Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. 97 CR 20768 The Honorable Henry R. Simmons, Judge Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Cohen
Following a jury trial, defendant Javell Ivory was found legally accountable (720 ILCS 5/5-2(c) (West 2000)) for two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm (720 ILCS 5/12-4.2(a)(1) (West 1996)) and two counts of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(3) (West 1996)). Defendant was sentenced to consecutive terms of 30 years' imprisonment on each charge of aggravated battery with a firearm and sentenced to natural life imprisonment for each charge of first degree murder. Defendant appeals, arguing: (1) the State failed to prove defendant guilty of the crimes charged beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) defendant was prejudiced by the admission into evidence of certain weapons and ammunition; (3) the trial court erred in allowing inadmissible hearsay evidence; (4) the trial court erred in permitting testimony that one of the murder victims left behind a child; (5) defendant was deprived of his right to a fair trial by improper prosecutorial comment comparing defendant to an animal; and (6) the trial court's order that defendant's sentences be served consecutively violates the rule announced in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 147 L. Ed. 2d 435, 120 S. Ct. 2348 (2000). For the following reasons, we affirm.
The evidence presented at trial revealed that a street gang known as the Mafia Insane Vice Lords controls an area just west of Cicero Avenue along Adams Street in Chicago. A rival gang known as the Undertaker Vice Lords controls an area east of Cicero Avenue along Adams Street. On June 22, 1997, Joshua Thomas, Salada Smith, Robert Carr and Derrick Wandrick were gathered around Carr's automobile talking at a gas station located on the northeast corner of Cicero Avenue and Adams Street when a group drove by in a van and began shooting. Thomas and Smith were killed; Carr and Wandrick were wounded.
Detective Dominick Rizzi testified that he and his partner, Detective Alan Jaglowski, were the lead detectives investigating the shooting. After receiving information regarding possible suspects early on June 24, 1997, Detectives Rizzi and Jaglowski located and spoke with Paris Williams. Over defendant's objection, Detective Rizzi testified that after speaking with Williams, he and Detective Jaglowski "proceeded to several locations in the neighborhood and *** learned of addresses of possible offenders." Defendant, Sherron Dillon, Darnell Foxx, and Tyreece Roberts (all members of the Mafia Insane Vice Lords) were arrested in connection with the shooting. Kevin Tucker, a fifth Mafia Insane Vice Lord, was apprehended a year later.
At approximately 10 a.m. on June 24, 1997, Detective Jaglowski spoke with defendant. Defendant told Jaglowski that at some time prior to the shooting in the instant case defendant was present with a group of individuals at a beef stand when an individual arrived who wanted to become a member of the Mafia Insane Vice Lords. According to Jaglowski, defendant indicated that the group at the beef stand was "assigned to go steal a van" so that the van could be used to "roll on another gang." Jaglowski testified that to "roll on another gang" meant to hunt for other gang members. Defendant admitted to Detective Jaglowski that he participated in stealing a van and later learned that the van which he had helped steal was used for the shooting in the instant case. Defendant told Jaglowski that he was a member of the Conservative Vice Lords street gang and denied being present for the shooting.
At approximately 4 p.m. on June 24, 1997, Detective Rizzi spoke with defendant. Over defendant's objection, Detective Rizzi testified that he informed defendant that he had just spoken with Roberts and Dillon. After Detective Rizzi gave defendant "a summary or brief review of some of the facts" that he learned in his conversations with Roberts and Dillon, defendant admitted to Detective Rizzi that he had gotten "into a van with some of his friends and they were going to do a shooting." Defendant told Detective Rizzi that Roberts drove the van, Foxx (the front seat passenger) was armed with an Intertech 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol, and defendant, Dillon and Tucker were in the backseat. The group drove to Tucker's home where Tucker picked up an S.K.S. rifle. The group then proceeded to the corner of Cicero Avenue and Adams Street. After confirming the presence of an Undertaker Vice Lord, Foxx and Tucker began shooting.
At approximately 11 p.m. that evening, Assistant State's Attorney (ASA) Thomas Mahoney and Detective Rizzi spoke with defendant regarding the shooting. At the conclusion of the conversation, ASA Mahoney told defendant that they could memorialize their discussion either by preparing a handwritten statement or by arranging to have a court reporter record and transcribe the conversation. Defendant opted for a handwritten statement.
ASA Mahoney and Detective Rizzi met with defendant again at approximately 3:30 a.m. on June 25, 1997, to prepare the handwritten statement. ASA Mahoney first spoke with defendant alone to ask whether defendant had any complaints about his treatment by the police. Defendant denied having any complaints. Detective Rizzi then entered the room and ASA Mahoney handwrote a summary of the 11 p.m. conversation. After writing out the statement, ASA Mahoney first had defendant read some paragraphs aloud to verify that defendant was able to read and was able to decipher ASA Mahoney's handwriting. Then ASA Mahoney read the statement aloud and defendant was given the opportunity to make any changes or corrections that he wished. ASA Mahoney, Detective Rizzi, and defendant each signed at the bottom of each page after corrections were made.
Defendant's written statement was read aloud to the jury at trial and reads, in pertinent part as follows:
"[Defendant] states that he is seventeen years old and his birth date is January 15, 1980. [Defendant] states that he can read and write English and that he is going into the twelfth grade at Von Steuben High School in Chicago.
[Defendant] states he's a member of the Mafia Insane Vice Lords Street Gang. [Defendant] states that his nickname is Vello. [Defendant] states that he lives at 4914 West Monroe on the first floor.
[Defendant] states that on June 22, 1997 he was with some other Mafia Insane Vice Lords out in front of his house at 4914 West Monroe. [Defendant] states that Kevin Tucker whose nickname is K.E., Darnell Foxx, whose nickname is Buggy, Sherron Dillon, whose nickname is Ron, Tyreece Roberts, whose nickname is Half Pint, were outside at about 12:30 a.m.
[Defendant] states that he was carrying a loaded .22 caliber pistol when he was outside. [Defendant] states that Buggy and Kevin Tucker wanted to shoot some Undertaker Vice Lords. [Defendant] states that Buggy had driven by the gas station at Cicero and Adams and saw some Undertaker Vice Lords in the lot.
[Defendant] states that the Mafia Insane Vice Lords and the Undertake Vice Lords are rivals. [Defendant] states that the Mafia Insane Vice Lords and the Undertaker Vice Lords have been fighting for about four months.
[Defendant] states that after Buggy drove by the gas station Buggy, Kevin Tucker, Sherron Dillon, Half Pint and himself went into a van which was parked nearby. [Defendant] states that he had his gun with him.
[Defendant] states that Buggy had a Tech .9 millimeter gun and sat in the front. [Defendant] states that Kevin Tucker drove the van over to his house on Quincy and went to his grandmother's on the first floor. [Defendant] states that Kevin Tucker went to the basement and came out with a S.K.S. rifle in a garbage bag.
[Defendant] states that he waited in the van with Buggy, Half Pint, and Sherron Dillon. [Defendant] states that Kevin Tucker got in the back of the van and took the S.K.S. rifle out of the bag. [Defendant] states that Half drove the van over to Adams ...