The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Thomas
Docket Nos. 88508, 88513 cons.-Agenda 7-March 2001.
Defendant, Jon Roe Morgan (Jon), was charged with the murders of his grandparents, Keith and Lila Cearlock. At the time of the murders, Jon was 14 years old. Jon's case was transferred from juvenile court to the adult division of the criminal court. Following a jury trial, Jon was convicted of the second degree murder of Keith Cearlock and the first degree murder of Lila Cearlock. Jon was sentenced to consecutive prison terms of 58 years for the first degree murder conviction and 17 years for the second degree murder conviction, for a total of 75 years imprisonment.
On appeal, the appellate court affirmed Jon's second degree murder conviction, reversed Jon's first degree murder conviction, and remanded for a new trial as to the murder of Lila Cearlock. 307 Ill. App. 3d 707. Jon and the State each filed petitions for leave to appeal the appellate court's decision. See 177 Ill. 2d R. 315. This court granted both petitions and consolidated the appeals.
On April 27, 1995, around 8:30 p.m., officers responded to a report of shots fired at Seventh and Washington Streets in Lincoln, Illinois. Upon arriving at the scene, Officer Tim Kerns observed an elderly woman lying face down in the front yard of 1206 Seventh Street, with a gunshot wound in her back. Inside the home, Officer Kerns saw an elderly man lying on his back with a gunshot wound in his left temple. The man and woman, who later died of their injuries, were identified as Keith and Lila Cearlock.
After the crime scene had been secured with tape around the perimeter of the house, one of the officers, Deputy Sheriff Bob Spickard, noticed a young man, later identified as Jon, walking across the grass and through the crime scene tape. Spickard ordered Jon to stop, but Jon nonetheless approached Spickard and handed him a gun and a box of bullets. Jon said to Spickard, "I did it. I killed them." Upon hearing this, Spickard took Jon to the front of the house, where Detective Michael Harberts and other officers were standing. Spickard told Harberts that Jon had turned over the gun and ammunition and had admitted to the shooting. Harberts then asked Jon, "Why did you shoot these two people?" Jon responded, "They pissed me off. I couldn't take it anymore so I shot them." Harberts then instructed Officer Kerns to arrest Jon. Jon was handcuffed and placed inside a squad car. Before being transported to the Logan County jail, Jon was taken out of the squad car two separate times so that witnesses could identify him. At the jail, the officers learned that Jon was 14 years old.
Around 9:05 p.m., Harberts interviewed Jon. Jon told Harberts that the deceased were his grandparents and that they were his legal guardians. Harberts attempted to tape record the interview, but later discovered that the tape had not recorded. With Jon's consent, Harberts then interviewed Jon a second time.
At trial, Jon testified that, on the day of the shootings, he came home from school and fell asleep on his bed. Keith awakened Jon around 6:30 p.m., demanding an explanation concerning a detention for tardiness that Jon had received. Keith screamed at Jon for 10 to 15 minutes. Lila also yelled at Jon about the detentions. Keith then directed Jon to get Keith's razor strap, told Jon to bend over and grab his ankles, and, using all his strength, hit Jon with the razor strap across his buttocks five times. Keith and Lila then continued to yell at Jon, so Jon yelled back at them. Keith then swung his fist at Jon. Jon jumped out of the way and ran to the bathroom.
Jon went into the bathroom, then went to Keith's closet shelf to get a gun to protect himself from Keith. Jon took the gun and a box of ammunition back to the bathroom and loaded eight bullets into the gun. At that point, Jon started thinking about killing himself. For some reason, Jon fired at a bottle of Tilex cleaner that was on the bathtub. Jon then stepped out of the bathroom and saw Lila screaming. Jon claimed that although he then became scared, he still was not thinking about killing his grandparents.
Jon saw Keith coming around the corner and could see that Keith was very angry. Thinking that Keith was going to beat him to death, Jon lifted the gun and shot Keith so that Keith could not get to him. After Jon shot Keith, Lila started to turn around and run toward the front door. Jon thought Lila was just as dangerous as Keith because Keith beat Jon only when Lila pressured Keith to do so. Jon followed Lila as she started to run out the front door and shot Lila in the back. Lila managed to make it out the front door, but collapsed in the front yard. Jon followed Lila out the door and attempted to shoot her again, but his gun jammed.
