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People v. Sutton

June 23, 2004


[6] Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 98 CR 15711. Honorable Francis X. Golniewicz, Jr. Judge Presiding.

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

[8]  On February 22, 2002, following a jury trial, defendant, Darryl Sutton, was convicted of seven counts of murder for the shooting death of Monica Rinaldi. He was sentenced to four 100-year extended-term prison sentences and three natural life sentences. Defendant directly appeals his conviction and sentences.

[9]  Defendant raises a number of issues on appeal. However, based on our disposition of the case, we need only address two issues: (1) whether the trial court erred by allowing the admission of sole eyewitness David Janik's hypnotically enhanced testimony; and (2) whether the trial court erred by precluding defendant from independently retesting the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) evidence recovered in this case. For the reasons that follow, we reverse and remand for a new trial.


[11]   Just after midnight on February 14, 1991, police responded to the call of a man ringing the doorbells of houses located on the 4000 block of Forest Avenue in Brookfield, Illinois. Upon their arrival, police found David Janik staggering and bleeding. Janik told police that he had been shot and robbed, and that his girlfriend had also been shot. Police discovered Janik's girlfriend, Monica Rinaldi, lying across the backseat of her car, which was parked in a nearby alley. Rinaldi was unclothed and had sustained a fatal gunshot wound to her head.

[12]   Officer Timothy Moroney rode with Janik in an ambulance to the hospital. During the ride to the hospital, Janik allegedly gave the officer a brief account of events leading up to the shootings along with a general description of the assailant. At the time of trial, however, Janik had no memory of his conversation with Officer Moroney. The trial court permitted the officer to give testimony regarding Janik's out-of-court version of events under the spontaneous declaration or excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule.

[13]   According to Officer Moroney, Janik stated that he and Rinaldi were parked in a parking lot and were kissing, when a black man got into the car on the driver's side, forcing both of them over to the passenger side. Janik described the black man as being about 30 to 35 years of age, with a moustache, wearing a dark coat and hat. After entering the vehicle, the assailant drove off, eventually stopping near a pet store called Archer Puppies, whereupon he forced Janik to get inside the trunk of the Ford Escort.

[14]   According to the officer, Janik stated that after they drove for an unknown length of time, the car stopped again and after a while he heard gunshots from inside the car. Shortly thereafter, the assailant opened the vehicle's trunk and shot Janik in the head. The offender then ran through an alley in a westerly direction. Janik stated that he eventually opened the trunk's hatchback and exited the vehicle through the driver's side door.

[15]   At the hospital, it was discovered that the bullet Janik was shot with traveled through his left temporal region, behind the orbit, maxilla, and the posterior part of the pharynx, before lodging in the upper right shoulder. Xrays, CT scans, and exploratory surgery revealed that Janik sustained no cranial penetration and suffered no major vascular injuries. He was neurologically intact. However, it was determined that Janik had suffered amnesia regarding the offense. Janik's hospital chart revealed that he could not remember anything from the time he left work on February 13, 1991, to the time he woke up in the hospital, and initially he could not remember what day or year it was.

[16]   During his brief stay at the hospital, Janik spoke with family, friends, doctors and police officers. Janik testified that while he was at the hospital he had no independent recollection of the offense but learned some of the details and circumstances of the offense from family and friends. Janik was released from the hospital after five or six days. Shortly after his release, Janik viewed police mug books but was unable to identify his assailant from the photographs.

[17]   In an effort to regain his memory of the offense and identify the assailant, Janik saw psychologist Dr. Steven I. Ries. Records indicate that Janik saw the doctor from March 1991 to December 1991. During the course of therapy, Janik underwent hypnosis on more than one occasion, but he could not recall the exact number of times he was hypnotized. Janik also underwent other types of therapies such as guided imaging and dream interpretation. Dr. Ries' notes reveal that during one therapy session Janik remarked that his assailant had "Mexican" like features.

[18]   At trial, conflicting versions of events were given regarding the time period at which a composite sketch of the assailant was made. Officer Michael Manescalchi testified that Janik assisted a police sketch artist in preparing a composite sketch of the assailant on February 28, 1991. Janik, however, testified that by May 11, 1991, he still could not visualize his assailant's face.

[19]   Janik explained that his memory came back "in bits and pieces." He testified that after one particular therapy session, he regained memory of what his assailant looked like and afterwards enlisted the services of an artist friend to draw a composite sketch of the assailant.

[20]   On September 6, 1991, after several months of therapy, Janik allegedly provided Officer Manescalchi with a more detailed and somewhat different description of the assailant and offense than he had previously given police. At trial, however, Janik was unable to recall what he specifically told Officer Manescalchi during their conversation.

[21]   According to Officer Manescalchi, Janik described the assailant as a black male, approximately 5 feet 11 inches in height, weighing about 175 pounds. Janik stated that the assailant had medium skin, black and neat short cut hair, and a mustache. The officer testified that Janik also told him that the assailant wore a caramel colored leather driving hat and matching leather jacket.

[22]   According to the officer, Janik further related that the attacker held his gun in his left hand and that after he entered the car, he turned on the windshield wipers and kept checking the mirrors. Janik said that he complied with the assailant's request to hand over his wallet. The assailant drove right and then left on Burlington, stopping at Burlington and Prairie, where he looked into the wallet. The offender put the wallet on his lap and turned left on Prairie to Ogden, stopping at a red light.

[23]   Janik said that when he looked at the assailant, the assailant pulled up his collar. The car proceeded southbound on Prairie, whereupon the attacker stated, "if you ID me, I will kill you." The car eventually stopped in an alley where the attacker ordered Janik to get out of the car and into the vehicle's trunk. Janik stated that he was shot as he put one foot in the trunk. He then heard mumbling and someone moving around in the car. The car was shaking and Janik started screaming and kicking the car's backseat whereupon the assailant yelled at Janik to be quiet. When the car stopped shaking, Janik heard a gunshot and smelled gunpowder. Janik then heard the driver's side door open and close. The offender yelled at Janik through the trunk, "I didn't want to shoot you but if you ID me, I will [kill] you." Janik eventually exited the vehicle and began banging on the doors of nearby homes.

[24]   Michael Podlecki, a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police Crime Laboratory, testified that he analyzed biological evidence in this case. His tests revealed that Rinaldi had type O blood and was a nonsecretor*fn1 , and that Janik had type AB blood*fn2 and was a secretor. PGM enzyme genetic marker tests revealed that Rinaldi was a PGM type 1 plus and that Janik was PGM type 1 plus, 2 plus.

[25]   Podlecki also received vaginal and rectal swabs and smears from Rinaldi as well as pieces of stained fabric from the car's backseat. All of these pieces of evidence contained seminal material on them. Tests on the seminal material revealed ...

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