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The People of the State of Illinois v. Demetrius G. Hill

May 11, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
DEMETRIUS G. HILL,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County Honorable No. 07CF1546 Timothy J. Steadman, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Turner

JUSTICE TURNER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Justices Pope and McCullough concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

In July 2008, a jury found defendant, Demetrius G. Hill, guilty of aggravated battery. In August 2008, the trial court sentenced him to nine years in prison.

On appeal, defendant argues (1) the State failed to prove him guilty of aggravated battery, (2) the trial court erred in instructing the jury, and (3) he is entitled to additional sentence credit. We affirm and remand for further proceedings.

I. BACKGROUND

In October 2007, the State charged defendant by information with one count of aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12- 4(b)(8) (West 2006)), alleging that, while committing a battery, he knowingly caused bodily harm to Willie Ford, who was in the Macon County jail, a public property, when he struck and bit Ford. Defendant waived his right to counsel.

In May 2008, defendant filed a pro se motion to dismiss the aggravated-battery charge, arguing the offense did not occur on public property. The State countered by arguing the county jail constitutes public property as it is publicly funded. The trial court denied the motion.

In July 2008, defendant's jury trial commenced. Joshua Wilson, a correctional officer with the Macon County sheriff's department, testified the jail consists of three pods, individual housing units, in each of the six trods, the main housing area. Each pod contains 12 to 14 cells. On October 19, 2007, defendant and Willie Ford were located in pod B. Wilson observed Ford at the dayroom table when defendant attacked him. After Ford pushed defendant up against a window, defendant bit Ford on the neck.

Willie Ford testified he was sitting at a table in the dayroom when he saw defendant walking toward him. Defendant "took a swing" at him but missed. The two then wrestled on the floor. After getting to his feet, Ford grabbed defendant by the throat. As he held defendant up against the window, defendant bit him in the jaw.

Jennifer Mahannah, a registered nurse, testified she works part-time at the Macon County jail. On October 19, 2007, Mahannah was called to examine Willie Ford, an inmate who had a bite mark on his neck. Ford told her he had been bitten by defendant.

The trial court took judicial notice the Macon County correctional center is public property. The court allowed defendant to argue to the jury the jail pod was not public property because no public access to the area was permitted.

Ernest Brooms, an inmate at the time of the occurrence, testified for the defense and stated he saw defendant bite Ford on the chin. Another inmate, Deangelo ...


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