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People v. Thompson

June 22, 2004


[6] Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Michael J. Pope, Judge Presiding.

[7] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Wolfson

[8]  In this case we apply a recent United States Supreme Court decision that changed the way courts are to analyze sixth amendment confrontation clause issues.

[9]  Following a jury trial, defendant Kenneth Thompson was found guilty of aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery and unlawful restraint. He was sentenced to three years in prison for aggravated domestic battery and concurrent prison terms of two years for aggravated battery and two years for unlawful restraint. On appeal, defendant contends the trial court erred by allowing the prosecutor to impeach his testimony with inadmissible hearsay evidence. He further contends the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and that his sentences are excessive. For the reasons which follow, we reverse the judgment of the circuit court and remand this case for proceedings consistent with this order.

[10]   FACTS

[11]   At trial, Streamwood police officer Gregory Myers testified that on March 31, 2002, he was assisting in an investigation regarding a missing person at 11 Glendale Court. About 8 a.m., he saw LeKeisha McAllister walking nearby and noticed that she was naked and holding a door mat to cover herself. Officer Myers saw that LeKeisha was crying, that her face was swollen, and that she had bruises on her shoulder, back, buttocks, and legs. LeKeisha also had duct tape on her neck and in her hair. Officer Myers covered LeKeisha with his jacket and placed her in the back of his squad car until an ambulance arrived to transport her to the hospital.

[12]   Cindy Barwegen testified that she was LeKeisha's nurse from the time Lekeisha arrived at the hospital until she was discharged. When LeKeisha arrived at the hospital she was wrapped in a sheet and appeared to be frightened, with her hands and legs drawn to her body. She also complained about pain on the right side of her face. Barwegen gave LeKeisha warm blankets and an ice pack because she had a black eye and her face and lips were swollen. LeKeisha also had bruises on the right side of her face and forehead and duct tape in her hair, which Barwegen cut out and gave to the evidence officer. Barwegen further noted that LeKeisha had bruises on her upper right arm, upper forearm and wrist area and duct tape attached to this area. She also had bruises on her buttocks, her knee and thigh areas, her right upper shoulder, her front lower shoulder, her left upper lateral arm and her ankles.

[13]   Dr. Mark Giacomin testified that he examined LeKeisha on the date in question and found that she had a ruptured eardrum, facial fracture and multiple contusions. He also observed that LeKeisha had extensive bruising on both sides of her forehead, her cheeks, upper lip, left hip, both knees, buttocks, neck, left upper arm and right shoulder. There was tape on her back and in her hair. Dr. Giacomin determined LeKeisha's injuries were the result of blunt force which could have been from a closed fist or blunt object. LeKeisha was in pain and appeared to be frightened. Dr. Giacomin treated her for the pain and arranged counseling for her.

[14]   Streamwood police officer William Husfield testified that he is a trained crime scene technician and was asked to assist in the investigation of a missing person on the morning of March 31, 2002. Officer Husfield drove around looking for the missing person for about an hour, then went to 11 Glendale Court to process a crime scene. The officer took photographs of the outside of the residence which showed vehicles and a trailer parked in the court. Officer Husfield also took photographs of the inside of the residence which included a wastebasket full of duct tape next to the bed in the master bedroom, a dresser next to the bed, an earring on the floor near the wastebasket, and clothing on the floor next to the bed. The officer photographed the bent-out window screen in the master bathroom and the closet in the master bedroom. There was a partial roll of duct tape inside of the closet and a hamper in front of it. He also photographed the headboard of the bed, which had a partial roll of duct tape on it, the back of the bed where a steak knife was located, the floor and bathtub in the master bedroom which had suspected bloodstains, and a belt which was next to the bed. Officer Husfield found a belt buckle and a pin for the buckle on the floor near the wastebasket. His later photograph of LeKeisha's face showed she was wearing one earring that matched the earring he had photographed in the bedroom.

