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People v. Wilson

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division

October 13, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JOHN WILSON, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 11-CR-20319; the Hon. John Joseph Hynes, Judge, presiding.

          Michael J. Pelletier, Patricia Mysza, and Chan Woo Yoon, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant. Appeal

          Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Annette Collins, Amy Watroba, and Whitney Bond, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

          JUSTICE DELORT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.Presiding Justice Hoffman and Justice Connors concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          DELORT JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 After a jury trial, defendant John Wilson was convicted of first degree murder, armed robbery, home invasion, and residential burglary. On appeal, he contends that the State introduced DNA evidence against him that lacked an adequate foundation. He also argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney failed to (1) request a Frye hearing regarding the State's historical cell site analysis evidence and (2) object when the court tendered a general verdict form for first degree murder to the jury. We affirm.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 At trial, the State presented testimony from 45 witnesses. Most of this testimony is not relevant to the issues raised by defendant. Thus, in the interest of brevity, we summarize only that testimony most germane to the issues presented.

         ¶ 4 On the morning of October 27, 2011, Brenda O'Laughlin left her home in Indian Head Park, Illinois, and went to work. When she returned home shortly before 5 p.m., she saw blood and a knife in the family room, and her daughter, Kelli O'Laughlin, lying facedown on the floor in the kitchen. Brenda called 9-1-1. When paramedics arrived, they performed CPR on Kelli and took her to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

         ¶ 5 While the paramedics treated Kelli, Sergeant Raymond Leuser, a police officer with the Indian Head Park police department, entered the home and walked into the dining room, where he saw a broken window and glass on the floor. Sergeant Leuser searched the rest of the home and then alerted the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force.

         ¶ 6 Officer Ronald Sachtleben testified that he worked for the Cook County Sheriff's police department as an investigator for the criminalistics unit. His job was to process and document crime scenes. Officer Sachtleben arrived at the O'Laughlin home shortly before 6 p.m. on October 27, 2011. To preserve evidence, he wore latex gloves and protective shoe coverings.

         ¶ 7 During his investigation, Officer Sachtleben observed a red-knit hat containing a rock lying on the floor underneath a dining room chair. Officer Sachtleben took pictures of the hat and rock and "recovered" the hat. At trial, he viewed the hat and rock and testified that both items were in the same or substantially same condition as when he recovered them.

         ¶ 8 Defendant was arrested on November 2, 2011, and taken to the LaGrange police department for processing. There, Officer Sachtleben met with defendant and took a buccal swab from him. Officer Sachtleben testified that after taking the buccal swab, he packaged the sample, sealed it, and turned it over to Detective Wodka, another member of the task force.

         ¶ 9 Michael Matthews, a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police, testified that he performed forensic analysis on the red hat. Matthews stated that the hat was in a sealed bag when he received it. He explained that he swabbed the inside of the hat and used scissors to remove the section of the hat that would have been in contact with Wilson's forehead to preserve it for further testing. At trial, Matthews viewed the hat and testified that it was in the same or substantially same condition as when he worked on it.

         ¶ 10 Lynette Wilson, a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police, testified that she performed a PCR/STR DNA analysis on the red hat. She explained that "PCR" stood for "polymerase chain reaction, " a method of copying specific locations on a piece of DNA for comparison, and that "STR" stood for "short tandem repeats, " i.e., "the specific locations on the DNA" that are used for comparison. She described the process of DNA analysis as follows:

"The first step in my analysis is what I call extraction. Basically it's where I add chemicals to a stain to release the DNA from the cells in the stain. I also purify the DNA. And then after that, after isolating the DNA, I then measure how much I have and verify that it's of human origin.
Then at that point I am usually working with small amounts of DNA, so it's then necessary to copy the amount that I have, and that's that PCR process I mentioned earlier. Basically, it's like copying a document on a Xerox machine. I copy the DNA until I have enough that I can detect a profile.
So after I amplify the DNA, I add a little bit to an instrument which will determine ...

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