Germill D. Murdock, Petitioner-Appellant,
Stephanie Dorethy, Respondent-Appellee.
November 3, 2016
from the United States District Court for the Central
District of Illinois. No. 1:13-cv-01190-CSB-DGB - Colin S.
Bauer, Manion, and Hamilton, Circuit Judges.
2003, Petitioner Germill Murdock was convicted in Illinois
state court of first degree murder and aggravated battery
with a firearm. In the context of his postconviction claim of
ineffective assistance of counsel, a suppression hearing was
held to determine whether statements Petitioner made to the
police were voluntary, given that Petitioner was 16 years old
and gave the statements without an attorney or other adult
present. The trial court held that his statements were
voluntary and denied the motion to suppress. Both the
Illinois Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court
affirmed that judgment. Petitioner then filed a petition for
a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The
district court denied the petition, finding that the Illinois
Supreme Court's decision was not unreasonable. We affirm.
October 2001, Petitioner was charged with first degree
murder, aggravated battery with a firearm, and aggravated
discharge of a firearm for his role in the death of Eric
Eppinger and the wounding of Sam Clark, Jr. After two
mistrials due to deadlocked juries, a third jury convicted
Petitioner of the murder and aggravated battery charges.
Trial and Petitioner's Statements to Police
evidence presented by the state established that on September
4, 2001, Petitioner drove Shereaf Fleming and Cortez Trapps
to a park in Peoria, Illinois, where Fleming and Trapps shot
and killed Eppinger and wounded Clark. The principal issue
was whether Petitioner knew about or was a part of
Fleming's and Trapps' plan to shoot Eppinger when he
agreed to drive them to the park.
Michael Mushinsky of the Peoria Police Department gave the
following testimony at trial: Approximately two weeks after
the shooting, Petitioner, who was 16 years old, was involved
in a traffic stop. Upon learning his identity, the officers
brought him to the police station to question him about the
shooting. When they arrived at the station, Mushinksy
informed Petitioner that he was investigating Eppinger's
murder and advised Petitioner of his Miranda rights.
Petitioner stated that he understood his rights and agreed to
speak with Mushinksy.
told Petitioner what he knew about the case and asked
Petitioner to tell him exactly what happened. Petitioner said
that Trapps and Fleming told him that Eppinger was at Logan
Park and that they wanted Petitioner to drive them there
because they were going to shoot Eppinger. Petitioner told
them he did not want to drive them, but he did so anyway. As
they approached Logan Park, they saw Eppinger's car, and
Fleming told Petitioner to park in a nearby alley. After
Petitioner parked, Trapps and Fleming pulled their shirts
over their faces, pulled out guns, and walked in the
direction of Eppinger's car. After a minute, Petitioner
heard gunshots and saw Trapps and Fleming running back to the
van. Trapps and Fleming got back in the van and told
Petitioner to drive away. As they drove, Trapps said he had
the initial interview with Mushinksy, Petitioner gave a
written statement, which provided essentially the same
information that Petitioner had told Mushinsky Petitioner
wrote that he initially told Trapps and Fleming not to
"go after" Eppinger, but that he drove them anyway.
The written statement was entered into evidence at trial.
providing the statement, Petitioner signed a video release
form and agreed to give a videotaped statement, which was
also entered into evidence and played for the jury Mushinksy
testified that he read Petitioner his Miranda rights
again before recording the statement. On the recording,
Mushinsky read Petitioner his Miranda rights once
more and Petitioner stated that he understood and waived his
rights. Petitioner stated that he was answering
Mushinsky's questions voluntarily. He agreed that he had
not been struck, abused, or threatened by anyone to obtain
his statement and that no officer had made him any promises
of immunity or leniency. He also stated that he had been
allowed to go to the bathroom, eat, and drink if he needed.
recorded statement differed slightly from the written
statement. On the recording, Petitioner said that when Trapps
and Fleming asked him to drive them, they told him to
"come on" and "not to worry about" where
they were going. As they drove, Fleming stated that he knew
that Eppinger was at Logan Park. As they approached the park
and saw Eppinger parked in his car, Fleming said "we
fixing to get him." Petitioner stated that prior to
arriving at the park, neither Fleming nor Trapps said
anything about shooting Eppinger. He stated that he saw the
guns for the first time when he parked in the alley.
Petitioner suspected that Trapps and Fleming brought the guns