Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fourth Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 13 CR 11785, The
Honorable Vincent M. Gaughan, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE GORDON delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices McBride and Ellis concurred in the judgment
1 Following a jury trial, defendant, Jaron Green, was
convicted of first degree murder for the fatal shooting of
the victim, Bruce Lee. After considering factors in
aggravation and mitigation, the trial court sentenced
defendant to 51 years in the Illinois Department of
Corrections (IDOC). On appeal, defendant argues that his
conviction should be reversed, claiming that: (1) the trial
court improperly defined the reasonable doubt standard of
proof prior to trial, (2) the State made inappropriate
remarks during closing arguments, (3) the evidence at trial
was insufficient to prove defendant guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt, and (4) cumulative errors warrant a
reversal of defendant's conviction. For the following
reasons, we affirm defendant's conviction.
3 I. Pretrial Proceedings
4 In June of 2013, defendant was indicted by a grand jury on
six counts of first degree murder, and defendant was
arraigned on July 11, 2013.
5 On January 22, 2014, defendant filed a motion to dismiss,
arguing that he was deprived of a full and complete defense
because the police failed to preserve videotape evidence from
the crime scene. The motion to dismiss argued that, in a
supplementary report, Detective Patrick Deenihan and Sergeant
Patrick McDonagh stated that they observed a camera in the
rear of an apartment building on the 700 block of North
Hamlin Avenue. According to the report, the detectives viewed
the video and observed a man running eastbound through the
south alley on Chicago Avenue shortly after the shooting. The
report further states that the detectives requested an
evidence technician to come to the apartment building to
retrieve the videotape. However, the motion to dismiss claims
that an assistant State's Attorney informed defense
counsel that the police did not preserve the video because it
contained "nothing of evidentiary value."
6 In response, the State argued that the police determined
that the video lacked evidentiary value because the person
depicted in the video was too far away to be identified. The
State claimed that the police called for an evidence
technician to retrieve the video anyway, but they ultimately
never recovered the video due to either technical or human
error. The trial court then denied defendant's motion to
7 Defendant also filed a motion to suppress his
identification, requesting that two separate physical
lineups, conducted in May of 2013, be suppressed. In his
motion, defendant argued that the witnesses, Christopher
Roberson and Darian Broomfield, mistakenly
identified defendant due to the unduly suggestive nature of
the lineup. During the suppression hearing on September 3,
2014, Sergeant McDonagh testified that, in addition to the
physical lineups, Broomfield and a third witness, James
Holmes,  were shown photo arrays in 2011, and that
a both witnesses identified defendant as the shooter.
Detective Rolando Rodriguez also testified that he conducted
two physical lineups and that Roberson and Broomfield both
identified defendant as the shooter. The trial court
considered the totality of the facts in the case and
determined that the photo arrays and physical lineups were
not unduly suggestive, and it denied defendant's motion
as a result.
8 On January 12, 2015, Darian Bloomfield signed an affidavit
claiming that he did not observe defendant shoot the victim
and that his previous statement, given on May 17, 2013, was
the result of police coercion.
9 II. Preliminary Jury Instructions
10 On May 8, 2015, the trial court began voir dire
by welcoming the venire and checking that none of the
potential jurors had a relationship with the parties or
potential witnesses. The trial court then instructed the
venire on basic principles of law, stating that its comments
are "not final or complete instructions" but those
necessary to assist the eventual jurors to "follow the
law and evidence in this case." The trial court
described the charges against defendant, the nature of the
indictment, the presumption of innocence, and the State's
burden of proof. Specifically, the trial court stated:
"These are not your final or complete instructions.
Those will come after you've heard all the evidence and
the final arguments of the attorneys. When the time for
giving instructions come [sic], I will first read
them to you, and then you'll get them in writing ***.
* * * The next constitutional principle I want to talk to you
about is the burden of proof. In a criminal case, the burden
of proof is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Some of you may
have sat on civil juries, there the burden of proof is
preponderance of evidence, and if you look at a scale, all
you have to do is tilt it. And the definition is it's
more likely than not that the event occurred, that's
preponderance of the evidence.
In a criminal case, again, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is
the highest burden of proof at law.
