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People v. Walker

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

May 11, 2015

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ALONZO WALKER , Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 09 CR 5184. Honorable Thomas V. Gainer, Jr., Judge Presiding.

Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Alan D. Goldberg, Deputy Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Chicago, Illinois, (Jennifer L. Bontrager, of counsel), for APPELLANT.

Anita Alvarez, State's Attorney, County of Cook, Chicago, Illinois, (Alan J. Spellberg, Carol L. Gaines and Paul J. Connery, of counsel), for APPELLEE.

JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Delort and Justice Harris concurred in the judgment.

OPINION

CUNNINGHAM, J.

[¶1] Following a jury trial, defendant Alonzo Walker was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 42 years in prison. On appeal, defendant contends that because the jury was not asked to make any findings regarding his possession or

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discharge of a firearm, the trial court erred in imposing a 15-year firearm enhancement. Defendant further contends that the mittimus must be corrected to reflect the number of days he spent in presentence custody. For the reasons that follow, we affirm defendant's conviction and sentence and order correction of the mittimus.

[¶2] Defendant's conviction arose from the February 14, 2009, shooting death of Al Brown. The State's theory of the case was that defendant, the victim, and James Pace attempted to rob Pace's drug supplier, but during the course of the unsuccessful robbery, the victim was shot and killed. Following arrest, defendant gave several video-recorded statements to the police. Defendant was charged by indictment with nine counts of first degree murder, one count of attempted armed robbery, two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (UUW), and one count of UUW by a felon. Eventually, the State agreed to sever the UUW charges and nolprossed all other counts, save for one count of felony murder and one count of attempted armed robbery.

[¶3] At trial, Chicago police officer Gerald Kush testified that about 11 p.m. on the night in question, he and his partner responded to a call of shots fired. As they drove in a grid pattern near the given location, Officer Kush saw a man, identified in court as defendant, running down an alley at a full sprint. Defendant got to the corner, saw the officers looking at him, and slowed to a walk. He then walked up to a house and rang the doorbell several times, but no one answered. When Officer Kush and his partner announced their office, defendant immediately jumped over a fence and fled. Officer Kush followed defendant in his squad car and his partner pursued defendant on foot. Eventually, Officer Kush saw that his partner had captured defendant and was hanging onto his ankle as he dangled over another fence. Officer Kush and his partner brought defendant down from the fence. In response to Officer Kush's question as to why he ran, defendant responded that he thought he had an outstanding warrant. The officers handcuffed defendant and placed him in the squad car. Officer Kush's partner searched the area and found a loaded Hi-Point 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol just outside a gangway that defendant had run through. The police officer called out, " I got it" when he recovered the gun. At that point, defendant said, " That's not my gun. I mean I had it, but that's not my gun."

[¶4] The gun was later recovered by an evidence technician, and two fingerprint analysts employed by the Illinois State Police testified that defendant's left thumbprint was found on the gun's magazine. A trace evidence analyst testified that defendant's hands tested negative for gunshot residue. The analyst stated that based on lab results, defendant may not have discharged a firearm or, if he did, then particles of gunshot residue were not deposited on his hands, were removed by activity, or were not detected by analysis.

[¶5] Chicago police officer Conner testified that about 11 p.m. on the night in question, he and his partner responded to a call of shots fired. When they arrived at 2457 West Adams, they found the victim lying on the back porch, apparently dead from a gunshot wound. The medical examiner who performed the victim's autopsy testified that the victim suffered two gunshot wounds to the left side of his chest and that both bullets exited his body. The medical examiner concluded that the victim died of multiple gunshot wounds and the manner of death was homicide. A forensic DNA analyst testified that DNA extracted from a swab of blood taken from

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defendant's shoe matched the victim's DNA.

[¶6] Chicago police detective Carlos Cortez testified that he and several other detectives arrived at the scene sometime after 11 p.m. After observing the victim's body on the back porch, Detective Cortez and other officers entered the building through a basement window. In the basement, Detective Cortez saw a handgun on a bed and blood on the wall and railing of the stairwell to the first floor. He followed the trail of blood up the stairs to the kitchen and the back door. On the first floor, he observed blood on the front door. Through the front door was a vestibule, where Detective Cortez discovered blood on the door leading to the second-floor apartment. Detective Cortez knocked on the door, but when no one answered, he ...


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