[15]   Detective Alexander VanDerLinden testified that on March 31, 2002, he was assigned to assist in the investigation. The detective spoke with defendant, who informed him that his fiancé, LeKeisha, was missing. The defendant repeatedly played a voice mail tape. After obtaining defendant's permission, Detective VanDerLinden looked through the house for evidence relating to LeKeisha's whereabouts and noticed what appeared to be dried blood on the floor and moist blood in the bathtub of the master bathroom. Detective VanDerLinden notified Sergeant Zigler, who told everyone to leave the residence and called an evidence technician to process the scene.

[16]   Detective VanDerLinden went to the police station and spoke with defendant and LeKeisha's two daughters, Kiera and Keona. After gathering evidence and speaking with the girls, the focus of the investigation changed from that of a missing person to one criminal in nature focused on the officers' belief that something had happened to LeKeisha.

[17]   About 7:30 a.m., Detective VanDerLinden was informed that LeKeisha had been located. Shortly thereafter, Detective VanDerLinden and Commander Keegan told defendant that officers had located LeKeisha. They advised him of his Miranda rights. Defendant waived his rights and said he had an argument with LeKeisha regarding bills he had discovered. Defendant called LeKeisha on the telephone to find out when she would be home from work and told her that he was going to teach her a lesson. When LeKeisha arrived, the children were watching television downstairs and LeKeisha and defendant went upstairs to watch a movie in the bedroom. During the movie, defendant locked the bedroom door and at some point LeKeisha took off her clothing. Defendant then confronted LeKeisha with the bills and accused her of having an affair with a man named "Tim." Defendant struck LeKeisha in the mouth with a closed fist, bound her arms and torso with duct tape, then placed a piece of tape over her mouth. He repeatedly pulled the tape off and then placed it back on LeKeisha's mouth to torture her and get the truth from her. Defendant also pinned LeKeisha down on the bed by placing both knees on her arms and straddling her chest. After cutting the duct tape off of her with a knife, defendant struck LeKeisha repeatedly in the face with his open hand then used a belt to strike her body. Defendant was interrupted by the children and he told them to go back downstairs. He then told LeKeisha to go into the bathroom and take a shower, and pushed her into the bathtub. She fell and hit her mouth, causing her to bleed. Defendant again was interrupted by the children and went downstairs to see them. When defendant returned to the upstairs bathroom, LeKeisha was gone.

[18]   Detective VanDerLinden interviewed defendant for a second time about 45 minutes after the first interview. During the second interview, defendant stated that he struck LeKeisha with an open hand rather than a closed fist. Detective VanDerLinden then spoke to LeKeisha and showed her the knife and belt recovered from the scene.

[19]   Defendant testified that he is the chief executive officer and president of a national debt collection agency. On the day in question, he had lived with his fiancé, LeKeisha, and their two children, Keona and Kiera, for about five years. After defendant and LeKeisha had discussed going to Wisconsin for the weekend, defendant left work about 5:30 p.m. to prepare for the trip. Defendant and the two children drove to their home in Streamwood, and LeKeisha arrived there about 7 p.m. Defendant and the two children then drove to Arlington Heights to pick up their trailer home at defendant's office, stopped to purchase groceries and arrived at his sister's home in Forest Park about 10:15 p.m. to pick up his niece. Defendant's niece did not want to go with him, and he left about 20 minutes later. As he drove home, defendant attempted to call LeKeisha's cellular telephone to see if she was ready, but she did not answer. After checking LeKeisha's voice mail, defendant was horrified, called his sister, and asked her to call police. Police officers arrived at his home about 12:30 a.m., and defendant played the voice mail for them numerous times and provided them with a physical description of LeKeisha and information about her family and friends. Defendant also gave police his cellular telephone and permission to search his home.

[20]   At the police station, defendant waived his Miranda rights and spoke with police officers. He denied telling them that he "beat" LeKeisha or tied her up with duct tape. Defendant also testified that he never threatened to physically hurt ...

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