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People v. Olaska

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

December 19, 2017

DANIEL J. OLASKA, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 12-CF-225 Honorable Kathryn E. Creswell, Judge, Presiding.

          JUSTICE BIRKETT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Zenoff and Jorgensen concurred in the judgment and opinion.



         ¶ 1 Defendant, Daniel J. Olaska, appeals his conviction of first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2) (West 2012)), arising from the stabbings of Willie Hayes and Shaun Wild in downtown Naperville in February 2012. Defendant makes nine individual contentions of error, most of which fall into the following broad areas: (1) the sufficiency of the evidence to support his murder convictions; (2) the adequacy of the jury instructions on aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(a)(1) (West 2012)), which was an uncharged predicate offense for the charge of felony murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(3) (West 2012)); and (3) the propriety of the State's examination of a police officer concerning defendant's postarrest silence. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 A. Introduction

         ¶ 4 Among the patrons at Frankie's Blue Room (Frankie's) in Naperville in the midnight hour of February 4, 2012, were defendant, Hayes, and Wild. Defendant had arrived at Frankie's with his friend Steve Blacksmith, who had since left. Hayes and Wild knew each other from their time on the football team at North Central College (NCC). Also present at Frankie's were several other past or present members of the NCC football team, including Peter Bulandr, Will Thrun, Bradley Crackel, Jordan Tassio, Josh Sartori, Scott Skuteris, Andrew Trybula, and Paul Yuccas. Defendant had not met Hayes or Wild before that night. Shortly before 1 a.m. on February 4, defendant had a conversation with Hayes while both were seated in a booth. Trial witnesses variously described the conversation, but all agreed that it grew heated. During the verbal escalation, Wild and several other associates of Hayes's were near the booth. The encounter culminated in defendant producing a knife from his pocket and stabbing Hayes in the chest. Defendant then walked away from the booth. Wild pursued and caught up to defendant. Their encounter, too, was subject to conflicting accounts at trial. Defendant stabbed Wild in the arm and chest before being restrained by Rafael Castaneda, one of Frankie's bouncers. In his struggle with defendant, Castaneda received a knife wound to the arm. Hayes and Castaneda survived but Wild died from his chest wound.

         ¶ 5 In March 2012, a grand jury indicted defendant on 14 counts. Defendant went to trial on 10 counts: 2 counts of intentional murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West 2012)); 3 counts of knowing murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1), (a)(2) (West 2012)), 2 counts of felony murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(3) (West 2012)) predicated respectively on aggravated battery (Hayes) (720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(a)(1) (West 2012)) and attempted murder (Hayes) (720 ILCS 5/8-4(a), 9-1(a) (West 2012)); 2 counts of attempted murder (Hayes and Castaneda) (720 ILCS 5/8-4(a), 9-1(a) (West 2012)); and 1 count of unlawful use of a weapon (720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(8) (West 2012)). Prior to trial, the State dismissed four counts of armed violence (Hayes and Castaneda) (720 ILCS 5/33A-2(a) (West 2012)).

         ¶ 6 The defense gave notice of its intent to claim at trial that the stabbings of Hayes and Wild were in self-defense. The t rial w as held over several days i n Mar ch 2015. The evidence consisted of over 30 witnesses, several hours of video footage from six interior security cameras at Frankie's, and audio recordings of defendant's phone conversations with family members while he was in jail awaiting trial.

         ¶ 7 The parties presented pointedly different theories of what motivated defendant to stab Hayes and Wild. The defense proposed as follows. Defendant was in fear not only of Hayes, who was seated in the booth across from defendant, but also of other current or former NCC football players who were standing near the booth, one of whom (Tassio) physically prevented defendant from leaving the booth at one point. Defendant stabbed Hayes defensively, only after Hayes threatened him with physical violence and lunged across the table at him. After stabbing Hayes, defendant left to avoid further danger but in the process was grabbed from behind by someone whom he thought was Hayes. Out of fear, defendant stabbed the person, who turned out to be Wild.

         ¶ 8 According to the State's theory, defendant grew sullen and belligerent at Frankie's after another patron, Sarah Schwenn, spurned his romantic advances. Defendant became, in the State's words, a "ticking time bomb." At one point in the evening, Schwenn danced with another man, John Reynolds. Defendant later approached Reynolds, displayed a knife to him, and uttered an apparent threat. Sometime after this, defendant approached another patron, Gina Gargaro, and verbally abused her for no apparent reason. Subsequently, when defendant was with Hayes in the booth, Hayes's teammates did not attempt to trap defendant in the booth. Defendant showed no fear of Hayes or his associates, and at no point was defendant justified in using deadly force-a stab to the chest-against Hayes. According to the State, defendant's movements after stabbing Hayes were an attempt to escape following an unjustified deadly attack, and therefore defendant was not legally justified in using deadly force to ward off Wild's attempt to apprehend him.

