United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Western Division
G. Reinhard Judge.
following reasons, petitioner's 28 U.S.C. § 2254
petition  is denied. The court declines to issue a
certificate of appealability. This matter is terminated.
January 17, 2017, petitioner Willie Spates filed a 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 petition challenging his state court judgment of
conviction. See . Respondent filed an answer to
the petition on June 19, 2017 , along with the state
court record . Petitioner filed a reply on July 19, 2017.
See . These matters are now ripe for the
court's review. The court will first discuss the relevant
factual and procedural background before analyzing
petitioner's various claims.
Factual and Procedural History.
following findings of facts are drawn from the state record.
See . On April 23, 2002, petitioner forced his
way into his sister's home on West Garden Street in
DeKalb, Illinois, and shot his ex-wife, Anita, multiple
times. She died several hours later at the hospital.
Petitioner was ultimately arrested and charged with two
counts of first-degree murder, aggravated unlawful restraint,
and home invasion and the case proceeded to a jury trial in
DeKalb County, Illinois.
Evidence at Trial.
trial, petitioner's sister, Ruby Williams, testified at
about 10:30 a.m. on April 23, 2002, she heard a woman at her
front door calling for Anita. Anita and Anita's
two-year-old son had been staying with Williams. When she
went to the door, she saw a woman she did not recognize
holding balloons. Williams then spotted petitioner hiding
near the door and she quickly closed the door and locked it.
She then yelled upstairs to Anita, who was preparing to take
a shower, to call 911. Petitioner then broke down the door
and ran up the stairs with a gun. Williams grabbed
Anita's son and ran out the door to the neighbor's
house to call 911. Before she left the house, she saw
petitioner forcing open the bathroom door and Anita
“begging for her life.” Ellen Chandler testified
she was driving a taxicab on April 23 and picked up the
petitioner at a gas station. Petitioner told Chandler he
wanted to surprise his wife with “a second
Christmas.” At petitioner's request, Chandler
helped petitioner carry some things to the apartment,
including balloons. Petitioner asked Chandler, with balloons
in hand, to knock on the apartment door and ask for Anita.
When Williams opened the door, Chandler noticed Williams spot
petitioner who was hiding around the corner. Chandler
testified Williams then slammed the door shut. Petitioner
then broke down the door and forced Chandler into
Williams' apartment with him. Chandler testified
petitioner had a gun and forced her up the stairs of the
apartment and into a bedroom where she could hear petitioner
speaking with Anita in the bathroom. She also testified she
heard a woman screaming and multiple gun shots. Inside the
bedroom, Chandler called 911.
DeKalb police officers testified that when they arrived at
the scene they were directed to the apartment by Williams who
was screaming and very upset. Inside the apartment the
officers safely removed Chandler and found Anita in the
bathroom, covered in blood. Anita told the officers she had
been shot and was dying. She told the officers, “Willie
shot me.” Anita died several hours later at the
Bryan Mitchell, the forensic pathologist who examined
Anita's body, testified at trial that the body had
multiple gunshot wounds with a total of 18 entrance wounds.
He explained that a single bullet could cause multiple
entrance and exit wounds if the bullet were to enter one part
of the body, exit another part, and re-enter (and possible
re-exit) another part of the body. Because of this, Dr.
Mitchell could only say that Anita had been shot between 8
and 18 times. Dr. Mitchell further testified that some of
Anita's gunshot wounds showed a presence of
“stippling” - unburnt gunpowder particles
discharged from the end of the gun and visible when the
weapon is fired at close range. Dr. Mitchell testified that a
wound to Anita's chest was likely the wound that caused
her death. He identified stippling around this wound.
ballistics evidence at trial revealed that 10 of the
recovered bullets were fired from petitioner's 9 mm
semiautomatic pistol. A recovered bullet fragment was of the
same caliber as the other 10 bullets, but ballistics experts
were unable to determine conclusively whether it had been
fired from petitioner's gun due to its condition. The
experts testified that all bullets had been fired from inside
communications coordinator for the City of DeKalb also
testified to the City's computed aided dispatch system
(CAD system). The coordinator testified that information in
the CAD system is entered manually. Because the information
is not generated electronically, the times recorded on the
CAD system report do not necessarily reflect the precise time
the police officers performed the action.
turned himself in to the police and made inculpatory
statements. At the time, he was wearing clothing with blood
stains that genetically matched Anita. At trial, petitioner
jury found petitioner guilty of first-degree murder and home
invasion. The trial court sentenced petitioner to 60 years
imprisonment for the murder consecutive to 25 years
imprisonment for the home invasion.
Direct Appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court.
direct appeal, petitioner made 16 arguments. He contended the
trial court erred in (1) denying his motion to dismiss the
grand jury indictment for perjury; (2) denying his motion for
discharge for speedy trial violations; (3) denying his
response to the state's fitness hearing; (4) granting the
state's request to call the defense's expert; (5)
excluding a police report at trial; (6) allowing the state to
put on perjured testimony of multiple police officers; (7)
refusing to admit a ballistics report at trial; (8) allowing
the state to use evidence that was lost or destroyed in
violation of Brady; (9) rejecting and excluding
admissible documents; (10) excluding 911 telephone records
from Verizon; (11) allowing the state to put on false and
fabricated evidence; (12) denying his Batson
challenge; (13) sustaining the jury's guilty verdict;
(14) denying his motion for a new trial; (15) allowing him to
represent himself at trial after he had been found unfit; and
(16) aiding the prosecution with trial strategy.
appellate court affirmed petitioner's conviction.
Petitioner filed a pro se petition for leave to
appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, arguing that the
appellate court abused its discretion in allowing the state
to file time-barred pleadings, and allowing the state to
utilize counsel whose license to practice law was suspended,
in addition to many of the same arguments presented on direct
Illinois Supreme Court denied petitioner's PLA on March
November of 2010, petitioner filed a pro se
post-conviction petition in the Illinois Circuit Court that
alleged his rights were violated when the state prosecutors
fabricated evidence against him and used this ...