Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County. No. 11-CF-541. Honorable Judge, presiding.
Defendant's convictions for first-degree murder and armed robbery were upheld over his contentions that he was denied a fair trial by certain evidentiary rulings and that the trial court erred in refusing to give an instruction on the lesser-included offense of theft, since the trial court did not err in refusing to admit the testimony of defendant's sister in support of his claim that he acted in self-defense on the basis of remoteness and uncertainty, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting allegedly " gruesome" and " needlessly prejudicial" autopsy photographs, and an instruction on theft would have been inappropriate in view of the evidence that defendant took the victim's money after the use of force.
For Appellant: Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Alan D. Goldberg, Deputy Defender, Peter Sgro, Assistant Appellate Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, First Judicial District, Chicago, IL.
For Appellee: Hon. Thomas D. Gibbons, State's Attorney, Madison County Courthouse, Edwardsville, IL; Patrick Delfino, Director, Stephen E. Norris, Deputy Director, Whitney E. Atkins, Staff Attorney, Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor, Mt. Vernon, IL.
JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Spomer and Cates concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] After a jury trial in the circuit court of Madison County, defendant, Ray Terrance Slack, was convicted of first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2) (West 2010)) and armed robbery (720 ILCS 5/18-2(a)(1) (West 2010)). He was sentenced to consecutive terms of 40 years in the Department of Corrections on the murder conviction and 7 years on the armed robbery conviction. The two issues raised by defendant on direct appeal are: (1) whether
defendant received a fair trial and (2) whether the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of theft. We affirm.
[¶3] Defendant was charged by indictment with first-degree murder and armed robbery of the victim, Bob Garrett. The victim was 77 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall, and weighed between 140 and 150 pounds. Garrett was wearing a catheter when he was killed and had physical ailments, including coronary artery disease and emphysema.
[¶4] The victim's neighbor, Mark Cope, testified that he lives on Carl Street in Alton. It is a dead-end street, and the only other residents of the street were Cope's father and the victim. Around midnight on March 16, 2011, Cope was on his porch smoking when he saw a pickup truck with its lights and engine off parked on the street. There was a man in the driver's seat and a man outside the truck who appeared nervous. Cope shined a flashlight on the man outside the truck, which made the man even more nervous. The truck lights came on, and the truck started to back up. Cope dialed 911. Cope then went to the victim's home and knocked on the door, but got no response. Cope contacted the police again and asked them to check on the victim's welfare.
[¶5] Officers Espinoza and McCray of the Alton police department responded to the victim's house where they found the victim lying dead in the backyard with a wallet next to him. There were no weapons near the body. The officers could not gain entry to the house due to a large amount of debris blocking both the front and ...