United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
LAMONT E. BOYKINS, Petitioner,
DAVE REDNOUR, Warden Respondent.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
SHARON JOHNSON COLEMAN, District Judge.
Pro se petitioner Lamont Boykins is an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections at the Menard Correctional Center, in Menard, Illinois. Following a 2004 jury trial, petitioner was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to thirty years incarceration. Boykins has petitioned the court under 28 U.S.C. §2254 for a writ of habeas corpus, challenging his conviction. For the following reasons, the petition is denied.
Trial Court Proceedings
For purposes of a habeas petition, the factual findings of the state appellate court are presumed to be correct. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). Accordingly, this Court adopts the appellate court's recitation of the facts and evidence. ( See generally, Dkt. #12, Ex. A, Order, People v. Boykins , No. 2-05-0448 (Ill.App. 2007).)
Petitioner was charged and convicted of first-degree murder of Durrell Gales. The State's theory of the case is that petitioner and Durrell did not get along. Durrell apparently accused petitioner of mistreating Durrell's sister, Antoinette Gales, who was the mother of petitioner's child. According to the State, in the early morning hours of July 19, 2003, petitioner and Antoinette were out socializing separately with their respective friends when they encountered each other in a nightclub and argued. When the nightclub closed, the patrons mingled in the parking lot of a nearby gas station. As several cars pulled out onto Green Bay Road, petitioner and his friend, Tylonne Fain, who were in Antoinette's white Chevrolet Lumina, chased a car in which Anton Thompson, David Usher, and Durrell were occupants. Petitioner allegedly fired several shots from the front passenger seat of the Lumina, killing Durrell, who was in the front passenger seat of the lead car.
Police Investigation on the Night of the Shooting
At trial, Officer Dennis Cress testified that, at about 2 a.m. on July 19, 2003, he stepped outside his home and heard approximately six shots fired from somewhere south of his home. At 2:10 a.m., Cress called 911. Officer Michael O'Neill responded to Cress's 911 call. He and other officers searched the area and discovered shell casings on Green Bay Road in the northbound lanes just south of 16th Street.
Christopher Luckie, a firearms and tool mark examiner for the North Illinois Crime Laboratory, opined that all six casings were fired by the same.45 caliber semi-automatic handgun. According to Luckie, such guns usually eject casings to the right. Luckie examined three fired bullets, but he was never asked for an opinion regarding them.
Officer Salvator Cecala testified that, as he was responding to Cress's report of gunshots, he received a report that a shooting victim had arrived at St. Therese Medical Center in Waukegan. Cecala went to the emergency room where he found a young man being treated for a severe gunshot wound to the head. Cecala saw a blue Chevrolet with bullet holes parked near the hospital entrance. Cecala placed crime scene tape around the car, and while he did so, a woman approached and identified herself as Vanessa Thompson. Cecala asked some general questions, and Ms. Thompson responded that her son, Anton, was the driver of the Chevrolet, and David and Durrell, the victim, were passengers.
Without objection from defense counsel, Cecala further testified to what Ms. Thompson told him. Cecala testified that "[Ms. Thompson] says Durrell was having some altercations with-she used a nickname with petitioner, and because of Antoinette, which is Durrell's sister, and they have been having altercations the last few days about something going on between the two of them, their relationship." According to Cecala, Ms. Thompson identified petitioner as "part of the shooting on Green Bay road." At the scene, Cecala told Sergeant William Bell that petitioner was involved in the shooting.
On cross-examination, defense counsel elicited from Cecala that Ms. Thompson obtained her information from her son, Anton. Cecala mentioned Ms. Thompson's identification of petitioner as being involved in the shooting on direct examination, cross-examination, and redirect examination. Defense counsel did not object at any time during Cecala's testimony.
Bell testified that he arrived at the hospital at 2:50 a.m. Durrell was in critical condition with a gunshot wound to his head. Bell also referred the case to the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force. Bell testified that Cecala told him that petitioner had fired shots at a blue car while driving a white Lumina. Defense counsel initially did not object to Bell's testimony about Cecala's statement, but eventually objected when the prosecutor revisited the topic while questioning Bell. The trial court sustained the single objection on hearsay grounds.
On cross-examination, counsel questioned Bell's knowledge of the source of information regarding petitioner's involvement in the crime. Bell said that he did not know where Cecala had obtained the information. Counsel asked Bell, "You learned later that a person who wasn't even a witness, Candice Moore, told the police [that petitioner] was involved at 3:08 a.m., isn't that true?" Bell responded, "No." Counsel continued to ask Bell whether Candice Moore could have been the person who identified petitioner as being involved. Despite the court's rulings to sustain the State's objection to the questions, defense counsel continued to return to the subject.
