Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 11 CR 10735. Honorable Catherine M. Haberkorn, Judge, Presiding.
Affirmed in part and reversed in part; cause remanded with directions.
FOR APPELLANT(s): Michael J. Pelletier, Alan D. Goldberg, Tonya Joy Reedy, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Chicago, IL.
FOR APPELLEE(s): Alan J. Spellberg, Carol L. Gaines, Justin R. Kordys, Assistant State's Attorneys, Chicago, IL.
PRESIDING JUSTICE HOFFMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Lampkin and Rochford concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] Following a bench trial, the defendant, Stanley Brown, was convicted of attempted first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/8-4(a) (West 2010); 720 ILCS 5/9-1 (West 2010)) and sentenced to 17 years' imprisonment. On appeal from that conviction, the defendant argues that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had the specific intent to kill. For the reasons which follow, we reverse the defendant's conviction and sentence for attempted first-degree murder, affirm his conviction on all other charges, and remand this cause back to the circuit court for resentencing.
[¶2] As the result of the injuries sustained by Chersari Jones on June 20, 2011, the defendant was charged by information with attempted first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/8-4(a) (West 2010); 720 ILCS 5/9-1 (West 2010)), two counts of aggravated domestic battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.3(a) (West 2010)), and three counts of aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-4(a), (b)(1) (West 2010)). The evidence adduced at trial established that the defendant and Jones were acquainted for over 20 years and had been romantically involved since 2005 or 2006. In May of 2007, the defendant and Jones were living together. Jones testified that on May 27, 2007, the defendant struck and kicked her while he was intoxicated. Following this incident, Jones ordered the defendant to move out of her home. Approximately 7 to 8 months later, Jones told the defendant that " if he moved back in he cannot have another drink." Thereafter, the defendant again took up residence in the apartment that Jones shared with her two children.
[¶3] In the afternoon of June 19, 2011, Jones's children left the apartment to spend the night with Jones's sisters. The defendant also left the apartment that afternoon. Jones testified that, when she went to bed between 10 and 11 p.m., the defendant still had not returned. At approximately 3 a.m. on June 20, 2011, the defendant returned home and came into the bedroom which he shared with Jones. According to Jones, she suspected that the defendant had been drinking, and as a consequence, she got out of bed and went into her daughter's bedroom to sleep. At 5 a.m., Jones got up and began preparing to go to work. When the defendant awoke, Jones told him to gather his belongings as she wanted him to leave the apartment. She stated that she told the defendant that she was going to drive him to his mother's home. According to Jones, the defendant said something, but she was not paying attention and told him that she did not want to argue. Jones testified that, as she was leaving her bedroom, she felt " punching" in her back. She stated that shortly thereafter she felt moisture running down her back, and when she looked down, she saw that she was bleeding. Jones ran out of the apartment and into the rear alley, yelling for help. She testified that she got into her car and drove to the nearest police station.
[¶4] When Jones arrived at the police station, she encountered Officer Thomas Polick and told him that she had been stabbed. Officer Polick testified that, when he approached Jones's car, he saw blood on her back and on the seat of the car. Officer Polick called for an ambulance.
[¶5] The ambulance arrived, and Jones was taken to Loyola University Medical Center where she came under the care of Dr. Eric Szczesniak. Dr. Szczesniak testified that Jones presented with four lacerations; two were on the left side of her back near the shoulder blade, one was on the rear of her left triceps, and the fourth was on the upper portion of her back. The lacerations had penetrated the skin as well as some of the deeper tissues. However, there was no injury to the deeper underlying structures. According to Dr. Szczesniak, the cuts were likely made by a sharp instrument as they were clean and did not have jagged or rough edges. Dr. Szczesniak testified that he cleaned the wounds and sutured them. Although Dr. Szczesniak did not testify to the number of stitches required to close the lacerations, Jones testified that she received 20 stitches. The doctor opined that it was possible that " the area in which Ms. ...