Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County 10 CR 17983 Honorable
Stanley J. Sacks, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE PIERCE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Hyman specially concurred, with
opinion, joined by Justice Neville.
1 Defendant, Pharoah Defendant, who was 16-years-old at the
time of the offense, was convicted of first-degree murder,
attempt murder, and aggravated battery with a firearm
following a jury trial. He was sentenced to an aggregate
sentence of 100 years in prison. Defendant appeals, arguing
that (1) he received a de facto life sentence
without meaningful consideration of mitigating circumstances;
(2) the applicable sentencing statutes which mandate firearm
enhancements are facially unconstitutional under the Federal
and Illinois Constitutions, and under the Illinois
Constitution as applied to him; (3) section 5-130(1) of the
Illinois Juvenile Court Act (Act) (705 ILCS 405-5-130(1)
(West 2016)), which automatically transfers 16-year- olds
charged with murder and attempted murder to adult court
therefore subjecting them to mandatory adult sentencing,
violates the Federal and Illinois Constitutions and due
process; and (4) he is entitled to a new sentencing hearing
under the newly enacted section 5-4.5-105 of the Illinois
Code of Corrections (Code) (730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-105(a), (b)
(West 2016)), which requires trial courts to consider certain
factors before sentencing and gives trial courts discretion
to impose firearm enhancements for individuals under 18. For
the reasons that follow, we remand for resentencing.
3 On September 8, 2010, Pharaoh Morris fatally shot DeAntonio
Goss and attempted to kill Corey Thompson. Defendant was
charged with first-degree murder, attempt murder, and
aggravated battery with a firearm.
4 Prior to trial, the State filed two motions to admit proof
of other crimes. According to the first motion, Marvin Floyd
was shot in the back on August 21, 2010, while riding his
bicycle near a gas station. Defendant was identified as the
offender. Subsequent testing of the .45 caliber bullet
recovered from Floyd's body and the .45 caliber bullet
recovered from DeAntonio Goss's body revealed that both
bullets were fired from the same gun. The motion sought
admission of this evidence to show identity and absence of
5 The second motion stated that while at the Cook County
Jail, defendant discussed his pending murder case with his
cellmate, Ricky Whitehead. Defendant approached Whitehead
with a list of the witnesses in his pending case, each name
listed with their respective address and date of birth, and
asked Whitehead if he could "take care of them."
Understanding this to mean defendant wanted them killed,
Whitehead gave the list to Sheriff Investigator McCoy. The
investigator assigned an officer to act as a hitman and
introduced both he and defendant over a taped phone call.
Defendant asked that the undercover officer come to the jail.
Once at the jail, the officer recorded his conversations with
defendant, who gave him a list of names and asked that he
"get rid of them." The State sought to admit this
evidence of the solicitation to show defendant's
consciousness of guilt.
6 The trial court held that the evidence of the shooting of
Floyd and the evidence of the ballistics match admissible as
proof of identity. The court also held admissible the
solicitation of murder evidence to prove consciousness of
7 At trial, Marvin Floyd testified that on the date he was
shot, August 23, 2010, he had known defendant for about three
years. Floyd testified that on the afternoon of August 23,
2010, he was riding his bike to the gas station near his home
when he saw defendant at the gas station. He testified that
he saw a gun under defendant's pants, tried to flee on
his bike, but was shot in the back. He stated he was taken to
the hospital where he stayed for two months and underwent two
8 Corey Thompson testified that on September 8, 2010, after
attending class at Bowen High School, he was walking home
with his friends, among them DeAntonio Goss. At some point
Thompson and Goss reached the street corner of 86th and
Saginaw and saw that defendant and his friend, Lacy Sheppard,
were also there. Defendant began speaking to Thompson and
Goss and said, "This is what y'all want, this is
what y'all going to get, " and pulled out a gun and
pointed it at Thompson. Thompson testified that he began
running back towards school while noticing Goss running in a
different direction. Thompson stated that as he was running
he heard gunshots and then suddenly felt something hit him in
his buttocks. Thompson stated he felt pain and fell down, but
then got up to keep running before beginning to feel drowsy,
weak, and unable to run anymore. He testified he lay down in
the middle of the street, heard Goss say, "CJ, where are
you, where are you, are you okay?" and then observed
Defendant head towards Goss's voice. Thompson testified
he then heard a few more gunshots before passing out.
