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People v. Newlin

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

September 23, 2014

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
WAYNE NEWLIN, Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Shelby County. No. 12-CF-3. Honorable Michael P. Kiley, Judge, presiding.

SYLLABUS

On appeal from defendant's conviction for the first-degree murder of his romantic rival under a theory of accountability, the appellate court rejected defendant's contentions that he was entitled to a new sentencing hearing or a lesser sentence due to the trial court's erroneous consideration of the fact that his conduct caused serious harm, a factor inherent in the charged offense; furthermore, the appellate court declined to consider the State's attempt to raise the issue of fines without filing a cross-appeal, since the record did not mention any fines, Supreme Court Rule 604(a) does not allow the State to appeal the imposition of fines, and there was no authority for the State to raise the issue as it did.

For Appellant: Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Jacqueline L. Bullard, Deputy Defender, Duane E. Schuster, Assistant Appellate Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Springfield, IL.

For Appellee: Gina Vonderheide, Shelby County State's Attorney, Shelby County Courthouse, Shelbyville, IL; Patrick Delfino, Director, David J. Robinson, Deputy Director, Linda Susan McClain, Staff Attorney, State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor, Springfield, IL.

JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Chapman and Stewart concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

GOLDENHERSH, JUSTICE.

Page 278

[¶1] Defendant, Wayne Newlin, was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder under a theory of accountability (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a) (West 2010)). The circuit court of Shelby County sentenced defendant to 55 years in the Department of Corrections. On appeal, defendant contends he is entitled to a new sentencing hearing or a reduction of his sentence because the circuit court erroneously considered that his conduct caused serious harm, a factor inherent

Page 279

in the offense of first-degree murder. The State attempts to raise an issue concerning the imposition of fines, but failed to cross-appeal. For the following reasons, we affirm.

[¶2] FACTS

[¶3] Defendant was charged by indictment with first-degree murder under a theory of accountability. The indictment alleged that defendant committed the offense in that he, " or one for whose conduct he is accountable," shot the victim, Jeremy Morgan, in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun. The case was tried before a jury during which the following evidence was adduced.

[¶4] Defendant was the victim's ex-stepfather. Defendant lived with the victim and Heather Thomas in a trailer. Defendant believed he might have a chance to be romantically involved with Thomas, but for the victim's presence. Shortly before Christmas 2011, defendant talked to Michael Pease about his frustration with the victim and told Pease he wanted to get rid of the victim. Pease worked for defendant as a mechanic. Pease agreed to kill the victim, but said he did not have a gun. On December 23, 2011, defendant gave Pease a 12-gauge shotgun and some shells and told Pease he should kill the victim on December 25, as he and Thomas would be gone at a Christmas party.

[¶5] When Pease arrived at the trailer on Christmas day, the victim was not there. Pease called defendant and asked him what to do. According to Pease, defendant told him the door was open and to go in and steal the victim's property in order to " piss [the victim] off." Pease then took some of the victim's property and crushed a dog cage after releasing the dog from it. Defendant directed Pease to let the dog out because the dog served as an attachment between the victim and Thomas. As Pease was getting into his vehicle to leave the property on which the trailer was located, the victim and his brother, Jason, arrived. The victim told Pease to get off his property. Pease left.

[¶6] On December 27, 2011, defendant contacted Pease and said he wanted to talk to him. Defendant picked up Pease at his mother's house because defendant did not want to have any conversations over the phone about killing the victim. Defendant wanted Pease to come up with a plan to kill the victim. Defendant told Pease there was a well at an abandoned farm near the trailer in which he could dump the victim's body. Defendant said he had plastic at ...


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