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Johnson v. City of Rockford

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

May 23, 2018

Lumont Johnson, et al., Plaintiffs,
City of Rockford, et al., Defendants.



         Palmer's motion for summary judgment [230] is granted. Rockford police officers' motion for summary judgment [235] is granted. City of Rockford's motion for summary judgment [237] is granted. All other pending motions [186] [210] are denied as moot. This case is closed.


         Plaintiffs, Lumont Johnson, Anthony Ross (a/k/a “Little Daddy”), and Tyjuan Anderson (a/k/a “Ace”), have sued defendants, Rockford Police Officers Doug Palmer, Dominic Iasparro, Joseph Stevens, James Randall, Scott Mastroianni, Theo Glover, Kurt Whisenhand, [1] Torrey Regez, Brad Larson, and Elizabeth Grindley, as well as the City of Rockford under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[2]Plaintiffs allege various civil rights violations in connection with their purported wrongful murder convictions. Before the court are motions for summary judgment filed by defendants. For the reasons that follow, the motions are granted.

         I. FACTS[3]

         At about 2:51 a.m. on April 14, 2002, eight-year-old Demarcus Hanson was killed by bullets fired though a window as he slept in a house at 2514 Chestnut Street in Rockford, Illinois belonging to his grandmother Estelle Dowthard. Later that day, when officers interviewed Demarcus' uncle, Alex Dowthard, he initially claimed that he had no information about his nephew's killers and that he had been with his girlfriend the previous night. Dowthard later admitted that he and an unnamed individual were in his 1988 Chevrolet Monte Carlo and exchanged gunfire with plaintiffs who were in a white Chevrolet Suburban. At that point, however, Dowthard claimed that the unnamed individual, later determined to be Lataurean Brown, was the person who fired at the Suburban. Dowthard said that he hid the gun under a car in his mother's driveway on Chestnut Street, but that he was not present for and did not know who shot at Demarcus' grandmother's house. Dowthard was taken into custody on a parole violation.

         Palmer and Stevens interviewed Brown on April 24, 2002, and he did not indicate who shot Demarcus. Next, Palmer and Stevens met with Dowthard at Big Muddy River Correctional Center (“Big Muddy”) on May 2, 2002. Dowthard again claimed that he knew nothing about the murder.

         On May 9, 2002, officers obtained a written statement from Brown that implicated plaintiffs in the shooting and provided in pertinent part:

My name is Lataurean Brown, but people call me Johnny Boy. On Saturday night and into Sunday morning on April 13th and April 14th, I met up with my friend Alex Dowthard on Parmele Street where he was staying at. After we met up we went to Lamonts on 15th Avenue. I drove Alex's car to the club. The car is a purple Monte Carlo with loud mufflers. We got to Lamonts and went inside. There wasn't any problems at Lamonts and I didn't see L[u]mont, Lil Daddy or Ace there. At about closing, we left and I drove to the liquor store on South Main Street. The liquor store is the one with the gravel parking lot. I parked on the street just a little ways from the door and I was sitting on the hood of the car talking to some girls. I don't remember the names of the girls. Alex was standing next to the car talking to a girl. Alex was in the street and he was throwing up G.D. and then a white and blue Suburban drove up and stopped. Lumont was driving, a younger light skinned guy was in the front seat, Lil Daddy was sitting behind the driver and Ace was sitting behind the passenger. When the Suburban stopped Ace started talking and saying what does that mean asking about the gang signs. I was still talking to the girls and I was listening to both the girls and Alex but I heard Ace calling Alex a bitch, pussy and a motherfucker. Alex said something back but I don't remember what he said. I saw Lil Daddy get out when they stopped talking and he was standing in the door frame and raised up over the top of the truck. At that time I didn't know what he was doing but he looked down the street and I assumed a squad car was coming so he got back into the Suburban and they drove off.
After a minute Alex said lets go and we drove off also. We turned on Loomis and headed back towards M and M Market on West Street. We took a right on Montague and then left on Rose Street and Alex wanted me to stop at a white house on Rose. I was still driving.
Alex went inside and came back out after about five minutes and I don't know what he was doing in there. After he came out we headed up Central to Chestnut where we turned right and went to Tay Street. We took a left and headed up Tay Street and as we turned we saw the Suburban turning on Tay and coming in our direction. We had the T-Tops off on the car and as we got close to the car, Alex stood on the seat and started shooting a handgun that he had. I don't know where he got it and I didn't know he had it until he started shooting. The gun didn't have any clips, it had a wheel where the bullets were. Alex shot at the Suburban and this Suburban was the same Suburban that Lumont, Lil Daddy, Ace and the light skinned guy were in but when Alex started shooting I just concentrated on driving and getting out of the area I didn't see who was in the Suburban. I didn't know Alex was going to shoot but when he did I got scared and I drove up to West State and turned left. Alex had shot about four shots.
When I turned left on West State, Alex told me to turn left on the street next to the school. After talking to Detective Stevens and Palmer I know that street is Waldo Street. We headed down Waldo and headed to the stop sign at Chestnut. Between Tay and West State and Chestnut and Waldo, I saw Alex reloading the gun. He was putting the bullets in one at a time.
We stopped at the stop sign and saw that the Suburban was coming towards us on Chestnut so Alex started shooting at them again through the T-Top. I kept going straight and made a right on Green Street. I drove to Central and then turned right on Central. I headed up Central to West State and then turned left on West State Street. Alex told me to drive to his mother[']s House on Chestnut. I knew where the house was at so I drove to Johnston then took a left and went to Chestnut and turned right. I stopped the car on the wrong side of the road right in front of the driveway.
Alex got out and ran to the Ford Taurus in the driveway and put the gun up under the car. I don't know why he did that. Alex started walking back to the car and then he stopped and said, “oh shit, there them niggas.” Alex started running towards the back of the house right away so I drove off. Before I drove off, I saw a red Pontiac pull up almost next to me on the other side of the road. I looked over and saw Lumont driving, Ace in the front seat, and Lil Daddy in the back seat. They didn't have their hoods up then. I took off towards Henrietta and looked in the rearview mirror and saw Lil Daddy and Ace getting out and chasing Alex toward the back of the house. I turned right on Henrietta and stopped a little ways up the block. I got out and started looking for Alex but was staying by the car. After a short time I saw Alex start running towards me from behind the house next to his mother's house. He kept running and when he was in the middle of the intersection, I heard four gunshots from by his mother's house. The shots were one right after the other. Alex got to the car and got in and we drove and took a left on West State Street. I never saw the red car or those [sic] again.
Alex told me to drive to Concord Commons . . . .

