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People v. Jones

August 06, 1999

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, V.
GARY L. JONES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. Nos. 96--CF--524 95--CF--2604 Honorable Philip L. DiMarzio, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Hutchinson

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

Modified Upon Denial of Rehearing

Defendant, Gary L. Jones, appeals from the orders of the trial court in two separate cases. In the first case, the trial court granted the State's motion to revoke defendant's probation for domestic battery (720 ILCS 5/12--3.2 (West 1996)) against the victim, Carmen Ferguson. In the second, defendant was convicted after a jury trial of first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9--1(a)(2) (West 1996)) for the stabbing death of the same victim. We affirm as modified.

Case No. 95--CF--2604

On December 17, 1995, defendant was charged by complaint with domestic battery in case No. 95--CF--2604. The complaint alleged that defendant struck the victim in the face on December 16, 1995, and that he had been charged previously with domestic battery in case No. 95--CM--7649. Defendant pleaded guilty in case No. 95--CF--2604 on January 31, 1996. In exchange for the plea, defendant received a sentence of 30 months' probation with the conditions that he serve 90 days in the county jail, not have any contact with the victim, and attend counseling. The trial court found that the plea was properly entered and that defendant had a previous violation of the statute in case No. 95--CM--7649.

On February 6, 1996, the State nol-prossed case No. 95--CM--7649. On March 26, 1996, the State filed a petition for adjudication of violation of probation. The violations of probation mentioned in this petition are the offenses charged in case Nos. 96--CF--514 and 96--CF--524. Case No. 95--CF--2604 was continued until these two other cases could be adjudicated.

Case Nos. 96--CF--514 and 96--CF--524

In March 1996 defendant was charged in case No. 96--CF--514 with unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle. In case No. 96--CF--524, defendant was charged also with first-degree murder for the stabbing death of the victim. The grand jury returned indictments in both cases in April 1996. On the State's motion the two cases were joined prior to trial.

In September 1996 the State provided a supplemental answer to discovery that contained a list of other crimes dating back to 1992 that defendant had allegedly committed against the victim. The State indicated that it intended to use this evidence to show defendant's motive and intent. Defendant filed a motion in limine seeking to exclude all evidence of prior crimes. The trial court heard arguments on the motion and excluded incidents from 1992 through 1994 as too remote. However, the trial court allowed the State to present evidence of certain incidents in 1995 and 1996.

The jury trial began on March 17, 1997. The State nol-prossed case No. 96--CF--514 before jury selection.

Pam Ferguson, the victim's sister, testified that defendant was the victim's boyfriend for four years. Ferguson lived with the victim in 1995 and testified that she witnessed defendant choking the victim in October 1995. Ferguson did not call the police at the victim's request.

Richard Ciganek, an Elgin police officer, testified that he responded to a reported domestic battery on December 12, 1995. The victim was bleeding from a cut above her left eye, and she had swelling around her right eye. Ciganek testified that defendant admitted arguing with the victim but denied striking her and did not know how she had been injured. He claimed that she pushed him.

Jeffrey Clausen testified that he met defendant in his capacity as defendant's probation officer on February 5, 1996. Defendant had pleaded guilty to the December 16, 1995, domestic battery. Clausen met with defendant several times, and defendant was scheduled for ...


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