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People v. Terrell

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division

April 14, 2017

TINO TERRELL, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 13 CR 3697 Honorable Michael B. McHale, Judge Presiding.

          HALL JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion, Presiding Justice Gordon and Justice Reyes concurred in the judgment and opinion.


          HALL JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Defendant Tino Terrell was convicted of possession of a controlled substance following a bench trial and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment. This is a direct appeal from the judgment of the trial court.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 Terrell was charged with eleven counts of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, two counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, one count of possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, and one count of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine.

         ¶ 4 At trial, Officer Robert Gallas testified that on January 17, 2013, he was assigned to a gang unit tasked with executing a search warrant at 6809 South Laflin Street, a two bedroom 1st floor apartment in Chicago, Illinois (Apartment). At approximately 9 p.m., his unit entered the apartment. The apartment door was barricaded with a "scissor gate" with a large padlock. While police attempted to open the door, the lessee of the premises, later discovered to be Edward McDaniel, came to the door. Because McDaniel would not promptly open the door, and the padlock was too large to be cut with large bolt cutters, the team used a "Chicago bar" and sledge hammer to pull the gate from its hinges and enter the apartment. Upon entering, Officer Gallas noted that the rear door was barricaded with two-by-fours.

         ¶ 5 Officer Dan Pacelli testified that he was also assigned to the team executing the search warrant. He testified that he searched the dining room and front living room area of the apartment. While conducting his search, Officer Pacelli found two prescription bottles with Terrell's name on them in the living room. The trial court noted that the address on the pill bottles differed from the Apartment. One of the bottles had a "use by" date of August 24, 2013, and the date August 24, 2012, was also written on the bottle. The other bottle had a date of issuance of May 23, 2012. One of the bottles still contained pills, while the other was empty. Pacelli also recovered an adult probation card in the living room near the prescription bottles that bore Terrell's name. Terrell's passport was found in the same area as the bottles and the card.

         ¶ 6 Officer Pacelli also recovered two duffle bags from atop the dining room china cabinet. The bags contained clothing that appeared to fit a male larger than himself. Pacelli described himself as six feet one inches tall and weighing 250 pounds. The court noted that Terrell was larger in size than Officer Pacelli and was wearing a 4XL tan department of corrections uniform. Officer Pacelli also noted that Edward McDaniel was of smaller proportions, approximately six feet tall and 160-165 pounds.

         ¶ 7 Officer Michael O'Connor testified that he was also a part of the search warrant team on January 17, 2013. He stated that there were paintings and photos all over the front living room and that he recovered a framed photograph that included Terrell.

         ¶ 8 Officer Gus Bedoy testified that he searched the whole house and found nothing in the bathroom, kitchen, or either bedroom demonstrating that Terrell lived in the Apartment. Bedoy also testified that he searched the hallway closet and discovered clothing. He stated that while searching a hallway closet, he noticed U-shaped scratches on the side of each wall. He noted that part of the panel on the wall was loose which led him to look inside. He found metal tracks inside the wall and uncovered a large, clear, plastic bag which he suspected contained cannabis. He noted that the hidden compartment, commonly referred to as a trap, was three feet wide, three feet high, and approximately two feet deep. Its composition consisted of two-by-fours, metal rails, a battery, power motor, and plastic bands. The trap contained United States currency, digital scales, mixing containers, and mixing agents.

         ¶ 9 Later, Officer Ciocci discovered multiple firearms in the trap, and the parties stipulated that the weapons recovered consisted of the following guns: a .45 caliber, a loaded 9mm Ruger, a loaded 9mm Berretta, a .357 caliber, a .765 caliber, a loaded 9mm CPX1, and a 9mm Taurus. Also recovered were eight boxes of ammunition.

         ¶ 10 During the search, FBI Special Agent Christopher Weismantel went out to his car and observed a red pickup truck parked behind him. His car was parked almost directly in front of the Apartment, and agent Weismantel had been previously informed that the pickup truck might belong to Terrell. After noticing Terrell sitting in the driver's seat of the pickup, Weismantel approached him, engaged him in conversation, and asked him to come inside the Apartment, where Terrell was ultimately arrested. Officer Gallas searched Terrell and testified that he could not recall finding any drugs on him or anything indicating that Terrell lived at the Apartment.

         ¶ 10 Sergeant Michael Karczewski read Terrell his Miranda rights at the Apartment, and later, at the police station, Terrell gave the police signed written consent to search the pickup truck. Officer Bedoy testified that, while searching Terrell's vehicle, he discovered a trap hidden behind the radio compartment. He testified that the trap resembled the one found inside Apartment's hallway closet. Specifically, he noted that the motorized bands and insulation in the two traps were similar in composition and nature; however, he also stated that he could ...

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