         ¶ 9 Both parties claimed support for their theories in the security footage. The State also claimed that the audio recordings of the jail phone calls showed that defendant, at the insistence of family members, fabricated his self-defense theory.

         ¶ 10 B. Testimony in the State's Case

         ¶ 111. Defendant's Interaction with Bar Patrons Before Encountering Hayes

         ¶ 12 Frankie's is a second-floor establishment. There are two entrances by stairs: the north (or front) entrance and the south (or rear) entrance. The interior space is arranged as follows. East of the north entrance is the stage, which is elevated two steps above the dance floor to the south. On the west end of the dance floor is a series of booths, numbered consecutively from north to south. The booths are lined up against a low wall that separates the dance floor from the bar area to the west. Defendant stabbed Hayes in one of those booths, identified at trial as booth No. 4. There are also tables in the northwest corner of the dance floor. Defendant stabbed Wild near one of those tables, and Castaneda restrained defendant in that same area. South of the dance floor is the DJ booth and the south entrance.

         ¶ 13 Schwenn testified that she and her friend Keli Jepson arrived at Frankie's about 10:30 p.m. on February 3, 2012. While ordering drinks, they met defendant and Blacksmith. They also met Emmanuel Valadez. Schwenn danced with Valadez. Later, while Jepson danced with Valadez, Schwenn danced with defendant. He touched her more than she preferred, running his hands up and down her waist and hips. After Schwenn and defendant danced for 5 to 10 minutes, Schwenn and Jepson went outside so that Schwenn could have a cigarette. While they were outside, defendant came out and spoke on his cell phone. They overhead him say that he was going to stay at Frankie's and find his own ride home. When Schwenn and Jepson reentered Frankie's, defendant followed them. Schwenn and Jepson left defendant and went to the end of the bar opposite him. Schwenn was no longer interested in spending time with defendant. While at the other end of the bar, Schwenn met Reynolds and danced with him. While she was dancing, defendant approached and placed a beer in her hand. Schwenn had not asked for the beer. Defendant then went to booth No. 4 and put his coat down. Later, while Schwenn was still dancing with Reynolds, defendant approached and Reynolds walked away. After dancing with defendant for a minute or two, Schwenn stopped and stood on the dance floor. Defendant grabbed her and began dancing with her again. Schwenn thanked defendant for the beer and said that she just wanted to spend time with her friends. Defendant walked over to booth No. 4, took his coat, and walked away. According to Schwenn, this occurred shortly after midnight.

         ¶ 14 Schwenn stated that, soon after defendant walked away, Reynolds approached and they danced. After about 10 minutes, they went to the bar together, holding hands. Schwenn decided to smoke again outside. After retrieving her coat from booth No. 4, she went to the bar to get Jepson and saw defendant talking with Reynolds. Schwenn thought that this was unusual. When she and Jepson returned from outside, she put her coat back down in booth No. 4. She saw defendant approach and walked away. She was on the dance floor shortly before 12:30 a.m. when she saw Jepson seated in booth No. 4 with defendant. They were on the same bench, with Jepson on the inside. Schwenn got Valadez's attention and said that they needed to "rescue" Jepson. They walked over to the booth. When Valadez invited Jepson to dance, defendant would not move to let her out of the booth. Jepson had to climb over defendant to get out. Schwenn, Jepson, and Valadez then danced. They were about 5 to 10 feet from booth No. 4. Defendant sat facing them with no emotion on his face. Schwenn testified that this was "creepy at points" and made her uncomfortable. She admitted, though, that it was "nothing major."

         ¶ 15 Later, but still before 12:30 a.m., Schwenn's attention was again drawn to booth No. 4, where she witnessed defendant arguing with a woman over sports. They raised their voices and pointed at each other. The argument appeared genuine and not playful. Not wanting to become involved, Schwenn and Jepson went to the opposite end of the dance floor. About 10 minutes later, Schwenn decided to go outside again to smoke. She went to booth No. 4 and asked defendant if her coat was beside him. Defendant said that he did not know. When she asked if he could look, he refused. When she reached around defendant to grab her coat, he did not move at all to accommodate her. Schwenn noticed a man seated across from defendant but did not see them interact. According to Schwenn, defendant became withdrawn, frustrated, and unhelpful as the evening progressed. He seemed angry when she was retrieving her coat.

         ¶ 16 Schwenn stated that, after she smoked, she and Jepson decided to leave. When they exited the parking ramp, they observed police cars and ambulances outside Frankie's. They saw a person carried out on a stretcher and defendant led out by the police.

