from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County. No. 13-CF-1611
Honorable Fernando L. Engelsma, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices McLaren and Zenoff concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 In the direct appeal of his first-degree murder conviction,
defendant, Lorenzo Kent, Jr., argues that (1) he was not
proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, because the
State's witnesses were not credible; (2) the trial court
erred in admitting a Facebook post without sufficient
authentication; and (3) the court erred in admitting the
unauthenticated, computer-generated records of a phone
allegedly used by defendant and in allowing the State to use
inadmissible hearsay evidence of the victim's phone
number to show that defendant called him repeatedly on the
date of the offense. We reverse and remand.
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder in that he,
while armed with a firearm, without lawful justification, and
with the intent to kill or do great bodily harm to Donmarquis
Jackson, shot and killed him. See 720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West
2012). Defendant received an extended-term sentence of 55
years' imprisonment for personally discharging the
weapon. See 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(a)(1)(d)(iii) (West 2012).
4 On the evening of May 6, 2013, Donmarquis was shot in the
driveway of 1428 Nelson Boulevard in Rockford, where he
resided with his girlfriend, Doris Gregory, and her mother,
Sally Gregory. Donmarquis did not get along with his former
girlfriend, Kimiko Wilson, who was in a relationship with
defendant around the time of the shooting. Donmarquis and
Kimiko had two children together. Two days before the murder,
defendant accompanied Kimiko to 1428 Nelson Boulevard and was
involved in a violent altercation with Donmarquis and
Donmarquis's friend, Deshon Thompson. People v.
Kent, 2016 IL App (2d) 140340.
5 Before trial, the parties filed opposing motions in
limine disputing the admissibility of a screenshot
of a post on a Facebook profile under the name "Lorenzo
Luckii Santos." The day after the murder, a detective
took a screenshot of the post, which showed a photograph of
someone allegedly resembling defendant and an undated post
that read, "its my way or the highway…..leave em
dead n his driveway."
6 At the hearing on the motions, the parties disputed whether
the State could lay an adequate foundation. The State
represented that it would introduce evidence at trial that
(1) Santos was the last name of defendant's mother, (2)
Donmarquis was killed in his driveway, (3) the photograph
resembled defendant, and (4) "Facebook records will have
an IP [internet protocol] address that belongs to
Kimiko." The court granted the State's motion,
ruling that the Facebook post was admissible "subject to
foundational requirements" being met at trial.
7 A. The State's Case
8 1. Genesis
9 The State's evidence consisted primarily of the
testimony of two teenagers who had not previously known
defendant but had spent time with him or observed him on the
date of the offense. Genesis Burrell was 14 years old on the
date of the shooting. The day before the shooting, Genesis
got into an argument with her mother and spent the night at
the home of her friend Mikayla Allen. The next morning, when
Mikayla went to school, Genesis went to Blackhawk Park and
fell asleep. Defendant, whom she did not know, woke her and
said that his name was Lucky. Defendant was wearing all black
and had a "Dora the Explorer" book bag. On the left
side of his neck, he had a "pretty good size" black
star tattoo. Defendant told Genesis that his kids had been
taken away because of "his baby mama's boyfriend,
" named "Don." Defendant explained that he had
fought with Don a couple of days before and wanted to kill
him. Defendant asked Genesis to walk past Don's house to
see if he would come out, and Genesis agreed. While they were
walking past the house, defendant asked for Genesis's
jacket, which he put over his head.
10 Genesis and defendant returned to the park and got into a
truck. A man and a woman, whom defendant appeared to know,
were already inside. Defendant told them that "he had
gotten into a fight with his baby mama's boyfriend and
his [kids] had got taken." The woman made a phone call,
and defendant began yelling that the person on the phone
"wasn't a real man." They stopped at a gas
station, where the woman got out. Defendant took a gun and
bullets out of the book bag. He said that he had put
"Vaseline" on the bullets and was not going to
miss. When the woman returned to the truck, they drove back
to the park and defendant and Genesis got out. Genesis felt
"extremely scared" but did not leave, because she
"couldn't get away at that point."
