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The People of the State of Illinois v. Gregory Mcmillen

November 17, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
GREGORY MCMILLEN,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 92 CR 16121 Honorable James B. Linn, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Sterba

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

Presiding Justice Lavin and Justice Pucinski concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 On November 20, 1994, defendant Gregory McMillen was convicted of first degree murder of Vivian Bramlett and sentenced to a 40-year prison term. On direct appeal, this court affirmed his conviction. People v. McMillen, No. 1-94-4414 (1996) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). On December 28, 2009, defendant filed a pro se post-conviction petition (petition). The trial court dismissed defendant's petition on January 12, 2010, finding the issues raised were "wholly without merit." Defendant appeals the trial court's dismissal of his petition. On appeal, defendant claims that he was denied his constitutional right to present a complete defense because at the time of the offense, he was suffering from the unknown adverse effects of prescription medication and cocaine. Thus, defendant claims that the involuntary intoxication defense applies to his case and he should be granted a new trial where he can raise that defense. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

¶ 2 Background

¶ 3 On June 15, 1986, defendant murdered Vivian Bramlett (Vivian). Six years later, on June 26, 1992, defendant made a statement to Detectives Michael Kill and James Dwyer confessing to the murder. In the statement, defendant told police that on the day of the murder, he and Vivian had gone through more than an "eight ball" of cocaine together. While smoking the cocaine, he noticed Vivian placed eight bags of the drug in her shoe. Defendant believed Vivian and another man were going to smoke the cocaine together and then have sex. At around 10:30 p.m., defendant drove Vivian to the railroad tracks by 77th and Woodlawn, an area he referred to as their "hiding place." He then confronted Vivian about the cocaine she took and an argument ensued. After discovering cocaine in Vivian's shoe, defendant hit her nine times. He stated he hit Vivian hard every time. After hitting her, defendant ran away thinking she was unconscious, but he returned a short time later. Upon his return, Vivian had regained consciousness, but before she could get to her feet, defendant threw a heavy rock at her, causing her death. Shortly after his confession, the State charged defendant with two counts of first degree murder.

¶ 4 Prior to his trial, defendant submitted to multiple psychological exams at the Psychiatric Institute to determine his fitness to stand trial. Dr. John P. Murray sent a memorandum to the trial judge stating that defendant was fit to stand trial. Additionally, Dr. Marcos, Dr. Kaplan, and Dr. Reefman all issued reports stating that defendant was fit to stand trial. The trial court also conducted two hearings to determine defendant's fitness. At both hearings, the defendant was found to be fit for trial.

¶ 5 At trial, Dr. Stone testified as an expert witness on defendant's behalf. Dr. Stone testified that defendant was suffering from a combination of paranoid schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and cocaine dependence. He also stated that at the time of the murder, he did not believe defendant could control his behavior. Dr. Stone testified that defendant had been prescribed the following medication: (1) Thorazine, an antipsychotic and a tranquilizer, prescribed on and off since defendant was 14 years old; (2) Haldol, an antipsychotic with a tranquilizing effect, prescribed in 1983; (3) Dilantin prescribed in approximately 1986; and (4) Sinequan, which is among the most sedating of antidepressants, prescribed at various times. Dr. Stone also testified that he had no ability to know if defendant was on these drugs at the time of the murder, but he believed that defendant's behavior that day was triggered by a "drug initiated paranoia" caused by cocaine use.

¶ 6 The State presented Dr. Albert Stipes as an expert witness. Dr. Stipes testified that he did not believe defendant was a paranoid schizophrenic, but that defendant suffered from a disorder known as malingering, which caused him to feign symptoms of schizophrenia. Dr. Stipes also testified that defendant suffered from antisocial personality disorder, which is characterized by a lack of empathy for others, poor impulse control, and habitual criminal behavior. After multiple examinations, Dr. Stipes concluded that defendant was sane at the time of the murder in June of 1986.

¶ 7 After the State rested, defendant took the stand and testified that he knew Vivian, but was unsure whether he killed her. Defendant also testified that he told the police that he needed help. During redirect examination, defendant testified that he was currently taking medication including Thorazine, Sinequan, and Dilantin, and that at the time of the murder he had smoked cocaine. Defendant made no mention about whether he was taking medication at the time of the murder.

¶ 8 Assistant State's Attorney Mike Rogers testified during rebuttal that defendant did not say he wanted help for his problems at the time of his initial statement. Furthermore, he noted that defendant made no emotional outbursts during the initial statement.

¶ 9 On November 20, 1994, at the conclusion of his bench trial, defendant was found guilty of first degree murder. Defendant appealed his conviction. On appeal, this court rejected defendant's claim of insanity, noting the offense was committed in a manner calculated to avoid detection and that defendant himself brought the crime to the attention of the authorities. This court affirmed the trial court's judgment.

ΒΆ 10 On December 28, 2009, defendant filed a pro se post-conviction petition. In his petition, defendant alleged that at the time of the murder, he experienced unwarned and unexpected adverse side effects of prescription medication and cocaine. Defendant argued that he should be allowed to retroactively raise the involuntary intoxication defense. The trial court dismissed his claim at the first stage of the ...


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