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People v. Redmond

June 30, 2003

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
SAESAL REDMOND, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 98 CR 10026 Honorable James D. Egan, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice O'malley

UNPUBLISHED

Defendant, Saesal Redmond, was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to 22 years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant presented several issues for review. Those issues have been condensed into five main issues: (1) whether the trial court erred in finding that he voluntarily consented to leave his apartment and accompany the police; (2) whether officers had probable cause to arrest after discovering a handgun in his bedroom; (3) whether his written statement was voluntarily given after spending 52 hours in custody and being interrogated 14 times after his arrest; (4) whether the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was accountable for murder; and (5) whether his trial counsel was ineffective, where trial counsel failed to call certain witnesses who allegedly would have corroborated his testimony and alibi.

BACKGROUND

Bryant Clark was fatally shot on January 28, 1998. Detective Steve Buglio was assigned to investigate the fatal shooting. Defendant was arrested on March 12, 1998. The arrest report indicates that defendant was arrested after being implicated in the fatal shooting death of Bryant Clark and found in possession of a .40-caliber handgun. Defendant and co-defendant Clint Woods, who is not a party to this appeal, were charged with first degree murder.

I. MOTION TO QUASH ARREST AND EVIDENCE

On defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress physical evidence, defendant testified that on March 11, 1998, shortly before midnight, while he was in bed, police officers came to his sister's apartment where he was staying. He testified that when the officers entered the bedroom, "They had guns. They had their guns out. When I came to the door they had their guns out." He testified that he was handcuffed in the kitchen and then taken outside. He was not presented with a search warrant or a warrant for his arrest and did not give permission to search the apartment. Defendant testified that the police did not tell him why they where there. While he was sitting in the police vehicle with Detectives Riley and Doroba, neither officer mentioned anything about what happened at 69th Street and Paulina Street. He did not give the officers permission to search his car, but they took his car keys from his pocket.

Defendant's sister, Arriane Redmond, testified that at about 11:55 p.m. on March 11, 1998, she heard a loud knocking at her apartment door. The officers identified themselves and Arriane opened the door. The officers asked her if defendant was there and she said, "Yes." As she turned to check defendant's bedroom, "two of the officers came through the kitchen area and they like actually beat me to the back room door." Arriane stated that she did not give the officers permission to enter her apartment. After defendant was allowed to put on some jeans and a jacket, he was handcuffed at the corner of the kitchen door. Approximately an hour after their arrival, Arriane was asked to sign a white piece of paper. She signed the paper because she thought the detective was comparing her signature to that on the lease. On cross-examination, Arriane testified that when the officer had her sign the paper, the only portion visible was the signature line and she did not see anything indicating that the paper she was signing was a consent to search. She saw an officer recover a gun from the box spring of defendant's bed.

Detective Buglio testified that he spoke with defendant's cousin, Clint Woods on March 10, 1998, in relation to the January 28, 1998, fatal shooting of Bryant Clark (also known as "Little Wolf"). On that date, Woods denied any knowledge of the shooting. During a second meeting with Woods on March 11, 1998, Woods named defendant as the shooter and stated that defendant used a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun. Detective Buglio testified that two .40-caliber bullet casings were recovered from the murder scene. Woods told Buglio that defendant either keeps the gun in his car, probably under the driver's side rear seat or behind a vent, or in the bedroom where he sleeps. Woods told Detective Buglio that shortly before the shooting, he observed Clark and defendant in the Red Shoe lounge. Woods later observed Clark get into defendant's vehicle. Earlier that evening, defendant told Woods that he was going to "rob Little Wolf." Woods told defendant to "be careful, because Brian [sic] Clark, the victim, is known to carry a weapon at times." Woods told the detective that he saw defendant return to the lounge sometime after 10:30 p.m. The victim was not with defendant and during a brief conversation with defendant, defendant told Woods that "'It's been one for Shorty.'" Woods related that that meant "Little Wolf was dead." Woods told Detective Buglio that after that, defendant seemed to be spending more money than he usually did.

