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People v. Hubbard

June 27, 2003


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County. No. 00-CF-1269 Honorable Ann Callis, Judge, presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Chapman


In May 2001, a jury found the defendant, Courtney Hubbard, guilty of one count each of attempt (first-degree murder) (720 ILCS 5/8-4(a), 9-1(a)(1) (West 2000)) and aggravated criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12-13(a)(1), 12-14(a)(8) (West 2000)). The defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence against him that he claims was obtained as a result of an illegal stop. We affirm.


On May 17, 2000, at approximately 2:25 a.m., Madison County sheriff's deputies William Papa and Christopher Hoffestot were completing a traffic stop just north of the parking lot of the Piasa Pantry in Godfrey, Illinois, when they noticed the defendant drive into the parking lot in a blue Chevrolet Caprice. The defendant parked the Caprice and went into the Piasa Pantry to buy some apple juice. Almost immediately after the officers observed the defendant, they heard a radio transmission informing them that a shooting had occurred on Rocky Ford Road. The transmission did not include a physical description of the suspect or any other additional information. The Caprice had approached the Piasa Pantry from the north on Boy Scout Lane, the direction of Rocky Ford Road. Although someone coming from Rocky Ford Road could have avoided passing the Piasa Pantry on Boy Scout Lane by driving through one of the neighboring subdivisions, Boy Scout Lane was the main route from Rocky Ford Road out of Godfrey. There was very little traffic in the vicinity at that hour, and the defendant was the only motorist who had driven past the Piasa Pantry on Boy Scout Lane in the 10 minutes the officers had been stopped there. The officers decided to stop the defendant.

When the defendant got back into the Caprice and began to drive away, Deputy Papa stopped him while Deputy Hoffestot drove ahead to the home on Rocky Ford Road where the shooting had been reported. Deputy Papa explained to the defendant that he was stopping him because a shooting had occurred and that he was going to take the defendant to the scene of the crime and would release him if he had nothing to do with the shooting. He patted the defendant down for weapons, handcuffed him, and locked him in the back of the squad car. Deputy Papa ran the license plates on the Caprice through the dispatch computer as he drove to Rocky Ford Road, and he discovered that the car was registered to the victim.

Deputy Hoffestot arrived at the home on Rocky Ford Road from which the shooting had been reported. There, he spoke with the victim, who told him that she had been shot and raped. She told him that her assailant was a black man with braided red hair, that he was wearing a red T-shirt and dark, baggy pants, and that he had driven away in her car. The defendant matched this description. When Deputy Papa arrived with the defendant, the defendant was placed under arrest.

Later that morning, detectives Marc McLemore and Scott Sandidge questioned the defendant at the Madison County sheriff's department. There, the defendant gave a videotaped statement in which he confessed to having shot the complaining witness three times and told the detectives he could lead them to the gun he had used. The detectives drove him to Boy Scout Lane and recovered the gun where the defendant said it would be. The defendant later gave another videotaped statement in which he admitted to having had consensual sexual relations with the victim.

On April 26, 2001, the defendant filed a motion to suppress his confessions, any physical evidence discovered "directly or indirectly" as a result of his detention, and the testimony of any witnesses discovered as a result of his detention. At the May 1, 2001, suppression hearing, Deputies Papa and Hoffestot testified to the facts as stated above. The trial court denied the defendant's motion, stating that based on all the circumstances, the officers had a reasonable, articulable suspicion to detain the defendant for investigatory purposes.

At the trial, the complaining witness testified that she regularly purchased crack cocaine from the defendant, whom she knew only as "Redhead." On the night in question, she picked him up in her car, as was her usual practice. The defendant told her that he did not have any crack but that he could get some from a friend of his if she would drive him to the friend's house. She did so. However, the friend had no crack. She drove to a second house, where the defendant's contact also had no crack. At this point, she testified, she was ready to give up and take the defendant back to where she had picked him up. However, the defendant told her that his cousin would likely have some crack. The defendant directed her to turn down a dirt road. He told her to stop the car, showed her that he had a gun, and demanded that she give him all of her cash, which she did. He then shot her in the knee and told her to get out of the car. He also took her car keys. Outside the car, the defendant told her to take off her clothes and give them to him. He threw her clothes into the woods and then raped her. Then he told her to get her clothes, which she did, but she was unable to find her shoes. The defendant told her to run. She replied that she was unable to run because he had shot her in the leg. He then shot her again, causing her to fall to the ground. She pretended to be dead and the defendant shot her again and drove away in her car. Medical evidence showed that he shot her a total of five times. After the defendant drove away, she got dressed and ran to the nearest house for help.

The complaining witness's testimony was corroborated by other witnesses. Richard and Melissa Gibson, whose house she ran to, both testified that they awoke to their doorbell ringing "as fast as she could push the bell." Richard Gibson testified that just prior to hearing the doorbell, he thought he heard three gunshots. Because the Gibsons allow people to hunt on their property, he did not think this was unusual, however. Melissa Gibson noted that it was 2:26 a.m. when they awoke to the doorbell ringing. As they approached the door, they could hear the complaining witness saying: "Help me[.] I've been shot[.] I've been raped." Melissa Gibson called 9-1-1 while her husband answered the door. At first the complaining witness told Richard Gibson that she did not know who had shot her, but then she told him it was a black man with red hair.

Sara Dobrinich, who also regularly bought crack cocaine from the defendant, testified that in May 2000 she was staying at the home of a friend in Alton. She saw the defendant selling crack on the street in front of her friend's house nearly every day. Although she knew that his name was Courtney, she called him "Red," which was what everybody called him. Early on the morning of May 17, 2000, she saw the defendant get into a blue Chevrolet driven by a woman. Although Dobrinich did not know who the woman was, she had seen her pick up the defendant in her car to buy crack from him several times before that.

On May 10, 2001, the jury returned verdicts of guilty on both counts. On July 18, 2001, the trial court sentenced the defendant to 28 years in prison for attempted first-degree murder and 27 years for aggravated criminal sexual ...

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