The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McMORROW
Following a jury trial in the circuit court of St. Clair County, the defendant, Maynard McCallister, Jr., was convicted of three counts of first degree murder. The same jury found defendant eligible for the death penalty. Following a hearing in aggravation and mitigation, the jury found that there were no factors sufficient to preclude imposition of the death penalty and sentenced defendant to death. Defendant's death sentence has been stayed pending direct review by this court. Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, §4(b); 134 Ill. 2d Rs. 603, 609(a). For the reasons that follow, we affirm defendant's convictions and sentence.
The following facts were established at trial. On December 11, 1995, the bodies of Stanley Williams, Sr., his girlfriend, Ernestine McCoy, and Ernestine's adult son, Orlando McCoy, were discovered in Williams' mobile home trailer in Washington Park, Illinois. Williams' body was found lying in the kitchen, located in the front end of the trailer. A small pocket knife was on the floor near Williams' partially pulled-out pants pocket. Williams' wallet, which contained no money, was found on the kitchen table. A revolver was found in a plastic bag, inside a closed cabinet underneath the kitchen sink. Laboratory tests revealed that this gun was inoperable.
Ernestine McCoy's body was discovered in the living room. The living room was separated from the kitchen by a waist-high counter that ran approximately half-way from one long side of the trailer to the other. Ernestine's body was on the floor, directly in front of a couch placed with its back against this counter.
Orlando McCoy's body was found near the front door to the trailer. The front door was located on one of the long sides of the trailer, and opened into the area left unobstructed by the counter separating the kitchen and living room. Orlando's body was lying a few feet from the door and was parallel to it. A large pool of blood abutted the doorsill. Drag marks in the blood indicated that Orlando's body originally was against, or very near, the front door and was moved to its final position. A large, kitchen carving knife was found under Orlando's body. Several spent .22-caliber shell casings were found on the floor near the front door. Other than the victims' bodies, there were no signs of violence or struggle in the trailer.
Autopsies revealed that all three victims died from gunshot wounds. Both Stanley Williams and Orlando McCoy were shot in the right and left temples. Ernestine McCoy was shot once in the back of the neck. Analysis of the victims' gunshot wounds indicated that the shots which killed the victims were probably fired from a distance of more than 1½ feet. Bullets were recovered from the bodies of all the victims. The two bullets recovered from Williams' head, the bullet recovered from Ernestine's neck, and one of the bullets recovered from Orlando's head were fired from the same gun. A second bullet recovered from Orlando's head was unsuitable for comparison. No murder weapon was introduced into evidence.
The bodies of the three victims were first discovered around noon on December 11, 1995, by Williams' son, Stanley Williams, Jr. At trial, Stanley acknowledged that his father sold drugs at his trailer and that he kept a gun, which was inoperable, in a cabinet near where he normally sat in the kitchen. Stanley also stated that he had never seen Orlando or Ernestine with the knife that was found under Orlando's body.
James Williams, who was not related to the Stanley Williams family, testified at trial for the State. James stated that he was 26 years old and that he had known defendant for approximately 10 years. James acknowledged that he had prior convictions for two burglaries, two thefts, and two drug offenses.
James testified that in December 1995, he, his wife, Becky, and defendant were all living in a trailer owned by Jamie Kincannon in State Park, Illinois. On the evening of December 10, 1995, defendant moved his belongings from Kincannon's trailer to the home of his girlfriend, Dawn Daubach, in Collinsville, Illinois. Later, during the night of December 10, defendant, Daubach, James and Becky all smoked crack cocaine.
On the morning of December 11, defendant, Daubach, James and Becky decided, as a group, to purchase cocaine from Stanley Williams. The four got into Daubach's car and headed to Williams' trailer in Washington Park. James drove, defendant sat in the front passenger seat, and Daubach and Becky sat in the rear seat. At the time, defendant was wearing a trench coat, a shirt, blue jeans and brown work boots. On the way to Williams' trailer, defendant asked the group to stop at Kincannon's trailer in State Park. Defendant told the group that he wanted to retrieve a rifle which he had left there, and that he was afraid the rifle would be stolen by people who were then living in Kincannon's trailer. After arriving at Kincannon's trailer, defendant went inside. About a minute later, according to James, defendant returned to the car with the rifle wrapped in clothing. Defendant then placed the rifle under the seat of Daubach's car. At trial, James described defendant's rifle as a .22-caliber weapon with a sawed-off barrel. James stated that he saw defendant cut the barrel off the rifle some three to four weeks prior to December 11. James estimated that, with the sawed-off barrel, the rifle was about 14 to 16 inches long.