Detective Buglio further testified that a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun was recovered from defendant's bedroom, "stuffed in the top of a boxspring where you could only view it from underneath the boxspring. It was stuck between the boxspring and the top padding." After locating the gun, he placed defendant under arrest and handcuffed him. Buglio testified that prior to that moment, defendant was not under arrest. Approximately 30 minutes passed between the time the detectives arrived and defendant's arrest. On cross-examination, Detective Buglio stated that he read the reports of two other officers that interviewed Woods on March 11, and the report indicated that Woods sold Wolf 4 1/2 ounces of cocaine. After the drug sale, Woods said that he did not see Wolf the rest of the night. Woods told Buglio that defendant and the victim were at the lounge separately.

Detective James Riley testified that he did not recall whether Detective Buglio had his hand on defendant's arm as they exited the apartment and came downstairs. Riley stated that defendant was not handcuffed at that time. He recalled that approximately 15 minutes passed between the time defendant was placed in a police car and the time the gun was recovered. Riley was asked whether defendant was free to leave once defendant was placed in his police car and Riley responded, "No, not really."

In August 1999, the court denied defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress the evidence. The court reasoned that the police were given "strong enough information" that they should investigate defendant after speaking with Clint Woods. The court believed that taking defendant and placing him in the squad car was not a violation and defendant was not under arrest at that time. Based on Arriane's age and background, the court also did not believe her testimony that she did not know what she signed when she signed and dated the consent to search form at her apartment. Further, because the police had written consent to search, the police discovered the gun on the premises and "had full corroboration of someone, even if he's just the finger-pointer and is not implicating himself." In denying defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence, the court held that placing defendant in the unmarked squad car did not constitute an arrest; Arriane Redmond's testimony was not credible; and the court noted that the police had a written consent and a tip that was corroborated when the gun was found.

II. MOTION TO SUPPRESS STATEMENTS

Pursuant to his motion to suppress statements, defendant testified that he was kept at the police station approximately 52 hours and left the room about 7 or 8 times, was allowed to used the bathroom about 5 times, and was taken downtown once to take a polygraph test. While at the station, defendant asked to use the phone but the officers told him to wait. Eventually, he was allowed to call home for approximately two minutes. Defendant testified that he asked Detective Buglio and a couple of other detectives that kept coming in and questioning him to speak with a lawyer. During the 52 hour period, he was given a bag of potato chips and a can of pop,and when he told the detectives that he did not know anything about the murder, Detective Buglio took the food away from him. During the 52 hour period, defendant slept in segments of 15 to 30 minutes, for a total of 4 hours.

Assistant State's Attorney Villasenor spoke with defendant on five separate occasions between March 12 and March 14, 1998. Villasenor testified that he gave defendant his Miranda rights from memory before he interviewed him at the police station. During the initial 30-minute interview, defendant provided a statement. Villasenor began an interview with defendant at 2:30 a.m. and started the handwritten statement at about 4 a.m. The statement was signed at approximately 4:05 a.m. on March 14, 1998. Defendant was present during the entire time that the statement was handwritten. On March 13, defendant did not tell Villasenor that he wanted to speak with a lawyer or did not want to give a statement.

Detective Buglio denied telling defendant that they would help him if he signed the handwritten statement, threatening to arrest defendant's girlfriend or making any threats to defendant. Buglio stated that in his investigation, he spoke with two witnesses who were not together at the shooting, Marilyn Hardy and Jacqueline Husband. Buglio further stated during the State's rebuttal that he did not threaten defendant during the preparation of his handwritten statement and did not take any food away from him.

Assistant State's Attorney Ignatius Villasenor testified in rebuttal that the information in defendant's written statement came from the defendant and he was given an opportunity to change or review anything in that statement. Villasenor stated that neither he nor anyone else in his presence threatened to "lock up" defendant's girlfriend and defendant told him that he had been treated well by the police.