Officer Anthony Paulson testified that he arrived at the hospital at 2:36 a.m. Paulson transported Anton to the North Chicago police station. Paulson testified that he did not question Anton during the five-minute ride, but Anton "talked to [Paulson] about what happened with the shooting." The trial court sustained defense counsel's objections to the contents of the conversation.
Tameka Montgomery and Tewalia Alexander
Tameka Montgomery and Tewalia Alexander testified to their interaction with petitioner and his friend Tylonne on the night of the shooting. Tameka and Tewalia generally corroborated each other's testimony except where indicated. Tameka, Tewalia, and their friend, Aljeanette Strong, arrived at the nightclub in North Chicago at about 11:50 p.m. Tewalia admitted dancing with petitioner, but she denied causing any disturbance from doing so. When the club closed at 2 a.m., Tameka, Tewalia, Aljeanette, and the other patrons departed. The three women met petitioner in the parking lot where he asked them where they were headed next. The women told petitioner that they were going to Tewalia's parents' house on Greenfield Street in North Chicago.
The women then drove to a nearby gas station, encountered petitioner there and again told him they were going to Greenfield Street. At trial, Tameka did not recall seeing Anton, Durrell, and David at the gas station, but acknowledged her prior inconsistent statement to the police in which she stated that she saw them drive north on Green Bay Road and that petitioner followed shortly thereafter in the same direction. Tameka testified that petitioner left the gas station in a white car with someone she did not recognize. Tewalia identified Tylonne as the driver of the white car, which headed north on Green Bay Road. The women left the gas station about five minutes after petitioner, turned onto 22nd Street and drove around before arriving at Greenfield Street.
Tameka testified that petitioner and Tylonne arrived at the house on Greenfield a minute after the women. Tameka identified petitioner as the driver and Tylonne as the passenger of the white car. However, later in the trial, Officer Timothy Jonites testified that Tameka told him that petitioner was in the passenger seat and Tylonne was in the driver's seat when the white Lumina arrived at the home on Greenfield. Tewalia testified that petitioner and Tylonne had already arrived and were sitting in the white Lumina when the three women arrived. Tewalia identified Tylonne as the driver and petitioner as the passenger.
The group gathered outside the house for about an hour. Tameka perceived petitioner to be nervous, but noticed nothing particularly unusual. Jonites testified that Tameka told him about a call that prompted petitioner to say, "They are trying to pin a shooting on me. They are saying that I shot my baby's mother's brother." At trial, Tameka did not recall petitioner receiving a cell phone call. Tewalia testified that petitioner received a phone call, and that petitioner said, "They said I just killed that boy" and "that's bullshit."
Tewalia testified that she received a call from petitioner the week after the shooting. Petitioner asked if she remembered dancing with him and his presence outside her home on the night of the shooting, and said that his attorney wished to speak with her. While cross-examining Tameka, defense counsel asked four times whether the police had pressured or threatened her into making a statement they desired. The prosecution objected each time, and the trial court sustained the objections.
Maronda Dixon, Candice Moore, and Antoinette Gales
Maronda Dixon and Candice Moore, who are Antoinette's cousins, also testified at trial. On the night of the shooting, Maronda drove Candice and Antoinette to the club and saw petitioner dancing with Tewalia. When petitioner saw Antoinette in the club, he approached her and they had a verbal and physical altercation. Antoinette later danced with another man, petitioner noticed, and they fought again. Maronda, Candice, and Antoinette left the club at about 2 a.m. and again encountered petitioner in the parking lot. Candice testified that she saw Tylonne and petitioner in the white Lumina, with Tylonne in the driver's seat. Tylonne pulled the Lumina in front of Maronda's car to block them in. At that point, Anton, Durrell, and David pulled up, and Tylonne and petitioner left.
Maronda, Candice, and Antoinette drove Maronda's car to the gas station, which was crowded with people who had just left the club. The women spoke with Anton, Durrell, and David, and agreed to meet at a restaurant north of the gas station. Maronda testified that she saw petitioner and Tylonne in the white Lumina as they drove north on Green Bay road past the gas station. Candice testified that Anton, Durrell, and David left the gas station and drove north on Green Bay Road before the women. Candice saw the Lumina parked in a parking lot across the street from the gas station. Candice testified that the car she was in pulled out directly behind and followed Anton's car going north on Green Bay Road to go to the restaurant. Petitioner and Tylonne pulled out and followed the women. Candice's car subsequently turned east to go another way, and Candice saw petitioner and Tylonne continue to follow directly behind the car carrying Anton, Durrell, and David. Officers Marvin Hodo and Andrew Jones each testified that Candice did not give them this information them the day after the shooting.
Maronda, Candice, and Antoinette drove around for 5 to 10 minutes before arriving at the restaurant. Antoinette received a cell phone call that Durrell had been shot. The women went to St. Therese hospital. At the hospital, Candice held Antoinette's cell phone, which received two ...