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People v. Willis

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

December 22, 2014

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TREMAYNE R. WILLIS, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 11CF599 Honorable John P. Schmidt, Judge Presiding.

JUSTICE APPLETON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Holder White and Steigmann concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

APPLETON JUSTICE

¶ 1 Defendant, Tremayne R. Willis, is serving 43 years' imprisonment for first degree felony murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(3) (West 2010)) as well as a concurrent term of 15 years' imprisonment for the predicate felony, aggravated discharge of a firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-1.2(a)(1) (West 2010)).

¶ 2 Defendant appeals on three grounds: (1) the trial court erred by refusing to instruct the jury on reckless discharge of a firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-1.5(a) (West 2010)), which, he contends, was included in aggravated discharge of a firearm; (2) the court erred by refusing to instruct the jury on involuntary manslaughter (720 ILCS 5/9-3(a) (West 2010)), which, he contends, was included in felony murder; and (3) it was a violation of the one-act, one-crime rule to convict him of both felony murder and the predicate felony of aggravated discharge of a firearm.

¶ 3 Because we disagree that reckless discharge of a firearm is included in aggravated discharge of a firearm and that involuntary manslaughter is included in felony murder, we find no abuse of discretion in the refusal of the proposed jury instructions on those alternative offenses. As the State concedes, however, it was a violation of the one-act, one-crime rule to convict defendant of both felony murder and the predicate felony, aggravated discharge of a firearm. Therefore, we vacate the conviction of aggravated discharge of a firearm, but we otherwise affirm the trial court's judgment.

¶ 4 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 5 A. The Charges Relevant to This Appeal

¶ 6 Count I of the information alleged that on July 4, 2011, defendant committed first degree felony murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(3) (West 2010)) by doing the following:

"[D]efendant, without lawful justification, while committing a forcible felony, Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm, in violation of 720 ILCS 5/24-1.2(a)(1), discharged a firearm at or into a building he reasonably should have known to be occupied and the firearm was discharged from a place outside the building and thereby caused the death of Steven Rogers ."

¶ 7 Count II alleged that, on the same date, defendant committed aggravated discharge of a firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-1.2(a)(1) (West 2010)) by doing the following:

"[D]efendant knowingly discharged a firearm at or into a building located at 2430 North Grand Ave. East, Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, he reasonabl[y] should have known to be occupied and the firearm was discharged from a place outside the building ."

¶ 8 B. Evidence in the Jury Trial

¶ 9 In the jury trial, which was held in June 2012, the evidence tended to show the following.

ΒΆ 10 The evening of July 4, 2011, defendant was in downtown Springfield, watching fireworks with his girlfriend, Jamiela Scott, and some friends. After the fireworks were finished, they returned to Scott's house, near the corner of North Stephens Avenue and Ridge Avenue. ...


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