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People v. Jackson

September 24, 2002


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 97 CR 20529 Honorable Michael P. Toomin, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cahill


Defendant Demetrius Jackson was found guilty of home invasion, two counts of armed robbery and two counts of first degree murder for the deaths of Troy Davis and Lisa Johnson. Defendant was sentenced to concurrent sentences of natural life for the murder counts and concurrent 30-year prison terms for the armed robbery counts. Defendant argues on appeal that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to prove defendant accountable for first degree murder; (2) the court erred in giving a jury instruction mixing the concepts of accountability and felony murder; (3) the State's inflammatory argument and misstatement of the law prejudiced defendant; (4) the mittimus does not accurately reflect the oral judgments entered by the trial judge; (5) natural life sentences were imposed in violation of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 147 L. Ed. 2d 435, 120 S. Ct. 2348 (2000); and (6) the statute mandating natural life sentences is unconstitutional. We affirm.

Troy Davis and Lisa Johnson were discovered, fatally shot, in their apartment on the morning of August 4, 1997, by Lisa's mother, Ida Johnson, the victims' five-year-old son Jason and a neighbor, Dorian Neil. Troy was face down on the floor, hands tied behind his back with a telephone cord. He had been shot in the back of his head. Lisa was in the bedroom on the bed, also shot in the head. The victims' four-month-old son, Troy, Jr., was lying in a pool of blood next to Lisa's body, crying hoarsely. The apartment had been ransacked and several stereo components were missing. Troy's car was also missing, as well as a large amount of cash that Troy planned to give a co-worker to pay for repairs to a motorcycle that Troy damaged several days earlier.

About 8 p.m. on August 4, police officers pulled over a car matching the description of Troy's car. They arrested the driver, Tyrone Jones, who carried with him $505 and a small stereo remote control. After speaking with Jones, police searched for defendant and his brother, Omar Jackson. Officers also returned to Troy and Lisa's apartment and recovered a .380-caliber expended shell casing from under the bed.

Martese Wash testified at trial that he spent the evening with Troy on August 3, 1997, from 6:45 p.m. until 11:45 p.m. They drank beer, played cards and listened to the radio in Troy's apartment. Troy showed Martese a large amount of money, which Troy then put into his pocket. At 10 p.m., Lisa Johnson arrived with Troy, Jr., and went into the bedroom. Troy's car was still in the parking lot when Martese left.

When Martese learned that Troy and Lisa had been murdered, he went to the police station and spoke to police. He identified Troy's car and noticed that stereo equipment that had been in Troy's house the night before was now installed in the car. One of Troy's amplifiers was in the trunk. Martese denied that anyone else had been in Troy's apartment while he was there the night before.

On August 5, 1997, police officers obtained a warrant and went to defendant's home, where they arrested him. The officers searched the apartment and discovered a Bryco semiautomatic .380-caliber weapon and a .25-caliber semiautomatic weapon. A firearms examiner was unable to identify or eliminate the Bryco weapon as that used in the murders. The .25-caliber weapon did not fire the bullets recovered at the scene.

Detective Andrew Abbott gave defendant his Miranda warnings in the presence of another detective at about 3:30 p.m. at the police station. Abbott spoke with defendant for 15 minutes. At 5 p.m., defendant knocked on the interview room door and told Abbott that he wanted to talk about the investigation. Abbott spoke with defendant for about 45 minutes and then called an assistant State's Attorney.

Assistant State's Attorney Tom O'Malley arrived at the station at 11 p.m. He spoke to defendant about 12:30 a.m. O'Malley advised defendant of his Miranda rights and then spoke with defendant. O'Malley interviewed other witnesses and returned at 3:30 a.m. for another conversation with defendant. Defendant agreed to give a statement. O'Malley wrote down the statement, reviewed it with defendant and made changes at defendant's direction. Defendant, Abbott and O'Malley initialed the changes and signed each page of the statement. O'Malley read the statement back to defendant and had defendant read some of the statement to him.

Defendant told O'Malley that about 11:30 p.m. on August 3, 1997, Tyrone Jones told him he had a "crucial lick," which meant a good robbery. Tyrone had a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol and defendant had a .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol. They talked about going in and "laying the dude on the floor." On the way to 7423 South Yates Avenue, defendant gave Tyrone a glove and showed him a stocking cap that Tyrone could use. When they arrived at the apartment, Tyrone knocked on the door. A voice asked who it was and Tyrone answered "Ty." As the door opened, Tyrone pushed the door open with his shoulder and drew his gun. Tyrone yelled, "Where's the [expletive deleted] at?" Then he locked the door and the man who had answered the door lay face down on the floor with his arms spread. Tyrone waved his gun around and said, "Where's the loot or I'm going to kill you." Defendant heard a baby crying in another room. Tyrone went into the other room while defendant stayed with the man on the floor and told him "to be cool." Defendant heard Tyrone yell, "Give me the money." A female voice answered, "Don't kill me, don't kill my baby, take what you want." Tyrone came out of the room and handed defendant several folded bills, saying, "Take this, hold on to this." Defendant then told Tyrone, "Come on, let's go." Defendant left the apartment and went home.

Thirty minutes later Tyrone arrived at defendant's house and began telling defendant's brother, Omar Jackson, about the robbery. Tyrone said he "changed the people over," meaning that he killed the people they had robbed. Tyrone gave the .380-caliber pistol to Omar. Defendant took the money from his pocket and gave some to Tyrone. Defendant kept $800 and put it in his closet. The next day he spent $160 on a pair of Nike shoes as a birthday present for himself. Defendant's statement was published to the jury.

At trial, defendant testified that he turned 18 on August 4, 1997. After he was arrested, Detective Abbott questioned him several times but defendant did not respond. Defendant testified that he never had a conversation with Abbott about the murders, was not given the chance to contact anyone and was not given Miranda warnings.

Defendant also testified that he did not understand what the assistant State's Attorney meant when he said he was a prosecutor. Defendant stated that the assistant State's Attorney wrote out the statement while defendant was talking but he never read the whole statement to defendant. Defendant told the assistant State's Attorney that he went to pick up a package at an apartment at 74th Street and Yates Avenue with Omar and Tyrone and only stayed for a few minutes. He said no one had a gun and he did not know what happened ...

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