         ¶ 17 Jepson testified that she and Schwenn arrived at Frankie's about 10:40 p.m. on February 3. At the bar, they were introduced to defendant and Blacksmith. They also met Valadez. Schwenn danced with defendant while Jepson danced with Valadez. During a smoke break outside, Schwenn remarked to Jepson that defendant was "clingy" while they danced. Defendant also came outside and spoke on his cell phone. Blacksmith left around 11:30 p.m. and defendant decided to remain at Frankie's. When the three of them went back inside Frankie's, Jepson and Schwenn went to the end of the bar opposite defendant. Around midnight, Jepson was on the dance floor with Valadez and Schwenn when defendant approached and placed a drink in Schwenn's hand. Schwenn was already holding a drink, and Jepson could see that she was annoyed by now having two to hold. Defendant then left the dance floor. Later, a friend of Valadez's came onto the dance floor and began dancing with Schwenn. When Jepson next looked over, Schwenn was dancing with defendant. Jepson saw Schwenn lean in and speak to defendant. After this, defendant left the dance floor. Schwenn continued to dance with Valadez's friend. Afterward, the four of them went to the bar to order drinks. A few minutes later, Schwenn and Jepson decided to go outside for another smoke break. When Schwenn and Jepson returned from outside, Schwenn placed her coat in booth No. 4. Jepson sat down in the booth and defendant, who was standing nearby, sat down next to her. Defendant asked Jepson what his "place" was regarding Schwenn. Defendant said that he liked Schwenn. Jepson told defendant that Schwenn wanted to have a good time and meet people and was not interested in forming lasting relationships. Defendant said nothing in response.

         ¶ 18 Jepson testified that, after her conversation with defendant, Schwenn and Valadez came over and invited her to dance. Valadez extended his hand to Jepson and she rose to exit the booth. Defendant, who was on the outside end of the bench, did not move to let her out. Jepson had to "get over him to get onto the dance floor." Defendant said nothing and looked straight ahead. He was calm and showed no sign of intoxication. Jepson, Schwenn, and Valadez danced about 8 to 10 feet from booth No. 4. Jepson's attention was drawn back to booth No. 4 by raised voices. She saw defendant arguing with a woman. They were shouting and pointing at each other. Jepson brought it to Schwenn's and Valadez's attention, and the three of them moved farther away. Jepson saw a man step between defendant and the woman. After a time, the argument stopped. Schwenn and Jepson decided to go for another smoke break. Schwenn went to retrieve her coat from booth No. 4. Jepson could not see who was in the booth at the time. While Schwenn and Jepson were outside, they decided to leave. After they got their car, they saw ambulances and police cars in front of Frankie's. They also observed defendant being led out of Frankie's in handcuffs.

         ¶ 19 Reynolds testified that, on the night of February 3, he arrived in downtown Naperville in a limousine with a group that was celebrating Kristen Dewar's birthday. On the way downtown, Reynolds met Valadez, who was also with the group. While at Frankie's, Reynolds met and danced with Schwenn. As they were dancing, defendant approached and "cut in, " by dancing in front of Schwenn. This occurred around 12 a.m. Reynolds had not met defendant before. Not knowing if defendant and Schwenn were together, Reynolds walked away.

         ¶ 20 Later on the dance floor, Reynolds asked Schwenn if defendant was her boyfriend, and she said no. The two went to the bar to get drinks. When Schwenn left to get her jacket, defendant walked up to Reynolds. Reynolds told defendant that he was sorry for dancing with Schwenn if she was defendant's girlfriend. Defendant took a knife out of his right pocket with his right hand. Holding the knife across his chest, he said to Reynolds something like "I have it covered, or, it will be taken care of." The knife had a silver blade and a black handle. Reynolds was shocked. He immediately told a woman standing next to him that defendant had shown him a knife. The woman was McKala Kruse, another member of Dewar's birthday group. Shown security video of that night, Reynolds identified when, from 12:19:11 to 12:19:19 a.m., defendant displayed the knife to him. Reynolds admitted that the knife is not actually visible on the video, though he noted that defendant is seen holding his arm at a 90-degree angle, which was the posture Reynolds claimed defendant had when he showed the knife. Asked if he has a "giant smile" on his face later, at 12:20:35 a.m., Reynolds replied that he could not tell his facial expression from the video.

         ¶ 21 Reynolds testified that, after speaking to Kruse, he joined his friends in another part of Frankie's. He did not see defendant for the remainder of the night. At 12:46 a.m., Reynolds noticed a commotion on the dance floor. He saw no fighting or arguing but did observe blood on the floor. The police and paramedics arrived.

         ¶ 22 Reynolds did not see any sign of intoxication in defendant. Reynolds did not remember how much he himself drank that night, but he recalled that he did not have a hangover the next day.

         ¶ 23 Reynolds testified that he did not inform a bouncer or bartender about the knife, because he "just figured [that defendant] was acting like a tough guy just defending a girl that he liked." Reynolds "did not think anything like that [(i.e., the stabbings of Hayes and Wild)] was going to happen that night." Reynolds acknowledged that he told the police in a February 15, 2012, videotaped statement that the reason he did not tell a bouncer or call the police after defendant showed the knife was that he did not consider it a "big deal" at the time. Reynolds testified that he wished in retrospect that he had informed Frankie's personnel about defendant.