Jon then went back inside the house and broke the lock on the door to Lila's room in order to look for her gun. When he could not find Lila's gun, Jon changed his clothes and left the house, still carrying Keith's gun and the box of bullets. Jon walked toward a friend's house and, as he was walking, attempted to unjam the gun. The gun accidentally discharged two times. Jon testified that he walked to his friend's house because he wanted some help and needed to talk to someone. When he learned that his friend, Steve Powell, was not home, he decided to walk back home. Jon testified that he felt he needed some help and thought that the police would be at his house and could help him. Jon said that he returned home in order to turn himself in for the shootings.
Testimony concerning Jon's upbringing revealed that Jon was born on August 20, 1980, to Glenda and Roe Morgan. Roe drank heavily and was physically abusive toward his children. When Jon was in kindergarten in Virginia, he was referred for a psychological evaluation for behavior problems at school, including impulsiveness, aggressiveness, and hyperactivity. Jon was hospitalized at the Psychiatric Institute of Richmond (the Psychiatric Institute) from March 31, 1986, through May 16, 1986. Jon was diagnosed as suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and depression. Jon was prescribed an antidepressant to target his depression and hyperactivity.
Jon was admitted to the Psychiatric Institute a second time on February 18, 1987, where he remained until March 29, 1987. Jon's discharge summary indicated that Glenda claimed Jon had become so aggressive that he was unmanageable. Jon was defiant toward parental authority, had dropped his newborn sister on the floor, and was aggressive toward his other siblings. Jon again was diagnosed with ADD and depression. Jon continued taking his antidepressant medication both during his hospitalization and upon discharge. Following Jon's second discharge from the Psychiatric Institute, Glenda Ashworth decided to send Jon to live with her parents, Keith and Lila Cearlock, in Lincoln, Illinois. At the time, the marriage of Glenda and Roe was breaking up, and Glenda felt that the Cearlocks offered a more stable home. Jon had no contact with his father from the time of his parents' divorce until his arrest for the Cearlocks' murders.
Jon moved in with the Cearlocks when he was seven years old and began attending school at Park Meadows Baptist Church and Academy (Park Meadows). The Cearlocks and the principal of Park Meadows agreed that Jon should be taken off his medication. Jon testified that, when he got into trouble at Park Meadows, he would receive detentions or was paddled by the principal. Jon also testified that Keith frequently beat him with a razor strap, usually at the urging of Lila.
Jon moved back home with Glenda, now remarried to Linwood Ashworth, for his fifth- and sixth-grade school years. Linwood, however, began drinking and became physically abusive toward Jon and his sisters, so Glenda sent Jon back to Lincoln to live with the Cearlocks. Jon testified that Keith and Lila had a very poor relationship and slept in separate bedrooms. Jon also testified that Keith and Lila were negative and constantly criticized Jon. Keith frequently told Jon if he ever fought back when Keith was beating him, Keith would kill Jon while Jon was sleeping. Jon believed Keith.
When Jon returned to the Cearlocks' home the second time, Jon again attended Park Meadows. Jon did well in school and was on the honor roll nearly every quarter. However, on February 7, 1995, Jon was expelled from Park Meadows after another student saw Jon kissing a girl outside the girl's house. According to school policy, students could be expelled for kissing. Despite the policy, Jon initially was told that he could serve a suspension. Jon refused to agree to the terms of the suspension. The principal of Park Meadows tried to arrange for Jon to attend a school in Oklahoma, but Keith would not agree. After Keith later changed his mind about the Oklahoma school, Jon refused to go.
Following Jon's expulsion, Glenda asked Keith to bring Jon home. Keith drove Jon to Virginia, but before Jon arrived, Glenda changed her mind and decided that she could not afford to have Jon in her home. When Keith and Jon arrived in Virginia, Glenda told Jon that he could not stay. Jon was very upset with this news. Keith and Jon returned to Lincoln, and Jon attended the public high school from March 17, 1995, until the time of the murders.
