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People v. Graham

June 20, 2003

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
HENRY D. GRAHAM, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Vermilion County No. 00CF53 Honorable Claudia S. Anderson, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Steigmann

PUBLISHED

Following an October 2000 stipulated bench trial, the trial court convicted defendant, Henry D. Graham, of first degree murder (felony murder), home invasion, residential burglary, and attempt (robbery) (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(3), 12-11(a)(2), 19-3(a), 8-4(a), 18-1(a) (West 1998)). In May 2001, the court sentenced him to 20 years in prison on the felony-murder conviction, to be served concurrently with a sentence he was already serving. (The court did not enter judgment on the other convictions, having determined that they merged into defendant's conviction for felony murder.)

Defendant appeals, arguing that (1) the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress statements he made to police officers because those statements were elicited in violation of his right to counsel under both the fifth and sixth amendments; and (2) the State failed to prove him guilty of felony murder beyond a reasonable doubt. We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Pretrial Proceedings

In February 2000, the State charged defendant with seven counts of first degree murder: (1) counts I through IV charged defendant with the intentional or knowing murder of Peter Godels, who was 81 years old (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1), (a)(2) (West 1998)); and (2) counts V through VII charged defendant with the felony murder of Godels based on the forcible felonies of home invasion, residential burglary, and robbery, respectively (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(3), 12-11(a)(2), 19-3(a), 18-1(a) (West 1998)). The State also charged defendant with two counts of home invasion (counts VIII and IX), two counts of residential burglary (counts X and XI), and attempt (robbery) (count XII) (720 ILCS 5/12-11(a)(2), 19-3(a), 8-4(a), 18-1(a) (West 1998)).

In March 2000, defendant filed a motion to suppress statements he made to police officers following his arrest. In that motion, defendant alleged that (1) the officers did not inform him that he could speak with his retained attorney or advise his attorney that they were interviewing defendant; and (2) the officers refused his request to speak with "an attorney, Larry S. Mills."

At the June 2000 hearing on defendant's motion to suppress, Vermilion County sheriff's department investigator Todd Damilano testified that on February 1, 2000, he and Vermilion County sheriff's department investigator Kirk Miller interviewed defendant, who was in the Vermilion County jail on unrelated charges. After advising defendant of his Miranda rights (Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694, 86 S. Ct. 1602 (1966)), defendant waived those rights and agreed to make a statement about Godels' murder to Damilano and Kirk. At some point during the interview, defendant asked to speak with Mills, the Vermilion County State's Attorney. Damilano testified regarding defendant's request as follows:

"A. [Defendant] kept stating that he did not know why Josh Kruger [the other suspect in this case] was bringing [defendant's] name up into this matter. He asked me for clarification. I stated maybe Kruger wanted to help himself out in this matter.

[Defendant] asked me to clarify how Kruger would help himself out. I said well, possibly talking to the state's attorney.

[Defendant] said who is the state's attorney? I stated [Mills].

[Defendant] stated ['C]an [Mills] help me out in this situation?['] Stated--

Q. [Prosecutor:] What happened then?

A. There was a long pause. He stated get me Mills."

Kirk then left the interview room and spoke with Vermilion County sheriff's department chief investigator Gary Miller. A few minutes later, Kirk returned and told defendant that Mills was aware that defendant was speaking with the officers, and defendant could not talk with Mills "at that time." Damilano and Kirk then began questioning defendant again, and defendant ultimately made incriminating statements about his involvement in Godels' death.

Damilano further testified that defendant did not request to speak with an attorney other than Mills. Damilano did not know if defendant had an attorney on the unrelated charges. However, he acknowledged that all individuals who have been in jail for "over a day or two" have an attorney. Damilano also acknowledged that (1) it would not have been difficult to determine the name of defendant's attorney; and (2) he did not attempt to learn defendant's attorney's name or inform defendant that the officers could call his attorney.

Kirk testified that after defendant asked to speak with Mills, Gary told him that (1) Mills was aware that the officers were interviewing defendant; and (2) the officers would convey to Mills any information from the interview. Defendant did not ask to speak with an attorney other than Mills. Kirk assumed that defendant had an attorney on the unrelated charges. However, he did not ask defendant the name of his attorney.

Gary testified that when he was present during the February 1, 2000, interview, defendant did not ask to speak to an attorney other than Mills. Gary acknowledged that after he told defendant that Mills was not available, he did not inform defendant that he could have his attorney present during the interview. Gary stated that he believed that defendant wanted to speak with Mills "about a deal."

After considering the evidence and counsels' arguments, the trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress his statements to police. In so doing, the ...


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