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People v. Chanthaloth

January 12, 2001


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Ogle County. No. 95--CF--0046 Honorable Stephen C. Pemberton, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Hutchinson

In June 1995 defendant, Vilaysanh Chanthaloth, was charged by indictment with the offenses of first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9--1(a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3) (West 1994)), residential burglary (720 ILCS 5/19--3 (West 1994)), and home invasion (720 ILCS 5/12--11(a)(2) (West 1994)). Following a jury trial, the jury acquitted defendant of the murder charges but found him guilty of committing the offenses of residential burglary and home invasion. The trial court sentenced defendant to an extended 40-year prison term on the conviction of the offense of home invasion and a consecutive 4-year term on the conviction of the offense of residential burglary. Defendant appeals his convictions and sentences. We affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand.

The victim in the present case is Bryce Dauenbaugh, who was 74 years old, suffered from diabetes, poor eyesight, and high blood pressure, and took insulin injections and other medications. His left leg had been amputated approximately four to five inches below the knee. The victim kept cash and important papers in a steel box in the bedroom of his home; he also kept two rifles and a handgun in the house. During the early morning hours of February 17, 1995, defendant and two others entered the victim's residence, beat the victim, and took his cash and weapons. The victim died as a result of the beating.

Lance Dauenbaugh, the victim's son, testified at trial that, one or two weeks prior to the victim's death, he looked in the box and observed that it contained approximately $3,600 in cash, mostly in $100 bills. In February 1995 Lance was planning a vacation in Florida. During his absence, he arranged for a friend, Teresa O'Connor, to look after his father.

Teresa O'Connor testified that she checked in on the victim while Lance Dauenbaugh was in Florida. On February 16, 1995, O'Connor stopped in to see the victim and stayed for approximately 15 minutes. The following day she went to the victim's house at approximately 4 p.m. As she entered the house, she noticed that the house was cold and papers were strewn on the floor. She could see a metal box and a screwdriver on the kitchen table. O'Connor called out the victim's name and, receiving no response, called 911. She remained at the victim's house until the police arrived. On cross-examination, O'Connor recalled that the victim did not lock his doors.

Richard Wilkinson, Ogle County chief deputy sheriff, testified that on February 21, 1995, he and Officer Clint Myers interviewed defendant. Wilkinson noticed that defendant's hands were swollen and bruised; defendant told him that he had a fight with his girlfriend. Wilkinson told defendant that he had earlier spoken with Daniel Weeks, another suspect, and recounted Weeks's version of the events to defendant. Defendant agreed to give an audiotaped statement to Wilkinson.

Defendant's statement reflected that, on the night of February 16, 1995, he and Jayson Spriggle were in a bar until 1:30 a.m. While at the bar, defendant and Spriggle played pool and drank alcohol. He and Spriggle left the bar because defendant ran out of money. Spriggle told defendant that he wanted to get some money and that he knew of a place where he could get money. Spriggle told defendant that he did not know where it was but that Weeks knew where it was. After leaving the bar, they picked up Weeks because he knew where the victim lived. Defendant told the officers that he was "so drunk man."

While they were talking about the money, defendant asked Spriggle whether it would be necessary to hurt the man. Spriggle responded that they would just go in. After they picked up Weeks, they drove to the victim's house. Defendant told the officers that Weeks was "straight," but that he and Spriggle were "wasted big time."

When they arrived at the victim's house, the door was open. Weeks entered first because he was familiar with the house. The victim awoke and asked who was there. The victim saw defendant, and defendant told Weeks and Spriggle that the victim needed to be put in a room. Defendant told the officers that he was not abusive to the victim, but as he attempted to tie up the victim with wires from the vacuum cleaner, the victim was screaming, so defendant hit him twice. Spriggle also hit the victim; they all tried to tie up the victim but were unsuccessful. They were unable to move the victim into the bathroom but only to the side of the bathroom. When asked who hit the victim, defendant told the officers that he thought Spriggle hit him with the gun. Defendant also told the officers that no one kicked the victim and no weapons were involved. Defendant, Spriggle, and Weeks left with guns and approximately $3,000 cash, which they divided equally. Upon leaving the scene, defendant drove into a ditch. Because of the accident, defendant needed to replace the windshield and trade tires.

Officer Myers testified that he responded to a 911 call and proceeded to the victim's house. When he entered the victim's residence, he noticed clothes in the hallway that appeared to be stained with blood, some shoe prints, and blood on the tile floor. He saw the victim with his head and shoulder area up against the bathroom door and his leg propped up against the bath tub. The victim's body contained bruises to his back area as well as some type of trauma to the skull area. The victim was covered in blood, and a shirt was tied off to the toilet seat. There was also an electric cord under the victim.

The State's next witness was Mary Hopp, who testified that, between 3:30 and 4 a.m. on February 17, she was delivering copies of the Rockford Register Star. During her route, she noticed a car in the field. She stated that the car was "light colored" and there were some people in front of the car. She said the car was approximately 100 feet from the road. She continued her route and called the police to get them some help.

Anisa Jackowski, defendant's girlfriend, testified that, on the night of February 16, 1995, she and defendant had an argument. She went into the bathroom, and defendant pounded on the bathroom door "really hard" several times. Defendant left, and when Jackowski went to bed at approximately 11 p.m., defendant had not yet returned. She awoke at approximately 5:30 a.m. when she heard a "thumping noise" coming from the basement. Jackowski went down to the basement and she saw shoes and clothes in the dryer. Defendant and Spriggle were present. Jackowski went back to bed and woke up at 9 a.m. Defendant and Spriggle were still in the house. She noticed that the car, which belonged to defendant's mother, was in the driveway and had a cracked windshield. Defendant and Spriggle left in the car, and when they returned a couple of hours later, the windshield was fixed.

Jackowski further testified that defendant was acting differently and was quieter than usual. When she asked him why he was behaving differently, defendant recounted to her what had happened. Defendant told Jackowski that they took approximately $3,000 and split it three ways. Defendant showed her eight $100 bills.

Jackowski testified that defendant told her he needed to dispose of his clothes and guns and she offered to help him. She saw defendant try unsuccessfully to burn some gloves. They also drove toward Wisconsin, where they threw the guns in a river near Beloit, Wisconsin. She told defendant that, if questioned, she would say she was with him at the time of the incident. She also noticed that his nose was bruised and had some blood on it and his hand looked swollen. Defendant further told her that Spriggle struck the victim with a rifle. Defendant told her that ...

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