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People v. Ward

December 23, 1998


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 94 CR 11503

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Cahill

Honorable Henry Simmons, Judge Presiding.

On March 29, 1994, at about 5 p.m., 10-year-old Rodney Collins was with friends, riding his bicycle outside his home on Winchester Street in Chicago, Illinois. On the corner of 51st and Wentworth, two men made "pitchfork" hand signals, signifying allegiance to the Gangster Disciples street gang. The same men were also "throwing down the [five]," signifying disrespect for the Blackstones street gang. The Gangster Disciples is a gang affiliated with a larger group called the "Folks," and the Blackstones are affiliated with a group called the "People." The two groups are enemies. A few minutes after making the gang signals, the two men ran down Winchester and shouted, "[W]e got you hooks now." The two men began shooting at 10 to 15 children playing on the street. Two different kinds of gunfire were heard by witnesses. Rodney Collins was shot in the back. He later died from his injuries.

After a bench trial, defendant Antoine Ward was found guilty of Collins' murder and was sentenced to 29 years in prison. Defendant argues on appeal that the trial court erred in: (1) denying his motion for a "bill of particulars"; (2) denying his motion to quash arrest; (3) denying his motion to suppress statements; and (4) finding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We affirm.

Before trial, the following evidence was presented at a hearing on defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. Police officers John Murray and Christine Keane testified that they investigated Collins' murder on March 29, 1994. They went to 5210 South Wood Street after a homeless man told them that members of the Gangster Disciples "hung out" in a basement there. At about 11:15 p.m., Murray and Keane knocked on the front door. Anemeya Bostic answered the door. She told Murray and Keane that her brother, Donald Bostic, lived in the basement and directed them to the back door. The officers went to the back door where they were met by Anemeya and Donald. Donald said that his girlfriend and another boy were in the basement. The officers asked if they could enter the apartment and talk to the boy. Donald agreed and let the officers in.

Murray and Keane found defendant asleep on a couch. Murray approached defendant and gave him a "shake" or a "nudge" and said "wake up." Defendant sat up and looked at the officers. Officer Murray asked defendant for his name but defendant did not respond. Murray again asked defendant his name and where he lived. Defendant "sprang" off the couch and said "I'll kick your ass." Defendant "got real tight" and held his arms back "as if he was ready to strike." Murray then arrested defendant for assault.

Anemeya testified for the defense. She denied having a conversation with police officers at her front door. She did not see them until they were already in the basement. Anemeya testified that four police officers entered the basement. One officer held defendant by the arm and told him he would be taken to the police station for questioning. Defendant said he did not know what the officers were talking about and did not understand why he could not be questioned there rather than at the police station. Anemeya then went to the porch, where she saw Rodney Collins' cousin, Robert Collins. Robert told her that he brought the officers to the house because he thought some "folks" who shot his cousin were in the basement.

Donald Bostic testified that on the evening of March 29, 1994, he was in the basement when he saw lights flashing from the rear of the basement. Donald said he went to the back of the basement and asked, "Who is that?" A police officer answered and came through the door, flashing a light in his eyes and asking Bostic who he was. One of the officers began walking through the basement and asked if he could search. Donald responded, "you already [sic] searching." The officer went to the front of the basement, woke defendant, asked defendant to get up, and said that he wanted to ask defendant some questions. Defendant slowly stood up, complied with the officer's requests and never threatened the officer. Donald testified that only the male officer came into the basement. He also said his sister was not in the basement at the time of defendant's arrest, but was arguing with police on the back porch.

Police officer Lisa Rocco-Pignato testified that she arrived at 5210 South Wood at about 11:15 p.m. and saw police officers Murray and Keane struggling with defendant on the basement floor. Rocco-Pignato helped hold defendant so the officers could handcuff him. After interviewing Officer Murray, she wrote the police report. She testified that Murray told her defendant "sprang up off the couch at him" but that she did not include that in her report.