After leaving Kincannon's trailer, defendant, James, Becky and Daubach drove directly to Williams' trailer. When they arrived, James parked the car near the front end of the trailer. James and defendant then entered the trailer while the two women waited in the car. James stated that he did not see defendant bring his rifle into the trailer, and, at the time, he assumed that the rifle was still under the seat in Daubach's car.
Once inside the trailer, defendant and James went into the kitchen. Photographs of the interior of the trailer, which were published to the jury and which are part of the record on appeal, show that the kitchen was a square area. One side of the kitchen was bounded by the counter separating the kitchen from the living room. A second side, which was part of the same long side of the trailer that contained the front door, held the refrigerator. A third side of the kitchen held a window and made up the short, front end of the trailer. The final side of the kitchen, the side opposite the refrigerator, held the stove, cabinets and the kitchen sink.
James testified that he and Williams sat at the kitchen table while defendant remained standing. The table was roughly half-way between the sink and the refrigerator, and was almost against the window. James sat at the side of the table nearest the refrigerator. Williams sat opposite James at the side of the table nearest the kitchen sink. Defendant stood to Williams' right, between Williams and the counter separating the kitchen and the living room. Ernestine was sitting on the couch in the living room, with her back to the kitchen. Orlando was sitting at the end of the couch closest to the front door, or on a folding chair placed next to the couch near the front door.
According to James, Williams was the first person to speak after defendant and James entered the trailer. Williams was upset with defendant and James because they had left people waiting outside in their car. Williams was also upset because he had seen another car driving slowly around his trailer. James stated that Williams was afraid that defendant and James had brought the police with them. James also stated that, while Williams was upset, he was not yelling. James described Williams' language as "griping." Eventually, Williams asked defendant and James what they wanted. James told Williams that they wanted to buy drugs. Williams replied, "Alright." Then, according to James, as Williams reached into his shirt pocket with his left hand, defendant pulled his rifle out from under his trench coat and shot Williams in the right temple.
James testified that it was his impression that when Williams was shot, he was reaching into his shirt pocket to retrieve a packet of cocaine. James did not believe that Williams' pocket could have contained a weapon. When Williams reached into his shirt pocket, he was not angry, and he did not say anything. Before he was shot, Williams did not get up from the kitchen table, nor did he reach toward anything other than his shirt pocket. James felt no threat from Williams at the time Williams was shot.
James testified that he heard three shots fired rapidly, "as fast as you could pull the trigger." He saw defendant turn as he fired the second and third shots. James stated that the second and third shots struck Ernestine and Orlando. However, James did not actually see these shots hit Ernestine and Orlando, as he was still looking at Williams' body when the shots were fired.
After the third shot was fired, James got up to leave. He tried to open the front door but could not, because Orlando's body was up against the door. He asked defendant to help him move the body away from the door. Defendant did not respond but, instead, shot Williams, who was lying on the kitchen floor, again. Defendant then walked over to Orlando and shot him a second time. Defendant then moved Orlando's body away from the door. According to James, defendant was standing directly over Williams and Orlando when he shot them for the second time.
As James left the trailer he became physically ill. He stood outside the front door and began choking and spitting up. He then got into Daubach's car and told the women that defendant had shot the people inside the trailer. According to James, the women started "panicking." James stated that he was afraid defendant would come out of the trailer and kill the three of them, so he told the women to calm down. After two to three minutes had passed and defendant had not come out of the trailer, Daubach asked James to go back inside and get him. James got out of the car and looked into the trailer through the front door. Defendant was standing in the trailer, looking at the bodies of the victims. James did not see defendant move anything in the trailer. After another minute or so, defendant came out of the trailer and got into Daubach's car.
Once they were all in the car, defendant told James to drive away and told the two women to "shut up." James stated that he saw no injuries on defendant when defendant entered the car, but did notice blood on his pants and on his boots. James did not see defendant come out of the trailer with any money or drugs.
When the group arrived back at Daubach's house, defendant told James that he was going to "take care of" Daubach and Becky because they might tell someone about the murders. However, James was able to persuade defendant not to do anything to the two women. Defendant also took James' clothes and tennis shoes, and some of his own clothes, and put them in a bag. Defendant burned his own boots in the fireplace. James stated that he and defendant then dumped the bag of clothes and the rifle in a Dumpster behind a store.
