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People v. Anderson

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division

March 20, 2018

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
COREY ANDERSON, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. No. 10 CR 17488-02 Honorable Luciano Panici, Judge Presiding.

          JUSTICE MASON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Pucinski and Hyman concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          MASON JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 On May 12, 2010, Corey Anderson and several companions (including codefendants Jabriel Anderson, no relation to Corey, and Jason Burns) went looking for Tomaras Qualls to fight him. The group saw a silver Monte Carlo pull up nearby, and Jabriel said, "That was them." Burns fired several times at the Monte Carlo. Qualls was not in the car, but Adam Martinez, Brian Lawson, and Robert Alvarado were, and Martinez was fatally shot.

         ¶ 2 The State sought to hold Corey accountable for the shooting based upon allegations that (i) the gun used in the shooting belonged to Corey, (ii) Corey threatened Qualls's mother earlier that evening, and (iii) when Jabriel pointed out the Monte Carlo, Corey reached for his gun before Burns grabbed it and fired. Following a jury trial, Corey was found guilty on an accountability theory of the first degree murder of Martinez, the attempted murder of Lawson and Alvarado, and aggravated discharge of a firearm at Lawson and Alvarado. Corey was sentenced to 95 years' imprisonment.

         ¶ 3 On appeal, Corey argues that he was denied a fair trial because (i) the State failed to prove up its assertion that Corey threatened Qualls, upon which it relied heavily in its argument to the jury, and (ii) the State improperly used prior consistent statements to bolster the credibility of Marquell Carter, the only witness who testified that Corey had a gun. We agree and reverse and remand for a new trial.

         ¶ 4 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 5 On the evening of May 12, 2010, Xavier Smith was hosting a party at his home in Park Forest. Also present were Jabriel, Qualls, and Carter. Jabriel and Qualls got into an argument that escalated into a fistfight. Qualls left the party. He returned 10 to 15 minutes later with two friends and tried to convince Jabriel to come outside and fight them. Jabriel refused, whereupon Qualls and his friends left and did not return.

         ¶ 6 Jabriel made a phone call to his friend Raymond Darden, asking Darden to come pick him up. Later that evening, six individuals in two cars arrived, including Darden, who was accompanied by Corey (whose nickname was "Lord"), Burns, Cortez Robinson, Darden's girlfriend Latoya Kelly, and Burns's girlfriend Jasmine Johnson. The women stayed in the cars while the four men exited. Carter saw a gun in Corey's waistband. Jabriel ran outside to meet the group and told them about his earlier fight with Qualls. Then Jabriel, Corey, Burns, Darden, and Robinson walked to Qualls's house. At trial, Darden testified that he intended to mediate the conflict by talking to Qualls's brother, but in his earlier sworn testimony before the grand jury and at Burns's trial, [1] he stated that the group went to fight Qualls.

         ¶ 7 According to Darden, when the five of them reached Qualls's house, Jabriel knocked on the door, and Qualls's mother answered. Darden claimed not to remember the conversation that followed. The State attempted to impeach him with his prior sworn testimony before the grand jury and at Burns's trial. Darden admitted stating before the grand jury that Jabriel said, "Tell your son I am going to f*** him up." The State then tried to elicit testimony about what Corey said:

"Q. Do you recall being asked this question on cross examination [during Burns's trial] and giving this answer: Question: 'When they were in front of the door, Lord [Corey] said to B.D. [Jabriel], quote, Get out of the way. I am going to fan their ass.' Answer: 'Yes.'
Do you remember being asked that question at the prior testimony on June 20th of 2012?
A. Yes." On cross-examination, the defense also asked Darden about what Corey said:
"Q. Now, you testified that although you don't recall, in that prior proceeding in 2012 and at the police station, you said something to the effect about Corey stating he was going to fan their ass or something to that effect, do you remember that?
A. I don't recall."

         ¶ 8 After their confrontation with Qualls's mother, the five men left and walked back to Smith's house. As they neared Smith's house, a silver Monte Carlo drove past them and parked. Carter, standing in the doorway of Smith's house, heard someone say "That's the people? Is that them?" Carter saw Corey reach toward the gun in his waistband, but Burns snatched the gun from him and fired at the Monte Carlo.

         ¶ 9 Three days after the shooting, on May 15, 2010, Carter went to the Park Forest Police Department and identified Corey and Burns in photo arrays. On direct examination, the prosecutor presented Carter with the photo arrays and asked:

"Q. Did you make a notation, did you actually physically write something next to the photograph of Jason Burns?
A. Yes.
Q. And what did you write?
A. 'This is the person I saw get the gun from Lord and shot at the Monte Carlo.' "

         The prosecutor then showed Carter the photo array in which he identified Corey and asked:

"Q. And can you tell the jury, what did you write on this photo array?
A. 'This is the person I know as Lord. He told me his name was Lord. I saw a gun in his waistband. The other guy took the gun from Lord and shot at the Monte Carlo.'

         " The State displayed the photo arrays with Carter's annotations on a video screen for the jury to view, and Carter reconfirmed his ...


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