Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 09-CR-17192. The
Honorable Maura Slattery-Boyle Judge, presiding.
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE: Anita Alvarez, State's Attorney Cook
County, Judy DeAngelis, Anthony M. O'Brien, Assistant
State's Attorneys, Chicago, Illinois.
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT: Ziad Alnaqib, Attorney at Law, Chicago,
Presiding Justice and Neville, Justice concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
[¶1] Zachary O'Connor was shot and
killed on the front porch of a house in Chicago's Pullman
neighborhood. Also shot was Paul Rayon, who survived.
Defendant Lendell Williams was indicted and convicted by a
jury of two charges of first degree murder and of attempted
murder and aggravated battery with a firearm. A jury
convicted Williams on all counts. The trial court sentenced
Williams to a total of 80 years' imprisonment.
[¶2] Williams argues: (1) he raised a
prima facie case of discrimination under Batson
v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 96-98, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90
L.Ed.2d 69 (1986); (2) the trial court erred in granting the
State's motion in limine to restrict reference
to a shooting a few hours earlier at the same address as an
" incident" ; (3) the trial court unfairly limited
cross-examination of the State's key eyewitness; and (4)
the State did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that
Williams acted as one of the two shooters aiming at the
people on the porch. We affirm, holding that defense counsel
did not carry the burden of establishing a prima
facie case of purposeful discrimination required by
Batson ; Williams' cross-examination of the key
eyewitness to the shooting was not unfairly limited because
the trial court reversed its ruling to allow questions
regarding an earlier shooting on the same day and same
location; and the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt by
credible eyewitnesses that Williams was one of the shooters.
[¶4] Shortly after 5 p.m. on the afternoon
of June 8, 2009, Zachary O'Connor, Paul Rayon, Anthony
Watts, and Nikita Davis were celebrating Davis'
sister's eighth grade graduation when a car drove slowly
past the house and then disappeared around the corner. A few
minutes later, two individuals approached the house on foot,
pulled out handguns, and began shooting. Ten bullets hit
Zachary O'Connor, killing him. Bullets struck Paul Rayon
about the face and shoulder causing the loss of vision in his
[¶5] Six hours earlier, a shooting took
place at the same address (first shooting) in which no one
was injured. Williams was never identified as being involved
in the first shooting. Davis, Rayon, and Watts identified
Williams as one of the two shooters in the second shooting.
Motion to Suppress Identifications
[¶8] Williams filed a motion to suppress the
pretrial eyewitness identification of all three witnesses.
The hearing on the motion disclosed the following evidence.
[¶9] Chicago police department detective
Silvia Van Witzenburg met with Anthony Watts and Nikita Davis
at Area 2 headquarters on June 9, 2009. They had come to
inquire about Watts' car which police impounded after the
second shooting as it had been damaged by bullets. Van
Witzenburg called the detective assigned to investigate both
shootings, Timothy Murphy, but he was unavailable. Murphy
briefed Van Witzenburg on the case and asked her to show
Watts and Davis photographs of suspects in the two shootings.
[¶10] Van Witzenburg showed Davis two photo
arrays; the first had five mugshots and the second had six;
both contained Juan Crump's mug shot. Detective Murphy
did not give Williams' name to Van Witzenburg as a
possible offender and neither array included Williams'
On the first array of five photos, Davis circled four,
including Crump's, as being at the first shooting, and
she wrote, " 4 was at the shotting [ sic
]." Davis wrote first names on three photos, spelling
Crump's first name " Wan." On the second array
of six photos, Davis again identified Crump and the same
three as being at the first shooting. Davis wrote "
First shotter gunman Wan [ sic ]" with an arrow
drawn to Crump's photo. Davis identified the last mug
shot of the six (an individual named Travell Adams) and wrote
" 2nd shotter Lil-Nu [ sic ] main shotter [
sic ]" and signed " Nikita" on the
photograph. Davis explained that at the second shooting,
there were two shooters and the last photo showed the shooter
who was trying to pull a gun out of his waistband. Davis said
" Lil Nuk" was the main shooter, but did not
identify any of the photos as being " Lil Nuk."
[¶11] Watts, who was not present at the
first shooting, viewed the same six-photo array that did not
include Williams' photograph. Watts put an asterisk on
Crump's photo and wrote, " Wayn [ sic ] was
in the car." Watts did not view the five-photo array.
[¶12] Detective Murphy, the lead detective
on the murder investigation, interviewed " multiple
witnesses," including Watts, Davis, and Rachelle Carson
the day of the shootings. The next day, when Davis was at the
police station, she told Murphy by telephone that she knew
the nickname of one of the shooters. A few days later, on
June 15, Murphy met with Davis and showed her a sequential
photo array of five separate mugshots, one of them
Williams' photograph. Davis identified Williams, using
his real name that she had learned in the meantime.
[¶13] On June 15, Murphy showed Paul Rayon,
who was still in the hospital, a photo array of five mugshots
that did not include Williams' photograph. He had a
bandage over his eye due to the gunshot wound and told Murphy
that he wanted to see a physical lineup. Two days later,
Rayon viewed a photographic array that included Williams.
Rayon tentatively identified Williams but requested to view a
[¶14] On June 24, Murphy met with Watts and
showed him the six-photo array that included a mug shot of
Williams. Watts identified Williams and wrote "
shooter" above his signature. Watts also identified
Crump but only circled his mug shot, indicating Crump's
[¶15] On August 28, Davis, Watts, and Rayon
separately viewed a physical lineup and each selected
Williams as one of the shooters.
[¶16] Murphy testified that bullet casings
and cartridges found at the scene indicated that two types of
guns had been fired, corroborating the involvement of two
[¶17] After hearing arguments, the trial
court denied the motion to suppress.
Motion In Limine Regarding First Shooting
[¶19] The State filed a motion in
limine requesting that both parties refer to the earlier
shooting as " an incident" rather than " a
shooting," arguing that allowing evidence of the earlier
" shooting" would be more prejudicial than
probative. The State also requested that the parties
stipulate that Davis identified Crump in a photographic array
presented to her on June 9, 2009, the day after the incident,
and that the photographic array did not include a photograph
of Williams. In opposition, Williams argued that the evidence
about the earlier shooting would inform a jury about all the
events on June 8, possibly reflecting on the witnesses'
credibility. The trial court granted the motion, finding
" no nexus" between the first shooting and the
second relating to Williams as well as prejudice.