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People v. Logan

August 20, 2004


[6] Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 97 CR 19288. Honorable Henry R. Simmons Judge Presiding.

[7] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice O'brien

[8]  Defendant, Leonard Logan, appeals his conviction and 45-year sentence for first degree murder. Defendant contends: (1) the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) the State made improper remarks during closing argument; (3) the State failed to prove that he was fit for trial; and (4) his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance. We affirm.

[9]  On March 18, 1997, between approximately 11 and 11:30 p.m., L.C. Robinson was driving north on Yates Boulevard in Chicago. As he crossed through the intersection at Yates Boulevard and 75th Street, he saw his friend, Charles Jenkins, talking on a pay phone at an Amoco station located on the corner of that intersection. He also saw the victim, Timothy Jones, talking on a second pay phone. Robinson watched as a "short, about 5'9", 5'10", kind of heavy-set" African-American man got out of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) that was parked approximately 20 feet from the pay phones. The man approached the pay phones, and when he was two or three feet away, he pulled a gun from his waistband and aimed it at the victim's head. Robinson watched as the man shot the victim. He saw the victim fall to the ground and then saw the shooter fire two or three more shots at other people in the vicinity.

[10]   Robinson watched as the shooter returned to the SUV and got in the front passenger side, and the car drove away down 75th Street. Robinson made a U-turn and followed the SUV westbound on 75th Street. He wrote down the vehicle's license plate number and called 911 and gave the 911 operator this information. Robinson followed the SUV until it turned into an alley and then he returned to the Amoco station. At the Amoco station, Robinson told the police what he had seen.

[11]   The Chicago police traced the license plate to a Budget Rent-A-Car rental agency and determined that the vehicle had been rented to an L. Payton. Detectives Alejandro Almazon, William Higgins and Edward O'Boyle went to the apartment of Latonya Payton at approximately 6:30 p.m. on March 19, 1997. The detectives first asked Ms. Payton about the two men they had seen in the hallway as they approached her apartment, and Ms. Payton denied knowing the men. The detectives then asked Ms. Payton about the vehicle. Ms. Payton told them that she had rented it and that it had been parked in front of her building from the evening of March 18, 1997, to the present time, March 19, 1997. When the detectives told Ms. Payton that the vehicle was involved in a shooting, she again told them that it had been parked in front of her building and she had no knowledge of what they were talking about.

[12]   The detectives asked Ms. Payton about the beer bottles and the two large pizzas in her apartment and she admitted that the two men walking down the hallway were friends of hers and had been in her apartment. Ms. Payton told the detectives that another friend of hers borrowed the vehicle she rented on the 18th, but this person was not either of the two who had just left her apartment. Ms. Payton did not give the detectives the names of the two men who had just left her apartment. The detectives told her that the shooting was a homicide, and Ms. Payton agreed to go to the police station to speak with the detectives about the shooting. The detectives also brought the vehicle to the station for evidence processing. They left Ms. Payton's apartment at approximately 6:45 p.m. on March 19, 1997.

[13]   At the station, the detectives asked Ms. Payton about March 18, 1997, and she said that at approximately 11 p.m., her friend Rodman came over to her apartment with a man named either Keith or Kevin. Ms. Payton said that the men came over to assemble an entertainment center, but they were unable to put it together that night because they arrived too late. Ms. Payton said that Rodman then asked to borrow the car and she gave him the keys. Rodman returned the car approximately 20 minutes later.

[14]   At approximately 10 p.m., the detectives took Ms. Payton for a polygraph examination. She returned to the police station at 12:30 a.m.

[15]   At approximately 1 a.m. on March 20, 1997, the detectives spoke with Ms. Payton again. This time, Ms. Payton explained that Rodman borrowed the car and that the two men who were leaving her apartment when the detectives arrived were Dino and a friend of his whom she did not know.

[16]   At approximately 8 a.m., Ms. Payton told the detectives that Rodman had come to her apartment that night with Dino at approximately 11 p.m. The two men borrowed the car and returned to her apartment at approximately 2 a.m. Dino came back the next morning at approximately 7 a.m. and borrowed the car again. Ms. Payton said that she thought Dino's first name was either Leonard or Anthony, and that his last name was Logan. Ms. Payton then identified a picture of the defendant as Dino who had come to her apartment.