         ¶ 24 Kruse testified that she and her boyfriend were part of the group celebrating Dewar's birthday. She met Reynolds for the first time that night. Shortly before 12:20 a.m., she was in the bar area of Frankie's when Reynolds told her that a man had just threatened to stab him because he had been dancing too close to the man's girlfriend. Reynolds did not say that the man had taken out a knife. Reynolds seemed shocked and stunned. They spoke for a minute before Reynolds walked away. She did not advise Reynolds to tell a bouncer about the man, because the threat seemed like the "empty" kind that people make in bars.

         ¶ 25 Kruse stated that, around 12:45 a.m., she noticed a disturbance. The music stopped, the lights came on, and Kruse saw people standing around. One person was lying on the floor, bleeding. Eventually, paramedics arrived.

         ¶ 26 Kruse admitted that, when she spoke to the police on February 12, 2012, she did not tell them of the threat that Reynolds reported to her. She explained that, at the time of the police interview, she had not made a connection between the threat and the stabbings that same night at Frankie's.

         ¶ 27 Valadez testified that he met Reynolds while traveling to downtown Naperville to celebrate a birthday. Around 10:40 p.m. in the bar area inside Frankie's, he met defendant and another man. Later, Schwenn and Jepson arrived. Valadez spoke with Jepson while defendant spoke with Schwenn. Valadez danced first with Schwenn and then with Jepson. Around 11:50 p.m., defendant began to dance with Schwenn while Valadez danced with Jepson. Schwenn and Jepson decided at one point to go outside to smoke. When they returned, Valadez danced with them both. Shortly before midnight, while the three were still on the dance floor, defendant approached Schwenn and put a drink in her hand. She was already holding a drink. Later, Reynolds joined Schwenn, Jepson, and Valadez on the dance floor. Defendant came and started dancing with Schwenn, and Reynolds stepped away. Defendant and Schwenn danced for a short time before they stopped and talked. Defendant then stepped away and Schwenn remained on the dance floor where she was rejoined by Reynolds.

         ¶ 28 Valadez testified that, after Jepson and Schwenn returned from another smoke break, he and Schwenn went to the dance floor while Jepson sat in booth No. 4. Defendant slid onto the bench next to her. Schwenn and Valadez then invited Jepson to dance. Valadez extended his hand to Jepson. Defendant would not move and Jepson had to climb over him to get out.

         ¶ 29 Valadez stated that, later, Schwenn and Jepson decided to go outside for another smoke break . Valadez watched as Schwenn went to retrieve her jacket from booth No. 4 where defendant was still seated. Schwenn said something to defendant "and then ended up having to reach over and pull her jacket from behind him." Schwenn and Jepson left Frankie's for the night and Valadez rejoined the birthday group.

         ¶ 30 Valadez testified that, around 12:46 a.m., there was a commotion near booths Nos. 1 and 2. Valadez saw Wild on his knees. Valadez walked over and saw that Wild was now on his back. Valadez saw blood, opened Wild's shirt, and applied pressure to the puncture wound in his chest. Wild was unresponsive. Paramedics arrived and took Wild out on a stretcher.

         ¶ 31 Gargaro testified that she came to Frankie's with her roommate, Megan Gedutis, sometime after 11 p.m. While at Frankie's, they met Thrun and Bulandr, whom they knew previously. Gargaro described them both a s " big guys ." Gargaro had an ongoing playful disagreement with Thrun that night about the Super Bowl. At one point in the evening, Gargaro was near booth No. 4 with Bulandr and Gedutis when defendant approached and called her a "fucking bitch." Gargaro told defendant to leave her alone and sit down. Shown the security footage, Gargaro identified herself and defendant pointing at each other. Gargaro testified that, during her interaction with defendant, Thrun came over and stepped between them with his back to defendant. Gargaro had not asked Thrun to intercede. Defendant continued to yell while Gargaro ignored him and spoke with Thrun. Defendant pointed at Gargaro over Thrun's shoulder. Gargaro came back and pointed at defendant again, telling him to sit down. Gargaro eventually left and found Gedutis and Bulandr, who were sitting in booth No. 4. Thrun also came over. After saying goodnight to Thrun and Bulandr, Gargaro and Gedutis left Frankie's. Gargaro did not ask Bulandr or Thrun to beat up defendant.

         ¶ 32 Bulandr testified that he was at Frankie's with fellow NCC football teammates celebrating Trybula's birthday. Bulandr estimated his height 6 feet, 2 inches and said that Crackel was taller. Bulandr and Thrun arrived shortly before 11 p.m. They spent most of their time on the dance floor or in the vicinity of booth No. 4. Around 12:30 a.m., Bulandr danced with a girl named Sarah. Around the same time, he and Thrun met Gargaro and Gedutis. Bulandr knew Gargaro through Thrun. As Bulandr was speaking with Gedutis, he overheard an argument between Gargaro and defendant. Bulandr paid little attention to the argument and continued to speak with Gedutis. Bulandr said nothing to defendant at that time. Bulandr was shown the security footage and identified Thrun and himself near defendant and Gargaro when they were arguing. Also in the vicinity were Tassio and Skuteris. Bulandr denied that he and his teammates decided to "take care" of defendant or discussed him at all. Bulandr noted that the security footage shows defendant and Skuteris conversing immediately after defendant's argument with Gargaro. Bulandr observed that defendant and Skuteris appear to have their arms around each other's shoulders and exchange high-fives.