At his trial, Jon testified that he did not tell the police that Keith beat him because he did not want to disrespect his grandparents and did not want to reveal his personal problems. Jon admitted that he did not bring up the beatings until he met with Dr. Robert Chapman, who interviewed Jon at the request of the State to determine Jon's fitness to stand trial. Jon also agreed that he never told Harberts that Keith had threatened to kill him.
As noted, Jon was convicted of the first degree murder of Lila Cearlock and the second degree murder of Keith Cearlock. Jon appealed his convictions to the appellate court. In that appeal, Jon claimed that: (1) it was improper to try him as an adult; (2) certain statements were admitted into evidence erroneously; (3) the trial court erroneously excluded testimony concerning prior violent conduct by the Cearlocks; (4) the trial court erred in refusing to dismiss the felony murder counts; and (5) he should have received second degree murder instructions with respect to the felony- murder counts. 307 Ill. App. 3d at 708-09.
The appellate court agreed with Jon that his initial statement to Harberts at the scene of the crime should have been suppressed. See 307 Ill. App. 3d at 710 (unpublished material under Supreme Court Rule 23). The appellate court also agreed that Jon could not be found guilty of felony murder where the underlying felonies did not have an independent felonious purpose. 307 Ill. App. 3d at 712-15. In addition, the appellate court held that Jon should have received second degree murder instructions as to the charges of felony murder. 307 Ill. App. 3d at 715-17. Finally, the appellate court agreed with Jon that the trial court had improperly excluded the testimony of Glenda and Dr. Hart concerning Glenda's childhood. See 307 Ill. App. 3d at 710 (unpublished material under Supreme Court Rule 23). The appellate court affirmed Jon's conviction for the second degree murder of Keith, reversed his conviction for the first degree murder of Lila, and remanded for a new trial.
We first address the issues raised by Jon in his appeal. In this court, Jon again contends that his transfer from juvenile court was erroneous. Jon also argues that his motion to suppress the statements he made while in police custody should have been granted.
TRANSFER FROM JUVENILE COURT
Jon's transfer hearing took place over three days and included the testimony of seven witnesses. At the transfer hearing, Detective Harberts testified on behalf of the State. Harberts testified that after he asked Jon why he had shot the people, Harberts told another officer to place Jon under arrest. At the time, Harberts did not know Jon's age. At the jail, Harberts read Jon his Miranda rights, and Jon told Harberts what had happened that evening.
Jon explained that he had received a detention that day for tardiness, and his grandparents were complaining to him about the detention. Jon became angry because his grandparents kept going on about the detention, so after several minutes of criticism, he went into the bathroom. He then left the bathroom and went to his grandfather's bedroom to get his grandfather's gun and ammunition. Jon took the gun and the ammunition back into the bathroom and loaded the gun. Jon saw a Tilex bottle sitting on the bathtub and decided to shoot it.
After Jon shot the Tilex bottle, he walked out of the bathroom and down the hall toward the living room. Jon's grandmother, Lila, was in the living room and saw Jon with the gun in his right hand. Lila screamed and backed up. Jon's grandfather, Keith, then came around the corner quickly. As Keith's head came into view, Jon raised the gun and shot Keith in the left side of the head. Keith fell to the floor and Lila attempted to run out the front door. Jon shot Lila in the upper left shoulder and the upper left area of her back. Lila made it out the door, but after going several steps, she fell down by a tree. Jon told Harberts that he chased Lila and attempted to pull the trigger again, but the gun jammed. Jon stood over Lila where she had fallen and attempted to unjam the gun so he could continue shooting her.
Jon then went back into the house to get Lila's gun because he wanted to shoot her some more. Jon could not find the gun so he went into his bedroom and changed his clothes. Jon left the house with the gun and the bullets and went to his friend Steve Powell's home. Jon discovered that Steve Powell was not home, so he decided to return to his grandparents' home and give himself up.
Harberts asked Jon if he recalled what he had said when Harberts asked Jon why he had shot the two people. Jon said he recalled saying that "they pissed me off. I couldn't take it anymore, so I shot them." Harberts then asked Jon if he previously had thought about killing his grandparents. Jon said that he had thought about it a few times. Harberts asked Jon if he had figured out how he would kill his grandparents, and Jon replied that he would use a gun. When Harberts asked Jon if he had thought about killing other people, Jon responded that he had, and said that he would use a gun. Jon explained that he thought about killing other people if people made him mad. Harberts asked Jon if Jon would want to kill him if he made Jon mad. Jon said that he would not want to kill Harberts if he made him mad one time, but if Harberts made him mad several times, Jon would want to kill him.