James testified that he never saw the knife which was found under Orlando's body, and that he never saw a gun while in the trailer. James recalled a conversation with defendant in which defendant said that he had been "shorted" some drugs by Williams, but stated that defendant did not seem worried about it. James also testified that he did not call the police to report the murders because he was afraid that defendant would kill him if he did so.
On cross-examination, James acknowledged that, in December 1995, he was addicted to crack cocaine and that, for the month or two prior to December 11, 1995, he had purchased drugs from Williams almost every day. James also acknowledged that he had not slept for two days before December 11 and that, during this period, he was on a cocaine high or binge. James admitted that there were some things that he could not remember about the night of December 10 and early morning of December 11. He could not recall, for example, whether he smoked cocaine during the early hours of December 11 or how Dawn Daubach, who was working during the night of December 10 and early morning of December 11, was picked up from work. James stated, however, that he was able to recall what happened during the shootings. James also told the jury that he had not been held as a suspect in the case and that no deal had been made for his testimony against defendant. When asked, James denied shooting any of the three victims.
Becky Williams, James' wife, testified that on the morning of December 11, 1995, she, her husband, defendant and Dawn Daubach left Daubach's house and, at defendant's request, drove to Kincannon's trailer in State Park. Defendant went into Kincannon's trailer alone, and emerged carrying a shirt. The group then drove to Williams' trailer in Washington Park to purchase crack cocaine. Becky stated that it was defendant's idea to go to Williams' trailer to buy the drugs because Williams "owed him something."
After the group arrived at Williams' trailer, James and defendant went inside, while Becky and Daubach remained in the car. Shortly thereafter, Becky heard what sounded like a cap gun being fired. She heard three "pows," then a 30- to 40-second pause, and then two more "pows." Becky then saw James come out of the trailer, pale and doubled over. When James got to the car, he told Becky and Daubach to be quiet. James then left the car and returned to the trailer door. He called to defendant to come out. Defendant, who was wearing a long trench coat, exited the trailer. Defendant did not look injured or upset, and he did not have anything in his hands.
Becky stated that defendant approached the car and, through the driver's side window, threw a wad of money on Becky's lap. Defendant then went back into the trailer. When defendant came back out of the trailer and got into the car, Becky threw the wad of money back to him. According to Becky, defendant did not have this money when he entered Williams' trailer. Becky also stated that when defendant got into the car, she saw that he had a $50 "rock" of crack cocaine in his hand.
Becky testified that as the group was heading back to Dawn Daubach's house, she and Daubach tried to ask what had happened. Defendant, however, told Becky and Daubach to "shut up." When the group arrived at Daubach's house, defendant put his bloody clothes and boots in a bag, and placed the bag outside, behind a woodpile. Later, defendant retrieved the bag and burned his clothes in the fireplace.
On cross-examination, Becky acknowledged that she was frequently using crack cocaine during December 1995. She stated, however, that on the night of December 10 and morning of December 11, she did not smoke crack cocaine. Becky further acknowledged that, in a statement which she gave to police on January 2, 1996, she indicated that she heard three or four "pops" while waiting outside Williams' trailer, instead of five. However, at trial, Becky said that she was certain that she had heard three "pops" in quick succession, followed by a pause, and then two more "pops." Becky testified that, while she and James did not talk about the shootings at length on December 11, sometime on that day James told her that defendant had shot the three victims. Becky also stated that she and her husband had not talked about her testimony in preparation for trial.
Dawn Daubach testified that she had prior convictions for felony theft and drug possession, and that, in 1995, she was a crack cocaine addict. Daubach also stated that she and defendant were romantically involved for a period of time in late 1995.
Daubach testified that on the morning of December 11, 1995, she, defendant, James and Becky all left Daubach's house to buy crack cocaine from Stanley Williams. On the way to Williams' trailer, the group stopped at Kincannon's trailer in State Park, at defendant's request. According to Daubach, defendant said he wanted to pick up a gun which he had left there and which he feared would be stolen. The group then drove to Williams' trailer.
Daubach stated that defendant and James entered Williams' trailer, while she and Becky stayed in the car. Shortly after defendant and James entered the trailer, Daubach heard three gunshots, then a short silence, then two more shots. James then came out of the trailer holding his head and walking in circles. James walked over to the car and told Daubach and Becky that defendant "just did all three of them." Daubach then saw defendant walk out of the trailer, go back in, and then come back out. When defendant came out of the trailer, he did not appear to be injured. Daubach stated that, after defendant got into the car, he threw a wad of money onto Becky's lap, and that Becky then threw it back.