         ¶ 33 Bulandr eventually sat in booth No. 4, which was then unoccupied, and conversed with Gedutis as she stood in front of the booth. Thrun and Gargaro were standing nearby. Defendant approached and asked Bulandr to get out of the booth. Bulandr could not recall the exact words defendant used or whether the request was more like an order. Bulandr exited the booth. He made no threat to defendant. Bulandr remained in the vicinity of booth No. 4, speaking with Gedutis. After she and Gargaro left Frankie's, Bulandr returned to the dance floor, closer to booth No. 3 than booth No. 4. At some point, Hayes came over and sat in booth No. 4, where defendant was still seated. Bulandr did not bring Hayes to booth No. 4 or tell Hayes that he needed to take care of a problem in booth No. 4. Bulandr spoke with Hayes while Hayes was seated in booth No. 4, and he did not hear Hayes threaten defendant.

         ¶ 34 Later, Bulandr heard a commotion in the stage area and saw Wild slumped over. Bulandr's attention was then drawn back to booth No. 4, where he saw Hayes slouched in his seat and holding his chest. There was blood on Hayes's hands. Bulandr laid Hayes back on the bench and applied pressure to his chest wound. Paramedics eventually arrived.

         ¶ 35 2. The Stabbings of Hayes and Wild

         ¶ 36 Hayes testified that he and Trybula came to Frankie's at 11 p.m. They had walked from Trybula's apartment, where they and others were celebrating Trybula's birthday. Other NCC football players and coaches were at Frankie's. Hayes testified that he drank before and during his time at Frankie's and was intoxicated when he encountered defendant in booth No. 4. Hayes testified that, in February 2012, he was 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed 210 to 215 pounds.

         ¶ 37 Hayes stated that he spent most of his time at Frankie's on the dance floor. At one point, he went to booth No. 4 and sat across from defendant, who was already seated there. Hayes could not recall why he chose booth No. 4 in particular. He could not recall if someone spoke to him about defendant before he sat down. When Hayes sat down, he and defendant shook hands and introduced themselves. Initially, they did not have much contact. Hayes drank, watched his friends on the dance floor, and spoke to them as they came to set their drinks on the table. A blonde woman also came and reached across the table to retrieve a coat. She said something to defendant that Hayes could not recall.

         ¶ 38 Hayes testified that he and defendant eventually conversed, but he could not recall what they talked about. He could not recall any reference to the fit of his shirt or to what defendant was drinking out of the wine glass he was holding. The tone of the conversation became uncomfortable for Hayes and he felt that he should leave. At one point, defendant stood and waved his arms. He seemed "very aggressive, " which made Hayes uneasy. As they spoke, Hayes's friends, including Wild, were walking back and forth between booth No. 4 and the dance floor. Hayes denied that defendant was ever prevented from leaving the booth. Hayes testified that he ultimately decided to leave the booth and stood up. At the time, Wild was the only one of Hayes's friends nearby. Hayes could not recall how Wild was positioned or if he said anything to Hayes. When Hayes reached out to shake defendant's hand, Hayes "felt like [he] had been punched." Wild was standing next to Hayes when Hayes felt the punch. Hayes began having trouble breathing and put his hand on his chest. When he looked at the hand, he saw blood on it. He sat back down in booth No. 4. Bulandr came over and applied pressure to Hayes's chest wound as he lay back on the bench. Hayes's football coach also came over to assist. Hayes felt extreme pain in his left chest below the nipple. Paramedics arrived and transported Hayes to Edward Hospital, where he had surgery.

         ¶ 39 Hayes was shown the roughly six minutes of security footage from Hayes's arrival at booth No. 4 to defendant's stabbing of Hayes (12:40 to 12:46 a.m.). Hayes was asked about several aspects of the footage. He noted that, after he sits in the booth, he converses with several individuals, including Bulandr. Hayes could not recall if he was talking about defendant with Bulandr and the others. Tassio (Hayes mistakenly identifies him as Skuteris) approaches and interacts with Hayes and defendant. Hayes could not recall what Tassio and defendant said to each other. Eventually, Hayes stands and, placing his hands on the table, leans toward defendant. Hayes remains standing for the next minute, until the stabbing occurs. Hayes could not recall leaning toward defendant, and he denied that he could have been threatening defendant. Hayes explained, "That's not the type of person I am." Hayes claimed that he stood up because he wanted "to relieve [him]self from the situation." Hayes could not recall what prevented him from leaving once he stood up. On the video, after Hayes stands up, defendant speaks to Crackel, who is standing nearby with Wild. As he speaks, defendant points to Hayes. Hayes could not recall what defendant said to Crackel, but he admitted that it was "possible" that defendant was trying to get Crackel to help calm Hayes down. After Crackel turns away, defendant gets his attention again. Hayes admitted that it was "possible" that defendant was attempting again to get Crackel to calm Hayes down. The footage shows Wild then stepping over to Hayes and placing his left arm on Hayes's shoulder. Hayes could not recall what Wild's intentions were at this point. Hayes's intent was to leave, but he admitted that nothing kept him from leaving at this point. Several seconds later, Hayes takes one or two steps back from the booth, and Wild, now facing Hayes, places his right arm on Hayes's left shoulder, as if to guide him away. Hayes quickly throws Wild's arm off and steps back toward the table. He then leans over toward defendant, resting his hands on the table. According to Hayes, he intended at this point to shake defendant's hand. Hayes could not recall throwing off Wild's arm and lunging at defendant. Hayes testified:

