Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
So after I amplify the DNA, I add a little bit to an
instrument which will determine ...