Does anybody have any problems understanding the burden of
proof being beyond a reasonable doubt? Please raise their
Indicating no one raised their hand."
trial court also explained that the burden of proof never
shifts from the State to defendant, that defendant is not
required to testify, and that no negative inference can be
drawn from defendant's decision not to testify. The trial
court concluded its opening remarks by telling the jurors
that it is their duty to find defendant guilty if, only after
hearing all of the evidence against him, they are convinced
he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
11 III. Evidence at Trial
12 At trial, the State presented testimony from nine
witnesses: (1) Antoinette Monique Butler, the victim's
fiancée; (2) Willie Patterson, a delivery driver who
was near the shooting; (3) Sergeant Nellie Harb, the first
police officer to respond to the crime scene; (4) Larue Bey,
a local resident who heard gunshots the night of the crime;
(5) Darian Broomfield, an eyewitness to the shooting; (6)
Sergeant Patrick McDonagh, a Chicago police officer who
interviewed Broomfield; (7) Officer Victor Rivera, a police
officer who processed the crime scene; (8) Lisa Gilbert, a
forensic fingerprint examiner with the Illinois State Police;
and (9) Detective Rolando Rodriguez, a detective who had
Broomfield view the physical lineup. The defense presented
testimony from one witness: Detective Patrick Deenihan, a
detective who interviewed Broomfield. Defendant exercised his
constitutional right not to testify at trial.
13 A. Antoinette Monique Butler's Testimony
14 The State's first witness, Antoinette Monique Butler,
testified that she was the victim's fiancée and
that she had known him for four years until his death. She
identified a photo of the victim in court. On
cross-examination, she testified that the victim revealed
that he been shot before and that, on May 18, 2011, the day
of the shooting, he told her "kiss my baby for me, but I
won't be back." The victim then left the house but
she did not know where he was going. She also testified that
the victim knew defendant.
15 B. Willie Patterson's Testimony
16 Next, Willie Patterson testified that he is a delivery
driver and that he conducted a delivery to a grocery store on
the 3800 block of West Chicago Avenue on May 18, 2011.
Patterson and his delivery partner, Jimmy Puckett,
arrived at the grocery store at approximately 10 a.m. and
parked on the south side of Chicago Avenue facing east. After
dropping off the delivery inside the store, Patterson
returned to his vehicle. While standing by the driver's
side of his vehicle, he heard between two to four gunshots
coming from the direction of the store, so he ran into the
cargo hold of his vehicle to seek shelter. Once the shooting
stopped, he exited his vehicle and observed the victim
holding his stomach while crossing Chicago Avenue to the
north side of the street. The victim approached a vehicle
parked on the north side of the street and bent down by the
passenger side away from Patterson's view. A couple
seconds later, the victim ran back across Chicago Avenue.
Patterson then checked to determine that his partner was
unharmed. Patterson never observed who shot the victim.
17 The parties then stipulated that (1) the manager of the
grocery store, Iaad Hamat, would testify that there were
surveillance cameras inside and outside of the store and that
they were functioning properly on the day of the shooting,
(2) Hamat would testify that, between 9 and 10 a.m. on May
18, 2011, a shooting occurred outside the store while he was
receiving a delivery to the store and that he did not observe
the shooting, (3) Hamat would testify that the State's
Exhibits Nos. 3A and 3B were videos recorded on the
surveillance cameras during the shooting. The videotapes were
then placed in evidence and published to the jury. Patterson
testified that the videos showed him and his partner enter
the store, complete the delivery, and then Patterson exit the
store. The video outside the store showed Patterson then walk
to the driver's side of his vehicle, and later showed the
victim running across Chicago Avenue after being shot.
18 On cross-examination, Patterson testified that, after the
shooting, he observed a person who he did not know walk to
the area near the passenger side of the parked vehicle where
the victim had previously bent over, and that there were a
"bunch of people" outside near the crime scene
within a minute or two of the shooting.
19 C. Sergeant Nellie Harb's Testimony
20 Sergeant Nellie Harb testified that she is a sergeant in
the 17th District of the Chicago police department. At
approximately 10 a.m. on the morning of May 18, 2011, she
received a radio call of a shooting near Ayers and Chicago
Avenues, so she drove to the area. As she approached from the
west, she observed "a lot of people running eastbound on
Chicago [Avenue], " including the victim, who was
holding his chest. She stopped her vehicle to find out what
happened to the victim, and he told her that he had been
shot. The victim continued walking south on Chicago Avenue
and then laid down near a red vehicle parked on Avers Avenue.