"Q. And when [Wild] put his arm on you to guide you out of the booth when you intended to leave, you knocked his arm off and you lunged at the defendant, didn't you?
A. No sir.
Q. Now you remember that you didn't do that?
A. I wouldn't lunge. That's not the type of person I am.
Q. Are you the kind of person that would knock Mr. Wild's hands off of you so you could get back at the defendant?
A. No, sir.
Q. Well, you did it, didn't you?
A. Correct."

         Hayes recognized that, in the footage, defendant walks away, followed by Wild. Hayes denied that he said anything to Wild as he left.

         ¶ 40 Hayes was asked about his statements to the police. He did not recall talking to the police before his surgery on February 4, 2012. Consequently, he did not recall telling them on that date that he was seated at a booth at Frankie's when a person he had not met before started an argument with him; or that he wanted to get up and leave because he had a bad feeling about that person; or that he told the person to stop running his mouth and talking about Hayes's friends. Hayes recalled speaking to the police at his home on February 6, 2012. He did not recall telling them on that date that one of his friends told him while he was on the dance floor at Frankie's that defendant said that his shirt was too tight; that he confronted defendant about this remark and commented to him that he was drinking beer out of a wine glass; or that he ultimately stood up to remove himself from the booth.

         ¶ 41 Crackel testified that, in February 2012, he and Wild were close friends. They went to Frankie's together on the night of February 3 because they heard that a group would be there celebrating Trybula's birthday. They arrived shortly after 11 p.m. and recognized several members of the NCC football team. Crackel and Wild spent time walking throughout Frankie's and mingling. Sometime after 12:30 a.m., Crackel and Wild were conversing near booth No. 4. Hayes and defendant were sitting across from each other in the booth. At one point, defendant tapped Crackel on the arm, pulled him over, and asked him a question. Defendant was pointing at Hayes. Defendant appeared calm and confident but somewhat angry. Crackel could not recall the question, but he remembered that defendant did not ask for help or say that he felt threatened by Hayes. After defendant asked the question, Crackel returned to his conversation with Wild. Crackel could hear defendant and Hayes conversing. Their voices were raised above the level of the music. Defendant said something about Hayes's shirt being too tight, and Hayes replied that defendant was drinking beer out of a wine glass. Since defendant and Hayes were getting angry with each other, Crackel and Wild drew closer to the booth and "beg[an] mediating the situation." They were trying "[n]ot necessarily" to calm Hayes down, but to convince him to go elsewhere in Frankie's. Crackel admitted telling the police at Frankie's that he and Wild were attempting to calm Hayes down.

         ¶ 42 Crackel heard defendant and Hayes repeat their comments about Hayes's shirt and defendant's drink. Hayes stood up. Wild faced Hayes and placed his hand on his shoulder, trying to escort him away. Crackel was standing behind Wild and facing Hayes. Crackel was about two feet away from defendant and was not blocking him from exiting the booth if he wished. As Wild was placing his hand on Hayes, defendant said "fuck you" and "proceeded to reach across the table and stab [Hayes] in the chest." Crackel was not facing defendant at the time and saw the motion out of the corner of his eye. Crackel initially thought that the motion was a tap on the side or shoulder, but then he saw defendant "holding the knife that he just stabbed [Hayes] with in front of his face as he stared at [Hayes]." Defendant then slowly closed the knife. When Crackel made these observations, he was about one foot from defendant.

         ¶ 43 Crackel testified that, after defendant closed the knife, he left the booth and walked toward the stage area and the north entrance. Wild then passed Crackel, walking in the same direction as defendant. Sartori was in the area, but Crackel could not recall what he was doing. After Wild left, Hayes was still standing and Crackel had him sit down in the booth. Crackel then walked toward the stage area and saw Wild on his knees holding his stomach. Crackel went to the rear entrance and began to call 911 but did not complete the call. He returned to the stage area. Wild was now standing, but Crackel saw him fall back. Crackel did not see defendant during this time. The police and paramedics arrived. Crackel told the police what he had seen and, at their request, went to identify defendant, who was now sitting on the front stairs.