11 Genesis and defendant walked to a beauty supply store, but
she did not go inside. Genesis walked into a nearby
"Mexican place" but did not call the police or ask
anyone for help. While they were near the beauty supply
store, defendant asked Genesis for a cell phone. Genesis knew
that Mikayla had one, so they walked to her bus stop and
waited for her. After Mikayla got off the bus, they all
walked to Blackhawk Park, where Mikayla charged her phone.
12 Defendant used Mikayla's phone to ask someone for
"Don's number." Defendant said that they were
waiting for a text message, but it did not come. Defendant
made a couple of calls, but Genesis thought that he did not
speak to anyone. Genesis pretended to make a call, after
which she told defendant that she and Mikayla were going to
get Don. They went to Mikayla's house instead.
13 Genesis spent an hour at Mikayla's house, but she did
not call the police or tell an adult what had happened.
Mikayla's grandmother drove Genesis to Wesley
Johnson's house. Later that evening, Genesis went back to
Blackhawk Park with Wesley, his sister Alice, and other
friends. Genesis saw defendant, who had changed clothes. He
was wearing all red and had a black "do rag" on his
head. He was also carrying a black book bag. While Genesis
was with Wesley, Alice, and others, defendant approached and
said, "I guess it didn't go through." Genesis
told Wesley that defendant had a gun, but Wesley did not
14 Genesis left the park with Wesley, Alice, and others.
Defendant had already left the park, walking in a different
direction. Genesis began walking to Wesley's house. On
her way, she saw defendant again and hid in the bushes. At
Wesley's house, Genesis was eating with Wesley and his
family when she heard gunshots and sirens. They all went
15 Genesis spent the night at Mikayla's house. The next
morning, a police officer came to pick up Genesis because she
had run away from home. The officer placed her in the back of
a squad car and mentioned that there had been a shooting on
Nelson Boulevard. Genesis began telling the officer about
defendant. She said that she first met defendant when she was
at the park with Wesley and other people. She described
defendant's gun as a revolver and a "38
16 Later, Genesis gave the police a written statement that
defendant had directed her to call someone. "Don"
answered the phone and told her to stop calling. He said that
he had gotten into a fight a couple of days ago and wanted to
be left alone. He thought that the call was a setup. Genesis
said that she had the wrong number and hung up the phone. In
her written statement, Genesis also said that, when she left
the park for the second time, she went to a bus stop and
waited for a bus.
17 Before trial, Genesis identified defendant in a
photographic lineup. The person she selected in the lineup
did not have a star tattoo. Police officers showed her a book
bag, but it was not the book bag that defendant had that
night. At the time of trial, Genesis was in juvenile
detention for a retail theft charge that had been diverted.
She expected to go home following her testimony.
18 2. Wesley
19 Like his friend Genesis, Wesley was 14 years old on the
date of the murder. He testified that, around 7:45 p.m., he,
Genesis, and others went to Blackhawk Park, where he saw a
man wearing all black and carrying a red backpack. The man
was standing on a balcony, looking at Genesis. Wesley never
saw Genesis talk to this man. Genesis left the park to go to
Wesley's house, and the man left sometime later.
20 Around 8:30 p.m., Wesley left the park and went to his
house, where he, his nephew, and his friend got bikes and
started riding around the neighborhood. The chain fell off
Wesley's bike, and he walked alongside it. Across the
street, he saw some people on the enclosed porch at 1428
Nelson Boulevard. One man left the porch and "went
around the back, " on the right side of the house.
21 The same man Wesley had seen on the balcony at the park
came from an alley behind 1428 Nelson Boulevard. The man
"hopped" over a small gate near the garage behind
the house. He held a gun, which Wesley thought looked like a
.45 caliber. After hopping the fence, the man was
"sliding" on the side of the house. He grabbed his
backpack and began loading the gun. He fired three or four
shots at the man who had left the porch. The shooter ran back
the way he came. Wesley went back to his house, which was a
couple of blocks from the shooting. He heard squad cars but
did not talk to the police that night.
22 Two days after the shooting, Wesley was shown a six-person
photographic lineup, but he was not sure which person was the
shooter. Wesley narrowed down the lineup to two photographs,
one of which was of defendant. The officer administering the
lineup did not consider this to be a positive identification.