Daubach testified that when the group arrived at her house, she noticed that defendant had some crack cocaine. She had not seen the cocaine when she was in the car. Daubach stated that she smoked this cocaine with defendant. Daubach also stated that she saw defendant burn his clothes in the fireplace. According to Daubach, defendant later explained the shootings to her by saying "that's what happens when someone disrespects me."
On cross-examination, Daubach acknowledged that she smoked crack cocaine twice on the morning of December 11, and that she had been awake for over 24 hours by the time the shootings occurred.
Dana Ganninger testified that she was addicted to crack cocaine in December 1995, and that she had six prior felony convictions, including convictions for forgery, taking marijuana into a penal institution, and theft of a motorcycle. She also stated that, in 1995, she was defendant's girlfriend.
Ganninger testified that, in December 1995, she was staying on and off at Dawn Daubach's house in Collinsville. On the morning of December 11, Daubach and Becky Williams picked Ganninger up at Kincannon's trailer in State Park and drove back to Daubach's house. When they arrived there, Ganninger went to sleep. Defendant, Daubach, James and Becky then left the house in Daubach's car. When the group returned to the house around noon, Ganninger woke up. She noticed that defendant appeared "shook up" and angry, and that James appeared "devastated." The women also appeared "shook up" and scared. Ganninger also noticed that defendant had blood on his clothes. Ganninger stated that she saw defendant and James burning clothing and defendant's boots in the fireplace. Defendant, James and Daubach then smoked crack cocaine.
Ganninger testified that later, on December 11, she was in a car with defendant at a gas station when they saw some friends. The friends asked defendant and Ganninger if they had heard that Williams had been killed. Defendant did not reply, but as defendant and Ganninger drove away, defendant said, "You know I did that." Defendant also told Ganninger that he "couldn't believe how quick he was," and that "they didn't even have time to think." According to Ganninger, defendant also said, "Stan and his old lady and the kid-bam, bam, bam." Defendant did not mention James Williams when describing the murders to Ganninger except to say that James "couldn't even believe how fast he did it, and that Jimmy got sick." Later, defendant explained Williams' murder to Ganninger by saying, "That's what he gets for being disrespectful." Ganninger also stated that defendant threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the murders.
Ganninger further testified that in November 1995, when defendant met Stanley Williams for the first time, defendant told Ganninger that Williams had an attitude problem and "was going to get it." Ganninger stated that two weeks before the shooting, defendant purchased a rifle with crack cocaine. Defendant and James then sawed off the barrel of the rifle. Ganninger also stated that shortly before Christmas 1995, she accompanied defendant to his mother's house in Missouri. There, at defendant's request, she gave the rifle to his brother. Ganninger stated that she never saw the rifle again.
On cross-examination, Ganninger testified that, while she was addicted to crack cocaine in December 1995, she was certain that she did not smoke cocaine on the morning of December 11. Ganninger also stated that she was sure defendant had explained the murders by saying Williams had "disrespected" him, even though that explanation did not appear in a statement that Ganninger had given police on December 30, 1995. Ganninger denied speaking with Dawn Daubach or Becky Williams about her testimony in preparation for trial.
Ganninger, Daubach, James and Becky all testified to an incident that occurred shortly before Christmas 1995. At that time, defendant threatened to shoot and kill them all, including himself, with the same rifle used on December 11, 1995, at Williams' trailer.
Defendant testified at trial in his own behalf. Defendant told the jury that he was 35 years old and that he had prior convictions for aggravated battery and theft.
Defendant stated that, in the fall of 1995, he was living in Kincannon's trailer in State Park. James and Becky Williams, whom he had known for 10 or 12 years, were also living there. Defendant testified that he was addicted to crack cocaine in the fall of 1995 and that he purchased cocaine from Stanley Williams on several occasions during this time. Defendant stated that on trips to Williams' trailer, he was usually accompanied by James Williams. Only "very seldom" did defendant go to Stanley Williams' trailer by himself.
Defendant testified that, on December 10, 1995, he and James and Becky Williams moved to Dawn Daubach's house in Collinsville. In the early evening of December 10, defendant and James drove Daubach to work in her car. Defendant and James then returned to Daubach's house where they "got high and drunk" until the following morning. Around six or seven in the morning on December 11, defendant and James picked Daubach up from work. The three then drove to East St. Louis so that Daubach could buy some cocaine. Defendant, James and Daubach then returned to Daubach's house, where, along with Becky, they ingested the cocaine. At approximately 10:30 a.m. on December 11, the group decided to buy more cocaine. According to defendant, James Williams suggested that they buy the cocaine from Stanley Williams.