         ¶ 44 Sartori testified that he and his roommates went to Frankie's because of the birthday celebration for Trybula. They arrived about midnight. After spending time on the dance floor, Sartori went toward the line of booths. He was standing between booth Nos. 3 and 4 when Hayes, who was seated in booth No. 4, called him over. They spoke, but Sartori could not recall about what. Sartori saw defendant seated across from Hayes in booth No. 4. After talking to Hayes, Sartori returned to where he had been standing, between booth Nos. 3 and 4. After a time, booth No. 3 became unoccupied and Sartori sat there with his roommate, Alison Muser. Sartori's bench was contiguous to the bench on which defendant was seated and his back was to defendant. Sartori sat with his legs up on the bench, facing the dance floor. He was texting his girlfriend with his cell phone. He noticed Crackel and Wild standing next to booth No. 4. Sartori looked over at booth No. 4 when he heard Hayes and defendant raise their voices. He heard Hayes say, "[H]ey man, you're drinking beer out of a wine glass." Hayes made this remark two or three times. Sartori could not hear what defendant said. Hayes stood up, followed by defendant. Sartori then stood up and "went directly" to Hayes. At that point, Wild was in front of Sartori, facing Hayes. As Sartori approached, Wild turned and walked past him toward the stage area. Sartori had not seen defendant leave the booth area. Sartori turned toward Hayes and saw him holding his right hand to his left chest area. There was blood on his hand and chest. Hayes told Sartori to "go get that guy." Sartori did not see anything in defendant's hands when he was at booth No. 4. Sartori could not recall Wild placing his hand on Hayes's shoulder or Hayes leaning or lunging toward defendant.

         ¶ 45 Sartori turned and went north toward the stage. He saw Wild and defendant facing each other near the stage. One of Frankie's bouncers was immediately behind defendant. Defendant lunged at Wild, who then started going backward. The bouncer grabbed defendant and pulled or pushed him toward the stage. Defendant pushed against the bouncer. During this struggle, a knife fell to the floor at their feet. Sartori picked it up. The bouncer yelled for Sartori to hand it to him. Once the bouncer had the knife, he threw it toward the stage. Sartori then went into the bathroom and dialed 911. When he returned, he saw defendant sitting on a bench, in the presence of the bouncer. Wild was on his back on the floor in front of booth No. 2. As the police arrived, the bouncer left defendant, who then started to go down the stairs to the north entrance. Defendant told a police officer that the person who stabbed Wild was leaving. The officer, accompanied by a colleague, pursued defendant down the stairs. Sartori followed and saw the officers apprehend defendant and make him sit on the stairs. Later, at the officers' request, Sartori identified defendant as the perpetrator.

         ¶ 46 Yuccas arrived at Frankie's about 11 or 11:30 p.m. At 12:45 a.m., while standing near booth No. 2, Yuccas heard a commotion behind him. He turned toward the dance floor and saw defendant lunging at Wild. A bouncer intervened and seized defendant. Wild fell to his knees. He tried to stand but collapsed backward. Wild was bleeding and several bar patrons approached to give him aid. After several minutes, the police and paramedics arrived.

         ¶ 47 Castaneda testified that he and David Atwood were working security at Frankie's. When the stabbings occurred, Castaneda was stationed near the stage and Atwood by the DJ booth. Castaneda was wearing his security T-shirt, which bore the logo of Features, Frankie's sister venue that was located on the first floor of the building. Around 12:45 a.m., Castaneda was looking toward the bar area when the shattering of glass drew his attention to the dance floor. The glass "explod[ed] kind of high in the air." Castaneda looked over and saw defendant and Wild. Castaneda judged by their postures that defendant had just smashed a glass on Wild's upper shoulder and neck area. Castaneda did not see the actual blow, but he saw defendant's hand just above Wild's body, in apparent recoil from the blow. After calling for backup on his headset radio, Castaneda went to intervene. As he approached, he saw Wild walking away and defendant following him. Judging defendant to be the aggressor, Castaneda grabbed defendant, spun him around, and pushed him against a railing. Defendant pushed back at Castaneda and swore at him. Defendant accused Castaneda of injuring him and said that the police would arrest Castaneda when they found defendant's blood on him. While restraining defendant, Castaneda saw Wild "going down to the ground." Castaneda also heard someone yell that a knife was on the floor. Castaneda spotted the knife. Both he and defendant lunged for it. Castaneda seized it first and threw it onto a part of the stage that was not in use. Before he threw it, Castaneda noticed spots of blood on the knife. The front of defendant's shirt was also bloody, but Castaneda saw that defendant was not bleeding. Castaneda himself was bleeding from his left arm and wrist. When Atwood came over to assist, Castaneda went to the bathroom to wash off the blood and make a compress out of paper towels. When Castaneda exited the bathroom, he saw defendant seated on a bench near the steps to the stage.