[17]   At approximately 2 p.m. on March 20th, Ms. Payton told the detectives that Rodman was at her apartment that night and that he did not borrow the car. She said that Dino was the only person who took her car that night.

[18]   At approximately 4 p.m. on March 20th, Ms. Payton took a second polygraph examination. She returned to the police station at approximately 6:30 p.m. and detectives had another conversation with her at 7 p.m.

[19]   Ms. Payton told the detectives that on March 18, 1997, she was in the car she had rented and the defendant was driving with Rodman in the backseat. They were driving down 75th Street approaching Yates Boulevard when the defendant pulled into the gas station and got out of the car. He pulled a gun out of his waistband and started shooting at a man who was on the telephone. Defendant then turned, shot down the alley at another person, got back into the vehicle and sped away. Defendant noticed another car following them so he pulled into an alley to elude the vehicle. Then they drove to Stateway Gardens, which is in the area of 36th and Federal Streets. There, defendant went into one of the apartment buildings and returned after approximately 10 minutes. Defendant had changed his clothes and he no longer had the gun with him.

[20]   On March 21st at approximately 7 a.m., Assistant State's Attorney (ASA) Kent Sinson had a conversation with Ms. Payton. At approximately 7:50 a.m., Ms. Payton agreed to give a statement and ASA Sinson wrote out the statement.

[21]   At approximately 9:30 a.m. on March 21st Ms. Payton testified before the grand jury. Ms. Payton testified that on March 15, 1997, she rented a Nissan Pathfinder from the Budget Rent-A-Car so that she could bring home an entertainment center she had purchased. On March 16, 1997, she met up with a man named PeeWee at the Stateway Gardens Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) complex. There, she also saw the defendant, whose nickname was Dino. On March 17, 1997, she made arrangements with the defendant over the phone for him to borrow the car she had rented. The defendant picked up the car and returned it approximately 90 minutes later. On March 18, 1997, the defendant called Ms. Payton at work because he wanted to borrow the car again. Ms. Payton agreed and the defendant picked her up from work at 5:15 or 5:30 p.m. They ran some errands and then went to Stateway Gardens, where they met up with Rodman. A few hours later, the defendant drove the three of them down 75th Street. As they approached the intersection of 75th Street and Yates Boulevard, the defendant noticed the victim. The defendant then pulled the car into the gas station and got out of the car. Ms. Payton heard a gunshot approximately three minutes later, and she looked and saw a young man near the pay phones fall to the ground. Ms. Payton saw the defendant firing the gun. Defendant then got back in the car, put the gun on the seat between his legs and drove away. As they drove away, the defendant noticed a car following them so he pulled into an alley. After five minutes, the defendant drove to Stateway Gardens, where he went into a building. He returned approximately 10 minutes later without the gun.

[22]   Ms. Payton testified to the grand jury that on March 19, 1997, she saw the defendant when he again borrowed the car. She stated that he was supposed to pick her up at work, but instead he called and asked whether Budget had called her about the car. Ms. Payton told him that the car was not due back until March 20th. Later that night, the defendant and another man came to Ms. Payton's apartment to set up her entertainment center. As they ate pizza, the police arrived and the defendant left Ms. Payton's apartment through the back way.

[23]   At trial, Ms. Payton testified that her grand jury testimony and her written statement were coerced and that the police told her what to say. Ms. Payton testified that the defendant's nickname was Dash, and she denied ever telling the police or the grand jury that his nickname was Dino. She repeatedly testified that the police told her what to say. Ms. Payton also testified that the police told her that if she did not come up with something, she would be charged with murder. She testified that the police threatened her and that she was not allowed to eat or sleep for three days.

[24]   The detectives testified that Ms. Payton was not threatened with being charged with first degree murder and that no one ever told her the facts or any details surrounding the shooting of the victim.

[25]   Chicago police officer Hasan Al-Amin testified that on June 20, 1997, he responded to a call of a man wanted for homicide. When Officer Al-Amin arrived at the scene, he saw a man fitting the given description trying to hide underneath a landing. Officer Al-Amin scaled a fence and the man started running. The man ran to the roof of a building and tried to jump off but then stopped. Another police officer ordered the man to stop and lay down and the man was arrested. That man was the defendant.

[26]   The evidence also showed that two compact discs and three compact disc cases were removed from the Nissan Pathfinder after the police brought the vehicle in on March 19th. A fingerprint on one of the compact discs belonged to the defendant. The defendant's fingerprint was ...

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