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The People of the State of Illinois v. Kyle L. Wright

April 17, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
KYLE L. WRIGHT,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 07CF824 Honorable Katherine M. McCarthy, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Appleton

Carla Bender 4th District Appellate Court, IL

JUSTICE APPLETON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Steigmann and Justice Knecht concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Defendant, Kyle L. Wright, who is serving a 55-year term of imprisonment for first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West 2006)), appeals from the summary dismissal of his post-conviction petition. He makes several claims in his petition, but the only claims he pursues in this appeal are those of ineffective assistance of counsel. We conclude that our previous decision, on direct appeal, collaterally estops defendant from making his claims of ineffective assistance. Therefore, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 3 In the jury trial, which occurred in March 2008, the evidence tended to show the following. On June 2, 2007, defendant was driving in Decatur, and Ebony Oldham was one of his passengers. Defendant was angry with Robert May for selling him $800 of fake cocaine. May was standing beside Derrick Matthews and Ricky Johnson in the 800 block of West Macon Street. According to Oldham and the other passengers in defendant's car, defendant stopped the car, pulled out a pistol, and fired three rounds through the open front passenger window. One of the bullets hit Matthews in the head, killing him. May and Johnson were uninjured. The other two bullets struck a nearby house.

¶ 4 The jury found defendant guilty of the first degree murder of Matthews. The jury also answered yes to the question of whether the State had proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that defendant had personally discharged a firearm and thereby had proximately caused the death of Matthews.

¶ 5 The trial court held a sentencing hearing in April 2008. In the sentencing hearing, the State called Emma Matthews, the mother of the murder victim. She testified her deceased son had two daughters, aged four and six, to whom he had been devoted, visiting them every day and taking them to school. He also had been close to his sister. Defendant's sister, his children, and the mother of his children all would miss him greatly, Matthews said.

¶ 6 The State next called James Addison. He testified he lived at 876 West Macon Street and that on June 2, 2007, he was sitting in his living room, the room closest to the street, watching television with a friend, when a bullet flew by him, about an inch from his head, and "exploded" in the wall. Particles from the wall struck him.

¶ 7 The State next called David Pruitt, a Decatur police officer, who identified an audio recording of a telephone call defendant had made from the Macon County jail to an eyewitness, Oldham. The State played the recording for the trial court. The court remarked that the recording was difficult to follow but that defendant appeared to be asking Oldham to leave town.

¶ 8 Defendant made a statement in allocution, which really was not a statement in allocution so much as a declaration of his innocence and a complaint about his lack of opportunity to read the police reports and other discovery materials.

¶ 9 The trial court recited the following circumstances as factors in aggravation: the telephone call defendant had made from jail to Oldham requesting her to leave town (but because the recording or the conversation in the recording was unclear, the court said it was not giving this factor much weight), his previous violation of probation, his prior Class 4 felony conviction and several misdemeanor convictions, his history of drug activity, and his lack of work history. In addition, the court remarked: "For factors in aggravation[,] *** we certainly have conduct *** that caused serious harm and obvious death to the victim, Derrick Matthews." The court also considered the imperilment of Addison and his guest as an aggravating factor. The court said:

"But, then[,] we[] also[] have [the facts that] defendant's conduct did threaten serious harm. Doesn't have to cause serious harm. The ...


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