Thompson was taken to the hospital where he stayed for three
weeks and underwent two surgeries.
9 Ricky Whitehead testified that he was defendant's
cellmate at the Cook County Department of Corrections. He
stated that while there, defendant gave him a list of the
names of witnesses in defendant's pending trial and asked
if he could "take care of them." Whitehead
testified he understood this to mean defendant wanted them
killed, and subsequently gave the list to Sheriff McCoy.
10 Eric Bucio testified that he is an instructor at the Cook
County jail complex. He stated that on August 9, 2012, he was
assigned to investigate defendant. He testified that he
recovered a list of witness names from defendant's
11 Hilary McElligott, assistant medical examiner at Cook
County testified that she examined Goss's body. The
bullet that caused his death entered the back of his right
arm, exited on the other side of the arm and entered his body
again on the right side of his chest.
12 Patrick Brennan, a supervisor with the Illinois State
police Forensic Science Center testified that the bullet
recovered from Floyd's body, the bullet recovered from
Goss and a cartridge case that was found at the scene of the
shooting were fired from the same firearm.
13 The State rested. Defendant did not present any evidence.
14 After hearing all of the evidence, the jury found
defendant guilty of the first degree murder of Deantonio
Goss, the attempt murder of Corey Thompson and the aggravated
battery of a firearm of Thompson.
15 At the sentencing hearing, defense argued in mitigation
that defendant was a juvenile, he had a troubled background,
a history of mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and that
he had rehabilitative potential. Defense counsel explained
that defendant's father had been incarcerated for much of
defendant's life. Defense counsel explained that at the
age of 12, defendant began seeing a psychiatrist to address
his anger management and was ultimately diagnosed with
bipolar disorder for which he received medication. Moreover,
counsel pointed out that defendant attempted suicide at the
age of 15, 17, and 18. Finally, defense counsel elicited the
fact that defendant began drinking alcohol at the age of 11
followed shortly thereafter with marijuana use, and that by
the age of 13 he was drinking 20 glasses of hard alcohol and
smoking five "blunts" of marijuana every day.
Defense counsel asked the trial court for the minimum
sentence in consideration of these mitigating factors
contained in defendant's PSI report.
16 In allocution, defendant told the court that he did not
shoot Corey Thompson, stating that Lacy Sheppard did. The
record then shows the trial court made the following
statements. "I've read the PSI dated March 31st,
I've considered the fact that defendant did not have the
best upbringing, it doesn't justify murder, however.
I'll consider it for what it was worth." The court
went on to say, "The other factors in aggravation and
mitigation, I've considered all of them. What's
mitigating about Pharaoh Defendant? Not much. At the time of
the murder, 16 years old, that's about all that's
mitigating." In regards to rehabilitation, the court
"Is there room for rehabilitation for Pharaoh Morris?
That's up to him. If he's rehabilitated he'll be
inside, however. Pharaoh Morris has shown by his conduct two
weeks before the incident, the murder of DeAntonio Goss, on
the day of the incident ***, which was September 8, 2010, and
even thereafter in the jail, I want these people tooken
[sic]care of *** I like to read the cases, I find little
words in each one of them. I think I found ones that apply to
Pharaoh Morris. Pharaoh Morris has a malignant heart***. It
applies to Pharaoh Morris, it was written for him. A young
guy out on the streets of the City of Chicago with a gun,
shooting it up, hitting one guy two weeks before, two guys on
the date of the murder, including the murder victim obviously
and then I want these people tooken [sic] care of. Everybody
in the world knows what that means, tooken [sic] care of.
There's some times, Pharaoh, you commit a crime you
pretty much forfeit your right to be ever out on the street
again, this is one of them. Everything I give you in a few
seconds, Mr. Morris, you earned every single day, every
single minute, every single second. Maybe you can live a
useful life in prison, however, not back on the streets of
the City of Chicago."
17 The trial court sentenced defendant to consecutive terms
of 55 years for the first-degree murder and 45 years for the