Jon denied any history of mental illness in his family and said that he had not consumed any illegal drugs or alcohol. After Harberts concluded his interview with Jon, he discovered that the tape of the interview did not record and asked Jon if he would do a second interview. Jon agreed, and a tape was made of the second interview.
During the second interview, Harberts again read Jon his Miranda rights. Jon generally repeated the statements he had made in the first interview. Jon said that he did not start out the evening planning to kill his grandparents. He began thinking about it when his grandfather was talking to him and telling him that people would not hire him because he was late and that teachers would not like him because he was tardy. Jon said that at that time, "it entered my mind that I was getting sick of this." Jon thought about it for 15 minutes before he went and got the gun. Harberts asked Jon if Jon remembered telling Harberts during the first interview that Jon had thought about killing other people. The following exchange then took place:
"[Harberts]: When I talked to you earlier you told me that at times you thought about killing other people, can you tell me about that?
[Harberts]: You don't remember saying that?
[Jon]: I don't want to talk about that."
Harberts further testified that on May 10, 1995, he had a conversation with Pastor Davis, the pastor of the church that Jon and his grandparents attended. Pastor Davis told Harberts that, on April 2, 1995, he had a conversation with Keith Cearlock and asked Keith how Jon was doing since he had been expelled. Keith told Pastor Davis that Jon was not doing well and that Lila was afraid that Jon was going to physically harm her. Pastor Davis said that Keith told Jon that if Jon hit him, Keith would not hit back, but instead would get Jon while he was sleeping.
Pastor Thomas Bryant then testified on behalf of the State. Bryant is the associate pastor and the principal of Park Meadows. Bryant testified that, on April 19, 1995, he, his wife, and Lila Cearlock were in his wife's office when Lila told them that Jon had slammed her hand down on the table and had shoved her up against the wall during a dispute over a television remote. On April 22, 1995, Bryant had a conversation with Keith concerning the incident with the remote and told Keith that Keith needed to discipline Jon or get him out of the home before somebody was hurt. Keith responded that he "sure wouldn't paddle" Jon because Jon was too big and strong. Bryant testified that, several times over the preceding year, Keith mentioned that he did not spank Jon anymore because he felt Jon was too big.
Bryant testified that, on February 7, 1995, Jon had been expelled from Park Meadows. Bryant explained that there were several incidents leading to the expulsion. Jon had a long history of discipline problems. After Jon was expelled, however, a group of students asked Bryant to reconsider the expulsion. Bryant told the students that they could ask Jon about coming back to school. The students then spoke with Jon and told Bryant that he had said, "I have been hurt all my life. I'm not going to be hurt anymore. From now on I will do the hurting." Bryant also had a conversation with Jon about returning to school. When Jon refused to agree to the conditions necessary for his return to school, Bryant told Jon not to turn his back on God. Jon responded that he intended "to commit every sin that I want to commit. I'm going to do anything and everything I want to do, and when I hit rock bottom, then I will call on God."
The next witness to testify on behalf of the State was Kim Turner, a juvenile probation officer for Logan County. Turner prepared a social investigation report of Jon based upon police reports, interviews with Jon and his mother and father, psychiatric information, and school records. Turner noted that Jon had been hospitalized in the Psychiatric Institute when he was five years old and again when he was six years old. Aside from an evaluation concerning his fitness to stand trial, however, Jon had no other psychiatric treatment or evaluations since he was six years old.
Turner said that, when Jon first moved in with his grandparents, records showed that Jon's mother said Jon had become so aggressive that he was unmanageable. The discharge summary from Jon's first stay at the Psychiatric Institute indicated that Jon "was assaultive toward his classmates, constantly goading and threatening them." Jon also had admitted that he could harm his mother. Jon's discharge summary from his second stay at the Psychiatric Institute noted that Jon had been "quite hostile, threatening, and even aggressive toward peers." In addition, Jon had been aggressive toward his siblings.
