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The People of the State of Illinois v. Kendall Bowman

June 15, 2012


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County 05 CR 24234 Honorable Victoria Stewart, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McBRIDE

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

Justices J. Gordon and Howse concurred in the judgment and opinion.


¶ 1 Following a jury trial, defendant, Kendall Bowman, was found guilty of aggravated battery of a child and aggravated battery with a firearm and sentenced to 50 years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant contends that: (1) the trial court denied his right to present relevant evidence to support his claim of self-defense; (2) the trial court violated his right to due process when it compelled a defense witness to testify while wearing jail attire; and (3) the court relied upon an improper aggravating factor when imposing his sentence. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

¶ 2 Defendant was arrested and charged by indictment with attempted first degree murder, aggravated battery of a child and aggravated battery with a firearm in connection with the shooting of 10-year-old Deiija Hamilton. The following evidence was presented at defendant's trial.

¶ 3 Deiija Hamilton, who was 14 years old at the time of trial, testified that on July 7, 2005, she lived in the LeClaire Courts housing projects in Chicago, Illinois. On that date, at 11:49 a.m., Hamilton was walking home from camp with her sister when she saw defendant standing on the side of a building holding a gun in his hand. Hamilton explained that she knew defendant as "Kendall" and she had known him her entire childhood because he was friends with her mother and he used to hang around her neighborhood. Defendant was approximately 50 feet away from Hamilton and she did not see anyone else standing in that area. When Hamilton saw defendant, she and her sister began to run home. Hamilton looked back toward defendant as she was running and she saw him raise the gun and point it in her direction. Then she felt her legs begin "to burn." She testified that she did not see anyone else in the area at that time. She made it to her house and fell on a mattress near the front door. Hamilton was taken by an ambulance to a nearby hospital, where it was determined that she sustained a gunshot wound to her right calf that went through and grazed her left calf.

¶ 4 Hamilton testified that at the hospital, she told her mother and detectives that "Kendall" was the person who shot her. She did not know Kendall's last name at that time. Sometime later that day, detectives returned to the hospital and showed Hamilton a photo array. She identified a photograph of defendant as the person she knew as "Kendall."

¶ 5 Hamilton remained in the hospital overnight and on the following day defendant came to her room with balloons and a card. Her mother was in the room at the time and defendant said to her, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I was not trying to shoot your daughter. I was trying to shoot the other guy." When asked if she recalled defendant stating whether he was shooting at the other man because that person had shot him before, Hamilton replied yes.

¶ 6 On cross-examination, Hamilton testified that she did not remember telling her mother that she did not think defendant was trying to shoot her and that he was trying to shoot a man named "Jed." She testified that she did know a man named Jed from the neighborhood. When asked if Jed was an aggressive and violent person, the State objected and the trial court sustained the objection. The court also sustained the State's objection when defense counsel asked Hamilton if her mother told police that Hamilton believed that defendant was attempting to shoot Jed. Hamilton testified that she did not tell anyone that she saw Jed on the street at the time of the shooting.

¶ 7 On redirect, Hamilton testified that she did not see Jed on the street on the day she was shot by defendant.

¶ 8 Barbara Walsh, Hamilton's mother, testified that she was present when Hamilton entered the house on July 7 screaming that she had been shot. Later that day at the hospital, Walsh asked Hamilton if she saw the person who shot her. Hamilton said that she did and her mother asked her to describe that person. Hamilton described him as tall and dark-skinned. Walsh asked if Hamilton could tell her the person's name, and Hamilton said no. She then said, "oh, remember we used to go to Linda's house" and "he used to be with Curley." Walsh asked her daughter if she meant "Kendall," and Hamilton said, "yeah, that's who shot me." Walsh explained that Kendall was someone she knew who spent time with someone named Curley and that they used to hang around with "Linda," who lived next door to Walsh. Walsh testified that she did not know Kendall's last name at that time. She gave a detective the name Kendall.

¶ 9 Walsh went home to check on her other children but returned to the hospital later that day and remained there overnight. The following day, July 8, she was in her daughter's room when defendant entered the room and said, "I am sorry for shooting your daughter. I was trying to shoot at someone else before -- that he shot me before." Defendant was in the room for less than five seconds and then left. One week later, Walsh was contacted by police and asked to bring her daughter to the police station to view a physical lineup. She refused, however, because she was scared. She did not remember her daughter telling her that defendant was shooting at Jed.

¶ 10 Detective William Proctor testified that he and his partner were assigned to the case. During an interview at the hospital, Hamilton told the detectives that she was shot by Kendall, whom she knew from the neighborhood. Hamilton did not know that person's last name. Detective Proctor and his partner proceeded to the LeClaire Court's security office and determined that Kendall lived in the neighborhood and that his last name was Bowman. The detective identified this person as defendant. The detectives returned to the police station and assembled a photo array of six photographs. The detectives returned to the hospital and showed the array to Hamilton, who identified defendant as Kendall and the person who shot her. The detective spoke with defendant at the police station on July 14, and defendant told the detective that he "did not mean" to shoot Hamilton.

