Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 94-CF-727 Honorable Michael J. Burke, Judge, Presiding
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Grometer
Defendant, Abraham P. Abraham, was convicted of attempted first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/8--4 (West 1994)), aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12--4 (West 1994)), and armed violence (720 ILCS 5/33A--2 (West 1994)) following a jury trial in the circuit court of Du Page County. Defendant now raises two issues on appeal. First, he contends that the trial court exceeded the mandate of this court, issued following an earlier appeal, when it allowed the State to reinstate several charges that it had previously dismissed pursuant to a plea agreement. Second, defendant argues that the trial court erred in allowing the State to introduce into evidence several incidents of domestic violence that preceded the incident that forms the basis of defendant's current convictions. We affirm.
At the time of the incident at issue in the instant case, defendant and the victim, Brissy Abraham, were married. They had three children. Following an incident of domestic violence on July 4, 1993, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) became involved with the family. In March 1994, DCFS had defendant removed from the household because of his alcohol consumption, which had been escalating. Defendant had not been consuming much alcohol in the period following DCFS's initial involvement with the family. Defendant was boarded in a halfway house located in Aurora.
At trial, Brissy testified to the following events. On the morning of April 4, 1994, Brissy returned home from grocery shopping and found defendant in the living room. Defendant was well dressed, groomed, and did not appear intoxicated. She told him to leave several times. Defendant stated that he had come to kill the family and himself. Brissy attempted to call the police, but defendant removed the phone adapter from the wall and placed it in his shirt. She screamed and the three children came into the hall. Defendant then went to the kitchen, and the rest of the family followed. Defendant took a butcher knife out of a drawer. Brissy asked defendant not to kill them. Defendant was angry and pointed the knife at her. Brissy attempted to flee, but defendant blocked the door and stabbed her in the right eye. Brissy tried to grab the knife, but defendant twisted it, cutting her hand. She released the blade and ran to the garage. Defendant again stated that he was going to kill her. Defendant followed her to the garage and continued to stab her. Nita, Brissy's oldest daughter, attempted to intervene. Nita and Brissy were able to hold defendant down for a few minutes. Brissy then instructed Nita to leave so she would not be harmed. Thereafter, Brissy heard police sirens approaching. She walked out of the garage. She looked back and saw defendant pointing the knife at his stomach. Brissy estimated the stabbing took place over a period of between 15 and 20 minutes. She was taken to the hospital, where she was treated for stab wounds to her face, neck, and hand. Nita testified to a similar series of events.
Defendant did not testify. He interposed an insanity defense and presented only the testimony of Dr. Syed Ali. Additional facts relevant to the two issues raised will be set forth in our discussions of these issues.
A. Violation of This Court's Mandate
Defendant first contends that the trial court exceeded the mandate of this court by allowing the State to reinstate two charges after defendant successfully withdrew his guilty plea. Defendant was originally charged with one count of armed violence, one count of attempted murder, and two counts of aggravated battery. Defendant pleaded guilty to the armed violence count and, in exchange, the State dismissed the remaining counts. Subsequently, defendant moved to withdraw his guilty plea, contending he was taking psychotropic medications at the time his plea was entered and therefore entitled to a fitness hearing before his plea was accepted. The trial court denied defendant's motion. Defendant appealed and this court reversed. This court's opinion concluded with the following statement:
"For the foregoing reasons, we vacate the defendant's conviction of armed violence and remand the cause to the circuit court of Du Page County for further proceedings to allow the defendant to plead anew to the charge of armed violence." People v. Abraham, 293 Ill. App. 3d 801, 806 (1997).
In addition, the mandate issued by this court stated:
"BE IT REMEMBERED, that, to wit: On the 29th day of December, 1997, a Decision of the aforementioned Court was entered of record and in accordance with the views expressed in the attached Decision the judgment of the trial court is Vacated and Remanded."
Following remand, defendant entered a plea of not guilty to the armed violence count. The State then moved to reinstate the counts it had dismissed as part of its agreement with defendant. The trial court granted the State's motion. Defendant was convicted of attempted murder, aggravated battery, and armed violence. He received a sentence of 20 years' imprisonment on the attempted murder and armed violence counts and a sentence of 5 ...