Turner testified that she did not believe that Jon had an appropriate support system available to him, as his grandparents had been killed and his parents were not an option for placement. Turner checked with a program that takes more violent offenders, but the director of admissions indicated that Jon would not be appropriate for their facility. Turner said that, based upon Jon's lack of support, the lack of a treatment plan, and the nature of his criminal offenses, Jon's chance of rehabilitation was unlikely. She did not think that a plan of rehabilitation could be developed, in light of Jon's inability to change his behavior in the past.
Turner testified that, if Jon was committed to the Department of Corrections through the juvenile court, he would go to the reception center for the Juvenile Department of Corrections, which provides treatment for any psychological or psychiatric disorders. The facility also would be able to deal with Jon's ADD. If Jon was sentenced to the Department of Corrections as an adult, he still would first go to the Juvenile Department of Corrections, and would be held there until the age of 21 unless there was some problem. If Jon was a security risk or a real problem, he could be transferred to the adult Department of Corrections at age 17 or age 18. If Jon was sentenced through the juvenile system, he would be released at the age of 21. Turner said that the adult division of the Department of Corrections had the same services available as the juvenile division as far as treatment for any psychiatric or psychological disorders.
In Turner's interview with Jon, Jon told her that his grandfather's usual form of punishment was grounding, although in the past his grandfather had used a strap to spank him. Jon did not tell Turner that his grandfather had spanked him on the night of the killings. On cross-examination, Turner said that, in preparing her report, she took into account the fact that Jon had no prior history with the police.
Jon's mother, Glenda Ashworth, then testified on his behalf. Glenda said that Jon was put on medication for his ADD after both of his stays at the Psychiatric Institute. The Cearlocks did not like the fact that Jon was on medication and took Jon off his medication. Glenda said that Jon told her that on the night of the shootings Lila had been nagging him all night about his detention. Keith then told Jon that he would never amount to anything, and Jon smarted off. Keith then hit Jon five times with his razor strap. Jon then got the gun and went into the bathroom. While in the bathroom, the gun went off, and the Cearlocks came running down the hall. Jon then stepped into the hallway and shot them.
In addition to the foregoing testimony, a report prepared by Dr. Robert Chapman was admitted into evidence at the transfer hearing. Dr. Chapman had conducted a psychiatric evaluation of Jon to determine his fitness to stand trial. Jon told Dr. Chapman that his grandparents constantly were negative and complaining. Jon said that his grandparents did not like Jon's father because Jon's father was not "Christian perfect." Dr. Chapman noted that the records from the Psychiatric Institute showed that Jon had been in the institute for three months when he was five years old and for two months when he was six years old. Jon was placed on antidepressant medication during both stays.
Jon told Dr. Chapman about the events leading to the murders. Jon told Dr. Chapman that, after Keith hit Jon with the razor strap, Jon went into the bathroom, left the bathroom to get Keith's gun, and then returned to the bathroom and began loading the gun out of anger. Jon then shot a Tilex bottle and came out of the bathroom again. Lila saw Jon and began backing away. Jon told Dr. Chapman, "I knew I had to do something or they would call the police." Jon said he panicked, and when Keith came around the corner, Jon shot him. As Lila turned to run, Jon shot her in the back, then tried to shoot her some more but the gun jammed. Jon claimed that although it had been hard for him to remember he had received a spanking from Keith on the day of the murders because he tried to put that "stuff" out of his mind, he later remembered the spanking and told his attorney.
In his interview with Dr. Chapman, Jon denied that he had ever thought about killing his grandparents before. Jon claimed that he retrieved Keith's gun in order to shoot himself. After Jon impulsively shot the Tilex bottle, he knew he "had to do something" because he believed Keith would kill him. Jon said that he shot Lila because he "knew he had to shoot her to get everybody's attention." Jon also admitted to intrusive thoughts of shooting the people at church. Dr. Chapman opined that Jon had not acted in a premeditated manner at the time of the shootings, but instead had acted in a state of sudden and intense passion.
