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People v. Jones

June 18, 2001

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ISSAC JONES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 94 CR 20388 The Honorable Mary Ellen Coghlan, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cohen

Not Released For Publication

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ISSAC JONES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 94 CR 20388 The Honorable Mary Ellen Coghlan, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cohen

Defendant Issac Jones was indicted on two counts of first degree murder (720 ILCS5/9-1-A(1), (2) (West 1998)), and one count each of attempt (first degree murder) (720 ILCS 5/8-4 (West 1998)), aggravated battery with a firearm (720 ILCS 5/12-4.2-A(1) (West 1998)), aggravated discharge of a firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-1.2-A(2) (West 1998)) and aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-4-B(8) (West 1998)). *fn1 In November 1997, defendant was tried before a jury for the first degree murder of Maxine Parker and attempt (first degree murder) of Larry Thompson. The first trial resulted in a hung jury. Defendant waived his right to a jury for his second trial. The second trial, a bench trial, took place in May 1999. The court found defendant guilty of first degree murder, attempt (first degree murder) and aggravated battery with a firearm and sentenced him to consecutive prison terms of 26 years for first degree murder and 6 years for attempt (first degree murder). Defendant now appeals his convictions, asserting that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel predicated on counsel's failure to call an exculpatory witness at the bench trial. Defendant also claims that the trial court committed reversible error in imposing consecutive sentences predicated on the attempt (first degree murder) count. We modify defendant's sentence to run concurrently and otherwise affirm the judgment of the trial court.

 The evidence introduced at defendant's second trial reveals that on July 18, 1994, Larry Thompson was driving his blue Chevrolet Cavalier to a grocery store with his girlfriend, Maxine Parker, and his sister, Nellie Thompson. Maxine was in the front passenger seat and Nellie was in the back seat. As Larry drove west on Madison, the traffic slowed and a gray Pontiac Trans Am pulled up behind him. The occupants of the Trans Am began yelling and cursing at Larry telling him to get out of the way. Larry responded by yelling and cursing in return. This exchange lasted approximately two to four minutes.

Larry then proceeded down Madison toward Kedzie making a right turn onto Kedzie. He pulled into the right lane to let the Trans Am pass. Instead of passing, the Trans Am pulled alongside Larry's car firing five or six shots. As Larry ducked, one of the bullets grazed his right cheek. After the shooting subsided, Larry glanced over and saw that Maxine was slumped over and had blood coming from her left temple. Larry immediately drove to Cook County Hospital.

Detective Gail Maurovich of the Chicago Police Department was standing on the entrance ramp outside of the emergency room of Cook County Hospital at the time Larry drove up. Detective Maurovich observed Larry getting out of the vehicle and running into the emergency room. She then looked into the vehicle and noted two women in the car; one in the back seat and another slumped over in the front passenger's seat with blood underneath her nose and mouth area. Maxine was admitted to the hospital in critical condition and died two days later of a gunshot wound to the left side of the head.

Detective Maurovich conducted a brief interview with Larry. She noticed that Larry had a "grazed-type" gunshot wound on his right cheek bone. Larry's injury did not require medical attention. During the interview, Larry provided Detective Maurovich with a description of the offenders and the gray Trans Am.

On July 22, 1994, Detective Thomas O'Grady and his partner, Detective Gene Harris, were assigned to investigate the homicide of Maxine Parker. During the course of his investigation, Detective O'Grady determined that John Thompson (no relation to Larry), also known as "Scoobie," was the owner of the gray Pontiac Trans Am involved in the homicide. After a conversation with "Scoobie," *fn2 Detective O'Grady tried to locate a juvenile by the name of Ricky Brooks. It was later determined that Brooks was in police custody for an unrelated matter at the 11th District police station. Detective O'Grady interviewed Brooks with Brooks' mother present.

After speaking with Brooks, Detective O'Grady began looking for a man known as "Ike." It was later determined that "Ike" was in fact defendant Issac Jones. Detective O'Grady located defendant in the 2900 block of West Wilcox. Defendant was subsequently arrested at approximately 4:30 p.m. on July 22, 1994, and advised of his Miranda rights. Prior to transporting Defendant to the Area 4 police station, Detective O'Grady attempted to locate Lamont Winters at Winters' home. This attempt was unsuccessful, however, and Detective O'Grady took defendant to Area 4.

Upon arriving at Area 4, Detective O'Grady placed defendant in an interview room. Defendant was once again advised of his Miranda rights. Defendant told Detective O'Grady that he was not present during the shooting, but had been in the car prior to that time with Brooks and another man by the name of Lamont Winters. After conducting the interview, Detective O'Grady wrote an arrest report and placed defendant in the 11th District holding cell.

On July 23, 1994, Larry was called in to view a line-up at Area Four. Larry viewed the line-up and identified defendant as one of the occupants of the Trans Am during the traffic altercation and subsequent shooting on July 18, 1994. At the conclusion of the line-up, defendant was once again placed in an interview room. After advising defendant of his Miranda rights, Detective O'Grady informed defendant that one of the surviving victims from the blue Cavalier had identified him as one of the occupants in the Trans Am when the shooting occurred. Based on this information, defendant agreed to give a statement. In this second statement, defendant admitted that he was in the gray Trans Am when the shooting occurred. He stated that he was in the front passenger's seat, Brooks was in the driver's seat and Winters was in the back seat. Defendant further stated that Brooks attempted to force his way into traffic causing a male in a blue car to slam on his brakes. Brook's engaged in a verbal altercation with ...


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