In March 2000, the trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress his written statement. In its ruling, the court noted that in the several days of testimony, several witnesses testified that defendant was advised of his Miranda rights, though defendant asserted that he was not advised. Relative to the 52 hours in custody, the court noted that there are two defendants involved in this case, there was a polygraph exam and witnesses to be interviewed during that time. The court reasoned that 52 hours in custody could be "more than enough time to be in custody," when taking the "sleeping patterns" into account. However, that was only one factor going toward the statement and not enough to suppress it. Further, there was conflicting testimony as to the food provided to defendant, but the court did not "believe that had reached a point where the statement could be suppressed."

III. BENCH TRIAL

Defendant's statement, which was read into evidence by Assistant State's Attorney Villasenor at trial, provided that Woods asked defendant to participate in a "lick," which "'means a robbery of some money or jewelry from some person.'" Woods asked defendant to serve as "'security'" while Woods and Wolf committed the "'lick.'" Defendant "has known Wolf for about six months, and he met Wolf through Clint Woods." Defendant asked where the "lick" was going to happen and who they were going to rob. Defendant stated that Woods answered that the "lick" "'was in the area,'" which defendant "'understood to mean in the neighborhood, and that [defendant] would not know the person.'" Woods stated that he and Wolf would go in the house and come back to the car.

Defendant, Woods and Wolf "'sat around for about 30 to 45 minutes planning the robbery.'" Defendant was promised $2,000 should Woods and the victim find $20,000 inside. Woods expected that much money to be present because the man at the house was a drug dealer. After Woods made a phone call, Woods, defendant and the victim left the bar together. They used defendant's car because it was dark and nobody knew that car. Woods asked for the keys to the car and told Wolf to sit in the front passenger seat and told defendant to sit in the backseat. The three drove from the bar. While driving, Woods told defendant to stay in the car while Woods and Wolf "'did the rest.'" Woods pulled into an alley on Paulina Street, turned the car around and parked facing northbound in front of a garage at about 6911 South Paulina Street.

Defendant's statement further provides that Woods and Wolf exited the vehicle and went into an alley together. After about two to three minutes, Woods and Wolf walked out of the alley, stood on the sidewalk and Woods returned to the car. Defendant was now sitting in the driver's seat. Woods told defendant to wait there and walked back onto the sidewalk where Wolf stood. Woods approached Wolf from behind. Defendant then observed Woods pull out a .40-caliber handgun from his waist and point it at Wolf's head and fire two times. Wolf fell to the ground. Defendant saw Woods bend down over Wolf and take money from Wolf's front pockets. Woods put the money in his own pockets, entered the car and told defendant "let's go."

As he drove back toward the lounge, defendant asked Woods why he shot Wolf, because he thought the "lick was supposed to be a house not a person, as [Woods] said before." Woods responded that Wolf was the "lick" because Wolf owed him $4,000. While in the bar's parking lot, Woods offered some of the money taken off of Woods' person, but defendant declined because "that wasn't the plan." Woods and defendant stayed inside the bar for about 15 minutes. In the parking lot, defendant saw Woods pull out the same .40-caliber gun and asked defendant to hide it for him. Defendant took the gun home that night and hid it inside the box spring of his mattress in his sister's apartment. Woods stated that he would get the gun later.

At the close of the State's case in chief, defendant moved for a directed finding and asked that the court "reopen the motion to quash and suppress evidence and a motion to suppress statement." The State responded in oral argument. The court held that the State "put on enough for a prima facie case" and defendant's motion was denied.

Arriane Redmond, Crystal Archie and the defendant testified on the defendant's behalf. Following defendant's case in chief, defendant was found guilty of murder based on accountability. Specifically, the court found defendant's written statement to be credible, defendant did not share a criminal intent with the principal, but ...


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