Harb called for medical assistance, exited her vehicle, and
approached the victim, and she remained with him until an
21 D. Larue Bey's Testimony
22 Larue Bey testified that he is a private investigator, a
former sergeant in the Cook County Sheriff's police
department, and a resident of the neighborhood where the
crime occurred. At approximately 10 a.m. on May 18, 2011, Bey
heard "quite a few gunshots" while he was standing
in the kitchen of his house on the 3800 block of West Huron
Street. He was not sure where the gunshots originated from,
but it sounded like they came from right in front of his
house. He approached his front window and observed "a
red or orange Bonneville-type" vehicle traveling
eastbound at a high rate of speed on Huron Street, a
westbound one-way street. Bey estimated the vehicle was
traveling 15 to 20 miles per hour over the 25 or 30-mile per
hour speed limit.
23 The State then showed Bey the State's Exhibits 6, 7,
and 8, which were all still frames from a videotape recording
of the intersection of Avers and Chicago Avenues the morning
of the shooting, and Bey testified that the "red or
orange" vehicle depicted in all three photographs
appeared to be the same vehicle that he observed through his
window. Bey testified on cross-examination that he had
observed the vehicle approximately 5 to 10 minutes after
hearing the gunshots, and that he was not sure of the make of
the vehicle. The State then introduced State's Exhibit
15, which was a certified copy of vehicle records that
indicated that defendant owned a 1998 Pontiac Bonneville, but
it did not specify the color of the vehicle.
24 E. Darian Broomfield's Testimony
25 Darian Broomfield testified that he is currently
incarcerated in the IDOC for a narcaotics case and that he
has three prior convictions for possession of a controlled
substance. Broomfield identified defendant in court and
testified that he had known defendant almost his whole life,
but he did denied knowing defendant by a nickname. Broomfield
testified that, at approximately 10 a.m. on May 18, 2011, he
was at an aid office at Pulaski Road and Ferdinand Street to
obtain a Link card. He denied being on 750 block of North
Avers Avenue that day.
26 Broomfield testified that, on August 20, 2011, he was
arrested for a narcotics-related offense and he met
detectives at the corner of Chicago and Springfield Avenues.
He denied meeting with Detectives Patrick Deenihan and
Patrick McDonagh at the Homan Square police station, and he
denied telling them that he had observed defendant shoot the
victim. The detectives showed Broomfield a photo array but he
denied that he selected a photograph of defendant as the
person who shot the victim. He also denied signing his name
on defendant's photograph, as well as signing an advisory
form for the photo array.
27 Broomfield testified that, on April 16, 2013, he worked at
the grocery store at the corner of Avers and Chicago Avenues,
and that Detectives Rolando Rodriguez and John
Hanichakcame to the store and spoke with him. The
detectives "harassed [Broomfield] every day, " and
he denied telling them that he observed defendant shoot the
victim. On May 17, 2013, Broomfield viewed a physical lineup
at the police station on the 2400 block of West Belmont
Avenue and defendant was in that lineup; however, Broomfield
denied that he selected defendant in the lineup as the person
who shot the victim. After viewing the physical lineup, he
met with Detective Rodriguez and an assistant State's
Attorney. During this meeting, Broomfield signed a statement
"against [his] free will" because police officers
"threatened to harass [him] to make [him] lose [his]
job." Broomfield testified that he did not read the
28 Broomfield denied that, on May 18, 2011, he was playing
dice on Avers Avenue with some people from the neighborhood.
He denied that he observed the victim park his vehicle on the
west side of Avers Avenue, enter the grocery store, and exit
the store five minutes later. He denied observing defendant
run from an alley on Chicago Avenue toward the victim and
shoot the victim five or six times. Broomfield denied that
defendant was standing next to him when he fired the last
shot, and he denied that he became scared and ran away after
the shooting. He denied that he observed defendant 20 to 30
minutes after the shooting driving a black four-door sedan
one block away near Chicago and Springfield Avenues, and
denied that he observed defendant's face and that
defendant was still wearing the same black hooded sweatshirt.
Broomfield denied that he identified State's Exhibit 2 as
a photograph of defendant by signing his name. Broomfield
testified that, outside the presence of the detective, he
told the assistant State's Attorney that the police
treated him well because he did not want the offices to
continue harassing him. Broomfield testified that no threats
or promises were made to him in exchange for his statement,
and that he told the assistant State's Attorney and the
detective that he provided his statement freely and
29 On cross-examination, Broomfield testified that he
received probation for his August 20, 2011, narcotics arrest,
and that he never contacted the police to identify the
victim's shooter in the three months from the day of the
crime to the day of his arrest. On redirect-examination,
Broomfield denied that he told Detective McDonagh on August
20, 2011, (1) that he was outside playing dice, (2) that he
observed the victim park his red vehicle and enter the
grocery store at Avers and Chicago Avenues, (3) that he
observed defendant approach the victim and begin firing a
handgun as the victim exited the store, and (4) that he
observed the victim fall near a Ford Taurus.