The decision to permit prosecution of a juvenile under the criminal law is a matter of judicial discretion, although that discretion is limited and controlled by the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (the Act) (705 ILCS 405/1-1 et seq. (West 1994)). People v. M.D., 101 Ill. 2d 73, 83 (1984). Under the provisions of the Act in effect at the time of Jon's transfer, a juvenile court judge could enter an order permitting a minor 13 years of age or older to be prosecuted under the criminal laws of the state if the judge found that it was "not in the best interests of the minor or of the public to proceed under this Act." 705 ILCS 405/5-4(3)(a) (West 1994) (repealed by Pub. Act 90-590, art. 2001, §2001-15, eff. January 1, 1999, now 705 ILCS 405/5-805 (West 2000)). Pursuant to section 5-4(3)(b) of the Act (705 ILCS 405/5-4(3)(b) (West 1994) (repealed by Pub. Act 90-590, art. 2001, §2001-15, eff. January 1, 1999, now 705 ILCS 405/5-805 (West 2000))), a trial court was to consider, among other matters, seven factors in reaching a decision on whether to prosecute a particular minor as an adult. M.D., 101 Ill. 2d at 83-84. Those seven factors were:
"(i) whether there is sufficient evidence upon which a grand jury may be expected to return an indictment; (ii) whether there is evidence that the alleged offense was committed in an aggressive and premeditated manner; (iii) the age of the minor; (iv) the previous history of the minor; (v) whether there are facilities particularly available to the Juvenile Court for the treatment and rehabilitation of the minor; (vi) whether the best interest of the minor and the security of the public may require that the minor continue in custody or under supervision for a period extending beyond his minority; [and] (vii) whether the minor possessed a deadly weapon when committing the alleged offense." 705 ILCS 405/5-4(3)(b) (West 1994).
Looking at the statutory factors, the juvenile court in this case found that the grand jury would be expected to return an indictment. The court also found that the alleged offenses had been committed in an aggressive and premeditated manner. Third, the court noted that, if Jon were four months older, he automatically would be transferred to adult court. With regard to Jon's history, the fourth factor, the court stated that Jon had an unusual and a sad life, and that his parents and grandparents had failed him by not seeing that his medication and his treatment for ADD were continued. The court next found that there were not any facilities unique to juveniles that were not available to adults, and that, in any event, even if Jon should be convicted in adult court, he first would go to the juvenile division. As to the sixth factor, whether it was in the interest of the minor and the public that custody continue past Jon's majority, the court observed that if Jon should be convicted in juvenile court, he would be released at age 21 whether or not he was rehabilitated. Finally, the court found that Jon did have a deadly weapon when committing the offenses. The court then stated that after balancing the statutory factors, along with the fact that if Jon "stood convicted of a couple first degree murders, that his sentence of mandatory imprisonment would be imposed," the court concluded that it was in the best interest of the public that Jon be transferred to the adult division of the courts. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the transfer from juvenile court to adult court.
As noted, Jon argues that the appellate court erred in affirming his transfer from juvenile court to the circuit court. Jon contends that the juvenile court abused its discretion in its consideration of the factors set forth in section 5-4 of the Act (705 ILCS 405/5-4 (West 1994)). Jon argues that a balancing of those factors weighs against transfer. Jon also maintains that the juvenile court misunderstood the sentence that would be imposed if Jon was tried and convicted as an adult.
It is clear that the purpose of a transfer proceeding is to balance the best interests of a juvenile offender, particularly as the offender's interests relate to his potential for rehabilitation, against society's legitimate interest in being protected from criminal victimization perpetrated by minors. People v. Clark, 119 Ill. 2d 1, 12 (1987). In striking this balance, a juvenile court judge is to weigh the facts of the alleged crime, particularly whether the crime was committed in an aggressive and premeditated manner. Clark, 119 Ill. 2d at 12.
Jon argues that the juvenile court judge in this case improperly considered that the crime had been committed in an aggressive and premeditated manner. Jon denies that there was evidence he had previously talked about killing his grandparents. In support of this argument, Jon notes that he was not lying in wait for his grandparents, that he actually was contemplating suicide when he retrieved the gun, and that he irrationally shot the Tilex bottle, causing him to panic and believe that Keith would kill him. Jon further claims there was a lack of planning as to how he was going to escape, evidenced by his changing of clothes and walking toward Steve Powell's house. Jon also cites two cases where a juvenile's acts were found to be premeditated, and notes that in those cases, in contrast to his case, the defendants planned the crime, armed themselves, and made specific plans to cover up ...