Defendant stated that, on the way to Stanley Williams' trailer, he suggested that the group stop at Kincannon's trailer in State Park so that he could pick up some clothes and a .22-caliber rifle that he had acquired with James Williams during a previous drug deal. Once inside the trailer, defendant collected his clothes and stuck the rifle inside the long, black overcoat that he was wearing. Defendant then left the trailer and threw his clothes into the back of the car. Defendant kept the rifle inside his jacket. Defendant stated that he did not show the gun to James, Becky or Daubach when he returned to the car.
Defendant testified that the group then drove to Stanley Williams' trailer. When they arrived, defendant and James entered the trailer, intending to purchase $250 of cocaine. Inside the trailer, Ernestine McCoy, whom defendant did not know, was seated on the living room couch. Orlando McCoy, whom defendant also did not know, was standing near the front door. Stanley Williams was seated at the kitchen table.
Defendant stated that he entered the kitchen and stood close to the sink, while James stood near the refrigerator. After they entered the kitchen, Williams asked defendant who was outside in the car. Defendant replied, "My girlfriend." Hearing this, Williams became upset. Defendant stated that, for about a minute, Williams "rambl[ed] on," yelling at defendant for bringing other people to his trailer. Williams kept standing up, looking out the kitchen window, and then sitting down. According to defendant, Williams also talked about a second car that was driving by the trailer or that was pulling in the driveway. Williams also repeatedly told defendant that he had to leave.
Defendant stated that he tried to calm Williams down. He asked Williams if he and James could "just buy what we want." Williams, however, told defendant that he was not going to sell him any cocaine. When defendant protested, Williams said that if defendant did not leave, he would "shoot your ass." Williams, while seated, then turned and reached for a cabinet under the sink. Defendant stated that he thought that Williams was going to grab a gun from the cabinet and shoot him, so he pulled out his rifle and shot Williams. Defendant testified that, while he did not see Williams' gun on the day of the shooting, he knew that Williams kept one inside the cabinet. Defendant explained that he saw the gun on a previous occasion when he went to Williams' trailer without James. On that occasion, Williams showed the gun to defendant and told him that he would "get hurt" if he came to the trailer without James again.
After firing one shot at Williams, defendant stated, he saw Orlando McCoy, who had pulled something out of his pants, yelling and coming directly toward him from the front door. Defendant did not know what Orlando had pulled from his pants. Without aiming for any particular spot, defendant fired one shot at Orlando.
Defendant stated that, after shooting the two men, he "just kind of stood there for a minute." Then, according to defendant, James ran over, told defendant they had to go, and grabbed the rifle. James then turned and shot Ernestine McCoy, who was sitting on the living room couch, screaming. James again told defendant they had to leave the trailer. James then walked over to Orlando, who was by the front door, and shot him. James then shot Stanley Williams, who was lying on the kitchen floor. After firing the three shots, James yelled at defendant to "come on" and then left the trailer. Defendant stated that he remained in the trailer, scared, and not knowing what to do. James came back in, grabbed defendant by the arm, and said they had to leave.
When defendant got back to Daubach's car, he realized that the rifle was inside his coat. Defendant did not remember how the rifle got there, but guessed that James must have given it to him after the shootings. Inside the car, Daubach and Becky Williams were discussing what happened in the trailer. Defendant told them to "shut up."
Defendant testified that, after the group arrived at Daubach's house, he removed his clothes and took a shower. When he got out of the shower, defendant saw James putting his clothes into the fireplace. Defendant placed his own T-shirt in the fireplace and helped James set the clothes on fire. Defendant stated that he did not place his boots in the fire. Defendant also denied disposing of the rifle. According to defendant, Dana Ganninger took the rifle and "put [it] up" someplace. Defendant further denied taking any money, drugs or other items from Williams' trailer. Defendant also stated that he did not discuss the shootings with anyone and denied telling Ganninger that he had killed the people in the trailer.
Defendant continued to live at Daubach's house until a few days before Christmas 1995. At that time, according to defendant, he and Ganninger were preparing to visit defendant's mother in Missouri for the holidays. Before leaving, however, defendant and James argued about the shootings at Williams' trailer. Defendant told Ganninger to get the .22-caliber rifle that had been used in the shooting and to put it in the car. Defendant stated that he did not threaten anyone at that time, or tell anyone that he was going to shoot them or himself. Defendant, Ganninger, and Ganninger's two children then drove to defendant's mother's home in Missouri. Defendant stated that, as they crossed the Mississippi River bridge, he threw the rifle into the river because he "wanted no more to do with it."