Wesley did not identify defendant in court.
23 3. Mikayla
24 Mikayla was also 14 years old on the date of the shooting.
She testified that she once met Genesis and a man named Lucky
at her bus stop, but she could not remember when this meeting
occurred. She knew Lucky's name only because Genesis told
it to her. In court, Mikayla identified defendant as Lucky.
25 Mikayla testified that she gave her phone to Genesis, who
gave it to defendant, who called someone and said, "Text
the number to the phone." Later, a text came through.
Defendant dialed a number and gave the phone to Genesis.
Defendant asked if she remembered what to say, and Genesis
spoke into the phone. Afterward, they all went to Blackhawk
Park, where Mikayla charged her phone.
26 At the park, Genesis told Mikayla that defendant was going
to kill a man "over some kids or something."
Genesis said that defendant wanted her to get this man and
bring him to the park. As Genesis was saying this to Mikayla,
defendant was "not really" near them. After she
looked at her prior statement to refresh her recollection,
Mikayla testified that defendant reacted to what Genesis was
saying by nodding. On cross-examination, Mikayla testified
that, "at some point" during the conversation with
Genesis, "Lucky walked up and started nodding."
27 Later, Mikayla's phone rang. Defendant said to
"go get him" and "bring him back to the
park." Genesis and Mikayla went from Blackhawk Park to
the home of Mikayla's friend MacKenzie and then to
Washington Park and Mikayla's house. Mikayla's
grandmother drove Genesis to Wesley's house. Genesis
later returned to Mikayla's house and spent the night
there. The next morning, the police came to get Genesis.
Mikayla did not talk to the police at that point and never
went to the police on her own.
28 Mikayla testified that she had identified defendant in a
photographic lineup. She also recognized one of the
State's exhibits as defendant's backpack. Mikayla
never saw defendant with a gun or bullets or acting
aggressively. Everything else she had learned about defendant
came from Genesis.
29 4. Officer Weber
30 Rockford police officer Nicholas Weber testified that he
was dispatched to 1428 Nelson Boulevard around 9 p.m. in
reference to a possible shooting. When he arrived, people on
the porch pointed to the driveway, where a man was lying face
down. It was dark and the only light came from a street light
that was "down the street a little bit." The
driveway area was "pretty dark." Officer Weber said
that, without his flashlight, he "definitely" could
not have seen the backyard and the part of the driveway
farthest from the street. The proximity of the house to the
unattached garage made it "impossible" to see the
backyard even when standing in the driveway.
31 At the scene, officers found three spent .22-caliber
casings between the back porch and the garage. It would have
been "very difficult" for someone on the street to
see where the casings were found. Near the casings, officers
found two damaged cell phones, both of which appeared to have
been struck by gunfire.
32 Inside a fake sprinkler head in the backyard, officers
found 19 bags containing over three grams of crack cocaine.
Officers also found a scale at the side of the garage.
33 The victim had five gunshot wounds, and the medical expert
testified that he died from a gunshot wound to his back,
which went through his rib, heart, and lung.
34 5. Denise
35 Denise Gregory testified that she was at Sally's house
on the night of the shooting. Denise was sitting on the porch
with Donmarquis and Theodore White. Donmarquis received a
phone call and walked to the side of the house. Denise heard
gunshots and ran in the house with Theodore. She did not see
the shooting. When she ran in the house, a man whom she did
not know came in behind her. While still on the porch, she
had seen someone wearing all white and walking a bike down
the sidewalk with a bag in his hand, but he did not look
36 6. Doris
37 Doris testified to the altercation at her house that
occurred two days before the shooting. On May 4, 2013,
defendant and Kimiko arrived at the house and began arguing
with Donmarquis. Defendant and Donmarquis began fighting.
Defendant had a pocketknife during the fight, but Donmarquis
was not cut. After the fight, defendant and Kimiko left with
38 On May 6, Doris was at the house with Donmarquis. A few
minutes after 9 p.m., Doris heard gunshots. She went outside,
saw Donmarquis lying on the driveway, and called the police.
Doris recalled that it was "pitch dark" outside.
39 Doris testified that Donmarquis had two cell phones. She
did not remember the numbers at trial, but she gave the