Appeal from Circuit Court of Vermilion County. No. 11CF749. Honorable Michael D. Clary, Judge Presiding.
In an action arising from a fatal shooting following an altercation at a party, defendant's conviction for second degree murder was reversed on the ground that the trial court abused its discretion in failing to instruct the jury on involuntary manslaughter, since the evidence presented could have led a rational jury to conclude that defendant acted recklessly and did not intend to shoot the victim.
Michael J. Pelletier, Jacqueline L. Bullard, and Daaron V. Kimmel (argued), all of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Springfield, for appellant.
Randall Brinegar, State's Attorney, of Danville (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and Luke McNeill (argued), all of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.
JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Appleton and Justice Pope concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] Defendant, Alvin C. Beasley, appeals from a jury verdict of guilty of second degree murder. Defendant argues the trial court abused its discretion in failing to instruct the jury on involuntary manslaughter where some evidence supported that theory. We reverse.
[¶2] I. BACKGROUND
[¶3] On December 23, 2011, the State charged defendant with three counts of first degree murder. Count I alleged on December 23, 2011, defendant, without lawful justification and with the intent to kill, performed the acts which caused the death of Deryon S. Mullins (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West 2010)). Count II alleged on December 23, 2011, defendant, without lawful justification and with the intent to do great bodily harm, performed the acts which caused the death of Deryon S. Mullins (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West 2010)). Count III alleged on December 23, 2011, defendant, without lawful justification and knowing his acts created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm, performed the acts which caused the death of Deryon S. Mullins (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2) (West 2010)).
[¶4] Defendant's trial began on June 25, 2012. Several witnesses testified to the events occurring on December 23, 2011, the night of the shooting. A party was held at the Mullins home on Quincy Street in Danville, Illinois. The attendees were mostly teenagers. When Janet Mullins and her daughter, Monica Mullins McCoy, returned home, Monica kicked the partygoers out of their house. They began to mill around outside the house and in the street. Les Fisher and Natalie Brandon lived across the street from the Mullins house and on the corner of Outten Street. Fisher and Brandon were out for the evening, and when they returned, they found their house had been broken into. Fisher accused the young people congregated in the street of taking his television sets and Play Station, Xbox, and Wii game machines.
[¶5] The young people vehemently denied breaking into Fisher's home and taking his property. The parties screamed and yelled at each other. Fisher eventually called his brother, defendant, for some help. Defendant was riding around with his cousin and arrived at ...