After his arrest, defendant gave a statement to the police that was written down by Illinois State Police Officer Donald Stalcup. Defendant testified that he did not read the statement before he signed it because he trusted Officer Stalcup.
At trial, defendant recounted an incident that was included in the statement he had given to the police. Defendant stated that in November 1995, he and James went to Stanley Williams' trailer to buy some drugs. At the trailer were Williams and two other individuals, Art and Boo. When defendant was told that it would take an hour to get the drugs he wanted, he reached for his money and tried to leave. However, Boo, who was standing by a pistol that was lying on the counter, said he was taking defendant's money. Williams told Boo that defendant and James were "cool," but Boo told defendant and James to leave. After talking with James, defendant left. Defendant stated that, although he had been robbed in Williams' trailer, he held no grudge against Williams. Defendant explained that Williams later tried to make up for the incident by giving defendant extra cocaine.
Defendant told the jurors that when he entered Williams' trailer on December 11, 1995, he did not intend to shoot Williams or Orlando McCoy. Defendant stated that he shot Williams because he was afraid, and because he thought Williams was going to shoot him.
On cross-examination, defendant denied being with Dana Ganninger when he met Stanley Williams for the first time, and denied telling Ganninger that Williams had an attitude problem and "was going to get it." Defendant also denied sawing off the barrel of the rifle so that he could conceal the weapon. According to defendant, he and James sawed off the barrel one day because they had "nothing better to do." Defendant testified that he did not take the rifle into Williams' trailer with the intent to shoot the victims, and stated that it was a coincidence that he stopped to pick up his rifle at Kincannon's trailer in State Park on the same day the victims were killed.
Defendant further testified, on cross-examination, that Williams was seated and had not yet opened the cabinet door at the time he was shot. When asked why he did not threaten Williams with his rifle, or hold the rifle on Williams, instead of shooting him, defendant again stated that he was afraid. Defendant acknowledged that he did not usually go to Williams' trailer to buy drugs without James and that the only time Williams had threatened defendant, prior to the day of the shooting, James had not been present. Defendant also admitted that, while he had testified on direct examination that Williams said he was going to "shoot your ass," that threat was not in the signed statement defendant gave to the police at the time of his arrest. Defendant explained the inconsistency by saying that he did not review the statement he gave to the police when he signed it because he trusted the officer who wrote it down. Defendant further acknowledged that, after Williams told him to leave the trailer on December 11, 1995, he was tired of hearing people tell him to leave the drug house without letting him buy any drugs.
Defendant also testified that, when Orlando McCoy came toward him, he approached face-forward. Defendant was asked how, in light of this fact, Orlando received bullet wounds on both sides of his head. Defendant stated that he had "no idea." Defendant was also asked whether, given the pool of blood found by the front door, defendant was able "to shoot [Orlando] in the head, and he actually got over to the door several feet away before he dropped." Defendant replied, "I guess that's true." Defendant stated that he was "panicked" and "scared" when he shot Williams and Orlando, but also acknowledged that each victim was shot in the same part of the head. Defendant stated that the similar placement of shots was "just a coincidence."
Defendant's testimony regarding the shooting of Ernestine McCoy was impeached with the statement he gave to police at the time of his arrest. In the statement, defendant told police that after Williams and Orlando were shot, Ernestine was on the floor in the living room, trying to get under a table. According to the statement, James then walked about five feet from Ernestine and shot her. This description of Ernestine's murder was at odds with defendant's direct testimony, in which he stated that Ernestine was sitting on the living room couch, screaming, when James grabbed the .22-caliber rifle from defendant, turned, and shot. On cross-examination, defendant testified that he did not remember telling police that Ernestine was trying to get under a table when she was shot. Defendant stated that he did not know why, after Williams and Orlando were shot, James decided to grab the rifle and shoot Ernestine.
The defense also called St. Clair County Sheriff's Drug Unit Officer Kelly Oliver, who testified that he had conducted hundreds of drug investigations. Officer Oliver stated that a drug transaction at a "crack house" can be a dangerous situation, and that people have been shot while purchasing drugs at crack houses.
In the State's rebuttal, Illinois State Police Officer Donald Stalcup testified that defendant read the statement he gave to police at the ...