Assistant State's Attorney Gregory Nugent testified in rebuttal that he was present when Assistant State's Attorney Matthew Coghlan interviewed Anemeya Bostic. Nugent testified that Anemeya told Coghlan that, when she went down to the basement, officers were handcuffing defendant. The police asked defendant his name, but he refused to answer.

The trial court denied defendant's motion to quash arrest.

The following evidence was presented at a hearing on defendant's motion to suppress statements. Detective William Foley testified that at about 10:45 a.m. on March 30, 1994, he and Detective Michael Clancy interviewed defendant for about 20 minutes at the police station. Foley advised defendant of his Miranda rights, and defendant said he understood them. Foley testified that no one physically touched or struck defendant during the interview or promised leniency in return for a statement. Foley did not tell defendant that he was merely a witness in the case or that defendant would be released if he made a statement.

Detective Kenneth Boudreau testified that on March 30, 1994, at about 6:30 p.m., he and Detective John Halloran interviewed defendant for about 45 minutes. Halloran advised defendant of his Miranda rights, and defendant said he understood them. No one touched defendant or promised him anything in return for his statement. Boudreau testified that, other than taking defendant to the bathroom and giving him food and drink, he had no other contact with defendant that day. The next day, Boudreau and Assistant State's Attorney Steven Klaczynski spoke again with defendant at about 7:30 p.m. for about 25 minutes. Klaczynski gave defendant Miranda warnings. Boudreau then left the room for a few moments. When he returned, defendant agreed to give a handwritten statement. Part of the written statement said that defendant had not been threatened or promised anything in return for his statement. Defendant was asked to appear before the grand jury the next day. Defendant was then released.

Defendant did not appear before the grand jury. On April 21, 1994, Boudreau was notified by tactical officers that defendant was on South Honore. Defendant was then arrested on an outstanding warrant for possession of a controlled substance. The next day at about 12:30 p.m., Boudreau was present when Assistant State's Attorney Neera Walsh interviewed defendant. Walsh read defendant his Miranda rights, and defendant acknowledged those rights by placing his initial next to each of the rights listed on a form. Boudreau testified that defendant gave new information and also acknowledged the substance of his written statement. Defendant was not threatened or promised leniency during the interview. At the end of the conversation, defendant was arrested for murder.

Detective Daniel McDonald testified that on March 30, 1994, at about 10:15 a.m., he and his partner transported defendant from the 9th district police station to a police station at 51st and Wentworth Streets. While defendant was in McDonald's presence, no one threatened, struck or spoke to defendant.

Defendant testified on his own behalf. He said that after he was arrested on March 29, 1994, Officers Boudreau and McDonald took him to a police station at 51st and Wentworth Streets. Defendant testified that he was handcuffed to a bench and left alone for a "nice period of time." Boudreau and another officer questioned him about Collins' murder for about 45 minutes. Defendant claimed that he was never given Miranda warnings. Defendant said he knew nothing about Collins' murder. Boudreau said if defendant helped him, he would help defendant. Boudreau showed defendant photographs, but defendant did not recognize anyone in the photographs. Later that evening, defendant asked to make a telephone call, to be released, and to use the bathroom. All his requests were denied.

Defendant testified that the next day, Boudreau and another officer told him that other witnesses had placed him at the scene, asked defendant what he knew, and again showed him photographs. Defendant testified that the other detective left the room, and Boudreau attempted to make "friendly conversation" with defendant. Boudreau said that if defendant cooperated with Boudreau, Boudreau would cooperate with defendant. But defendant insisted he knew nothing about Collins' murder. Boudreau then left the room, and a tall officer with blond hair and cowboy boots entered. That officer told defendant he was lying, called defendant names, stepped on defendant's left hand, and hit defendant on the side of his head three times. Defendant asked to use the bathroom, and when he was not allowed to do so, urinated in a desk drawer.Defendant testified that the next day Boudreau and several other officers returned. Defendant was not given Miranda warnings. For about half an hour, the officers called him names and said that if defendant did not provide the information they needed, he would go to the penitentiary for 20 years. Defendant refused to give a statement. Boudreau showed ...

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