¶ 11 The State also presented evidence regarding the recovery and examination of shell casings from the scene. Officer William Purvis testified that he was the evidence technician assigned to the case. He stated that he recovered four empty 9-millimeter shell casings and two live 9-millimeter shells from the scene. Dustin Johnson testified as a firearms expert from the Illinois State Police crime lab. He examined the recovered evidence and determined that all of the shell casings were fired from the same firearm.

¶ 12 Doctor Thomas Widell testified that he treated Hamilton in the emergency room after she was shot. He stated that she suffered "a through and through injury" to the posterior of her right calf and a graze wound to her left calf.

¶ 13 Defendant testified on his own behalf. He stated that he had received information that a man, Kevin Whitaker, had been given a gun and was being admitted into a gang. Defendant knew Whitaker from playing basketball. On July 7, 2005, he went to talk to Whitaker. When he found Whitaker, they discussed Whitaker's gang involvement. Defendant decided to take the gun given to Whitaker and return it to an individual called "Jed." Jed's full name is Jesse Knighton.

¶ 14 A friend drove defendant to the area where Knighton lived. When he saw Knighton, he got out of the car and approached Knighton and another man, "Mr. Williams." Defendant testified that he was "a little angry." Defendant told Knighton that he wanted to have a word with him. Defendant stated that they talked about why Knighton was "trying to recruit people." Defendant said that Knighton became "real aggressive."

¶ 15 Defendant testified that Knighton told him "to stay the 'F' up out of his business and that he was going to 'F' [him] up." Defendant stated that Knighton started to reach for a gun in his waistband. In response, defendant "discharged" the gun he had. Defendant said he believed that Knighton was going to shoot him and Knighton was "fittin' to 'F' me up like he said." Defendant "discharged one shot to the ground" to scare Knighton away. At this point, Knighton had pulled his gun out. Defendant said he then fired one shot, but did not intend to shoot Knighton. He then fired "maybe like two more shots" into the air to scare Knighton. Defendant stated that Knighton ran away from him and then defendant ran in the other direction. Defendant testified that his intention in firing the gun was to scare Knighton "in defense" of himself.

¶ 16 Later, defendant received a call from a friend who told defendant that a little girl had been shot. He heard it was Barbara Walsh's daughter and the little girl did not "deserve that." He went to the hospital to inform Walsh that he "accidently shot her daughter and that [he] wanted her to know that [he] was sorry and that [he] didn't try to do it and that [he] was deeply sorry." Defendant testified that he did not intend to shoot Hamilton, but he shot the gun to defend himself.

¶ 17 On cross-examination, defendant testified that Whitaker was not a family member or a good friend, but Whitaker "was a guy that [defendant saw himself] trying to guide into the right way." Defendant admitted that the conversation took place near the food site in the housing project between 10 a.m. and noon, but he disagreed that it was lunch time.

¶ 18 When defendant approached Knighton on the street, defendant said the gun was in his jacket pocket. At the start of the conversation, defendant stated, his hands were at his side, but during the conversation, he put both of his hands in his jacket pockets. Defendant denied that he was angry when he approached Knighton, but said that he was "pissed off." He testified that Knighton had a chrome revolver in his waistband. Defendant was unsure if Knighton ever fired his gun. He did not see Knighton fire a gun in his direction. Defendant stated that Knighton did not know defendant had a gun because the conversation did not make it to that point. When asked by the prosecutor if he fired five shots, defendant said, "maybe."

¶ 19 Defendant testified that did not deny shooting Hamilton. He admitted to visiting Hamilton in the hospital on July 8 and telling Walsh what happened. However, defendant denied telling Walsh that he was trying to shoot the other man who had previously shot him. Defendant also denied speaking with the police and telling them that he did not mean to shoot Hamilton.

¶ 20 Pierre Williams testified for the defense. Williams admitted that he had a prior conviction for a "possession case."

¶ 21 On July 7, 2005, Williams stated that at around 11:30 a.m. or noon, he was walking with Jesse Knighton. He knew Knighton from the neighborhood. They were walking near 44th and Lamon in the LeClaire Courts. At one point, they encountered defendant. Defendant walked up to them and asked to speak with Knighton about giving kids in the neighborhood a gun. Knighton told defendant to stay out of his business, but defendant said no, he wanted to talk to Knighton. Williams stated that Knighton "didn't like it very well" and told defendant that Knighton was "going to 'F' him up." Williams understood that to mean "mess him up."

ΒΆ 22 Williams stated that he knew Knighton to carry a gun and that Knighton was carrying a gun that day. Williams said Knighton had a black revolver. During the conversation with defendant, Williams saw Knighton reaching for the gun from his waistband. Williams testified that defendant was trying to hand the gun to Knighton when he walked up, but when Knighton started to reach for his gun, defendant fired the gun. At that point, Williams turned and ran. He heard another shot as he was running. Williams hid behind a car and saw defendant fire another ...

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