. Eddmonds, 101 Ill. 2d 44, 61 (1984). In the absence of a threatening presence of police officers, display of a weapon, physical contact or the use of language suggesting ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.