30 The State later offered Broomfield's statement into
evidence and published it to the jury by instructing
Detective Rolando Rodriguez to read the statement to the jury
during his testimony:
"Darian Broomfield states that he is 24 years old and
that his date of birth is February 19, 1989. Darian states
that he lives at *** North Harding in Chicago Illinois.
Darian states that he lives with his grandmother Fannie
Broomfield and his grandfather Curtis Broomfield.
Darian states that he was born in Chicago and that he has
lived at *** North Harding his entire life. Darian states
that he went to Orr High School in Chicago but did not
graduate. Darien states that he received his GED in 2012.
Darian states that on May 18, 2011 he was on Avers Avenue and
Chicago with some guys from the neighborhood playing dice.
Darian states that he was on the east side of Avers Avenue
north of the alley but south of [the grocery store].
Darian states that he was playing dice for about one hour
when he saw a guy from the neighborhood named Bruce Lee turn
off Chicago Avenue and drive south on Avers Avenue and park
his car on the west side of the street. Darian has identified
a photo marked Exhibit No. 1 as a picture of Bruce Lee by
signing his name.
Darian states that he has known Bruce Lee from the
neighborhood for more than five years. Darian states that no
one else was in the car with him. Darian states that Bruce
Lee got out of the car, he crossed Avers, and walked into
[the grocery store]. Darian states that [the grocery store]
is on the east side of Avers.
Darian states that about five minutes later Bruce Lee walked
out of [the grocery store] and he was starting to cross over
Avers Avenue back to his car. Darian states at that time he
saw a man he knows as Ronnie run out of the alley from the
east side of Avers towards Bruce Lee.
Darian has identified a photo marked Exhibit No. 2 as a
picture of Ronnie by signing his name. Darian states that he
does not know Ronnie's real name. Darian states that he
has known Ronnie from the neighborhood for five or six years.
Darian states that when Ronnie came running out of the alley
he had a gun in his right hand.
Darian states that he was about ten feet away from Ronnie
when he came running out of the alley. Darian states that
Ronnie was wearing a black hoodie but with the hood up, but
he knew it was Ronnie because he could still see his face.
Darian states that a hoodie is a sweatshirt with a hood on
it. Darian states that it was light out and nothing was in
his way of seeing Ronnie. Darian states that Ronnie was
running straight at Bruce Lee and started firing his gun at
Darian states that he saw Ronnie shoot the gun at Bruce Lee
five or six times. Darian states that Ronnie was running at
Bruce Lee the entire time he was shooting the gun and that he
came up right next to Bruce Lee when he fired the last shot.
Darian states that after he saw Ronnie shoot Bruce Lee he got
scared and ran to the alley on Avers south of Chicago Avenue
and ran westbound towards Springfield. Darian states that he
was running down the alley towards Springfield. He saw Ronnie
run down the alley at Avers south of Chicago Avenue and run
eastbound towards Hamlin, the same place where he originally
saw Ronnie-originally saw Ronnie come from with the gun in
Darian states that he waited a couple of minutes and he went
back to Avers to see if Bruce Lee was okay, and he could tell
that he was not.
Darian states that about 20 to 30 minutes later after the
shooting he saw Ronnie about one block away at Chicago and
Springfield driving a black four-door sedan. Darian states
that he could see Ronnie's face and he was still wearing
the same black colored hoodie.
Darian Broomfield states that he has been treated well by
[the assistant State's Attorney] and by the police.
Darian states that [the assistant State's Attorney] asked
Detective Rodriguez to leave the room and asked Darian how he
had been treated by the police. Darian states that he told
[the assistant State's Attorney] that they treated me
Darian states that he was allowed to use the restroom when he
needed. Darian states that he has been given food and water
while at the Area North police station, specifically a bag of
chips and bottled water.
Darian states that he has not been handcuffed at any time
while at Area North police station. Darian states that no
threats or promises have been made to him to make this
statement. Darian states that this statement was given freely
and voluntarily. Darian states that he is not under the
influence of drugs or narcotics at this time.
Darian states that he can read and write English and that he
demonstrated this by reading the first page of this statement
out loud and then followed along with [the assistant
State's Attorney]-followed along as [the assistant
State's Attorney] read the rest of the statement as he
read along and was told to ...