         ¶ 48 Castaneda testified that he was taken by ambulance to Edward Hospital, where he noticed three holes in the front of his security T-shirt. The holes were not there before he seized defendant that night. There were no marks on the thermal shirt that Castaneda wore under his security T-shirt. Castaneda stated that he did not see defendant holding a knife that night. He also did not see defendant stab, punch, or kick Wild.

         ¶ 49 Atwood testified that, around 12:46 a.m., while he was watching the dance floor from his station near the DJ booth, Castaneda radioed that there was a problem and that he needed help. Atwood looked in Castaneda's direction and saw him "hand fighting" with defendant and trying to get control of him. Defendant's hands were visible and Atwood could see that he was holding something. When Atwood crossed the dance floor, he saw Castaneda holding defendant against a railing. Defendant was "covered in blood." Atwood asked what happened, and defendant replied, "he stabbed me." Atwood could see no injuries on defendant and asked where he was stabbed. Atwood could not recall defendant's reply. Castaneda, who was bleeding, went to the bathroom to treat himself. Defendant tried to walk away but Atwood made him sit on a bench near the steps to the stage. Atwood stood facing defendant. At one point, Atwood's attention was diverted to the area where Wild had fallen. During that momentary span, defendant attempted to head down the stairs to the front door. Defendant was not running but was "moving pretty quick." Atwood followed and saw that two police officers were already with defendant on the landing of the stairs. Atwood told the officers that defendant had stabbed someone.

         ¶ 50 Samantha Doti testified that she and her boyfriend came to Frankie's about 12:30 a.m. After about 15 minutes in the bar area, Doti walked to the dance floor to see friends. As she approached booth No. 1, she saw Wild, who was her friend. Wild was walking toward the stage area behind defendant. Wild was reaching toward defendant. Before Wild made contact with defendant, defendant "quickly turned and pounced at [Wild]." After shaking Wild several times, defendant walked toward the stage area, where he was grabbed by another man. Doti did not see defendant after this. Doti looked toward Wild, who was hunched over. He fell to his knees. He was helped to his feet but then fell straight back. She saw blood and knew that Wild was injured. Doti also saw Hayes lying injured in booth No. 4. Paramedics eventually arrived.

         ¶ 51 Jason Farrell (Jason) testified that he came to Frankie's about 11:40 p.m. He was meeting two friends who were there for a birthday party. Around 12:46 a.m., he was on the dance floor facing east when he heard "elevated noise" and "was pushed on [his] back from the area around Booth 2." The force pushed him a step forward. Jason looked over his shoulder and saw defendant and Wild "in grasp with each other." Defendant's left hand was grasping Wild's right wrist. With his right hand, defendant was thrusting upward toward Wild's right arm. A bouncer pulled defendant away. Wild held his right arm and said to defendant, "Man, you cut me." Defendant had blood on the front of his shirt but appeared calm and collected. Defendant claimed that he had been cut, but the bouncer replied that defendant was the one who cut Wild. The bouncer was holding a knife.

         ¶ 52 Naperville police officer Teresa Stock testified that she was dispatched to Frankie's and arrived there about 12:50 a.m. Officer Kevin Fasana arrived about the same time. Both entered Frankie's through the north entrance. Upon arriving, they were approached by Atwood and Sartori, who told them that the offender was trying to leave. They pointed to defendant, who Stock saw was moving quickly toward the stairs down to the north entrance. Stock and Fasana pursued. Defendant ignored Fasana's commands to stop and continued down the stairs. Fasana and Stock caught up to defendant on the stairs and handcuffed him. Stock saw that the front of defendant's shirt was bloody. Stock found Sartori and brought him to defendant for a show-up identification. Sartori identified defendant as the perpetrator.

         ¶ 53 Fasana testified similarly to Stock as to defendant's apprehension at Frankie's. After arresting defendant, Fasana drove him to the police station and booked him. In the following exchange, the State asked Fasana whether defendant asked particular questions while in Fasana's presence:

"Q. [F]rom the time you were at Frankie's when you first encountered the defendant on the stairs until the point [(at the police station)] he was issued [a] jumpsuit and his clothing was removed, did he ask you why he was being detained or arrested?
A. No, he did not.
Q. At any point during your contact with the defendant, did he ask you about the condition of Shaun Wild? A. No, he did not.
MR. DI BENEDETTO [defense attorney]: Objection.
THE COURT: What is your objection?
MR. KENDALL [defense attorney]: That he didn't even know who Shaun Wild was at that point, fact not in evidence.
THE COURT: Overruled.

         BY MR. DEMOPOLOUS [assistant State's Attorney]:

Q. Did he ask you about the condition of Rafael Castaneda?
A. No, he did not.
Q. Did he ask you about anybody's condition?
A. No, he did not."

         At that point, defense counsel requested a sidebar and, outside the jury's presence, objected that the State's questions impinged on defendant's right to remain silent. After a recess, the trial court agreed with defense counsel that the questions were improper. The court offered to admonish the jury not to consider defendant's silence as commented on by Fasana. Defense counsel accepted the offer of an admonishment but, to preserve the issue for appeal, moved for a ...

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