         On May 31, 2002, Lindmark and Glover went to Big Muddy and obtained a written statement from Dowthard in which he implicated plaintiffs in the shooting. Dowthard's statement provided in pertinent part:

My name is Alex Dowthard. I want to tell the truth about what happened at my mother (Estelle Dowthard's House) (2514 Chestnut Street) the night my nephew Demarcus Hanson was killed.
The night Demarcus was killed I had an earlier altercation with Anthony Ross, Lumont Johnson and a dude who's name is ‘Ace.' I do not know Ace['s] real name. When these altercation[s] happened I was with my friend Johnny, I do not know Johnnie's real name but I identified him from a photo that was shown to me by Sgt. Lindmark.
Johnny and I were riding in my 1988 Monte Carlo, Johnny was driving. The first altercation I had was when Johnnie and I went to the liquor store on South Main St. It was about 2:00 a.m. Johnnie and I parked in front of the liquor store and got out of the car. We looked up and saw Lumont Johnson in traffic driving his white suburban with blue graphics towards us. I saw a light skinned black male riding in [the] front passenger seat with Lumont. Anthony Ross was in the rear seat behind Lumont and “Ace” was sitting behind the light skinned black male who I did not know.
Lumont stopped the suburban beside my purple and blue Monte Carlo and words were exchanged between me and Anthony Ross and ‘Ace.' ‘Ace' rolled his window down and said something, and Anthony Ross who I call ‘Lil Daddy' opened his door and stood outside and said something smart. After we exchanged words, Lumont drove off. A crowd had gathered around the liquor store, everybody left after we exchanged words. Johnnie and I got in my car and we drove up by M&M Market which is located on the corner of West and Montague St. We saw Lumont [and] them again at M&M Market ‘Lil Daddy' yelled at me and called me a ‘bitch' then Lumont drove back towards South Main St. I told Johnnie to head for the westside towards Catfish City.
Before we got to Catfish City I had another altercation with Lumont [and] them at Chestnut and Tay Street. After the altercation at Chestnut and Tay, I told Johnnie to head to my mother's house on Chestnut Street.
We arrived at my Mom's house and Johnnie parked in front of the house on the wrong side of the street. I got out [of] my car and put something up. After I put something up, I walked back towards my car and I saw a red mid-size car pull alongside my car and stop in the middle of the street. The cars doors opened and I recognized Lumont Johnson, Anthony Ross (Lil Daddy) and Ace all get out of the car. I do not know who was driving the car, because they all got out so fast. I heard one of them yell, “there he go” and somebody said “go that way.” I saw Lumont Johnson with a chrome handgun and Anthony Ross (Lil Daddy) had the same type of gun Lumont had.
I turned and ran to the rear of my Mom's house from the front driveway of my mother's house. ‘Ace' was chasing me while Lumont and Anthony Ross (Lil Daddy) ran around the opposite side of the house to try and cut me off. As I ran by the garage which is located behind my mother's house, I heard 4 or 5 gunshots coming from the right side of my mom's house which would be the westside of the house.
When I heard the shots I stopped near the end of the garage and waited for about 30 seconds, then I looked on the westside of my mother's house and I saw Lumont Johnson and Anthony Ross (Lil Daddy) running from the westside of my mom's house back towards the car they got out of.
I was able to see Lumont and Anthony Ross because I had moved from the rear of the garage towards the front which allowed me to see Lumont and Anthony (Lil Daddy) running. I don't know where ‘Ace' was but I know he did not see me because I had a head start on him. After I saw Lumont and (Lil Daddy) running, I made my way through the rear yard of my mom's house and ended up by my Dad's house on Henrietta.
Johnnie drove my car toward the corner and picked me up by my Dad's house on Henrietta. Johnnie and I drove to Concord Commons to try to use a phone. . . .
. . . .
[M]y nephew Jeffrey Moore came over and told me Demarcus had been shot and everybody was at the hospital. Later on that day I came down to the police station to talk to detectives.
I originally thought I could handle this myself, that's why I did not cooperate at first. I'm now willing to cooperate because I want the guys who did this to my nephew arrested. I have not been offered anything by the police department for my cooperation. I feel bad for my family I just want this to be all over.

         Plaintiffs were charged with Demarcus' murder on June 30, 2002.

         On July 11, 2002, Palmer and Stevens obtained a written statement from Antonio Leavy which primarily described his involvement with conflicts between Waco and Moe (also known as P. Stones) street gang members which took place before Demarcus was murdered. The written statement was filed under case number 02-073667, rather than 02-048075, the case number of the Demarcus Hanson homicide investigation. In that portion of his statement dealing with the shooting of Demarcus, Leavy stated:

The next thing that happens is Demarcus was shot and killed. On that night I was home and heard four gunshots. I got out of bed ran downstairs and looked out of the front window. I saw a red Grand Am. . . . I saw a heavy set black male driving and he was sitting up some.
. . . .
[Brown] told me what happened and he said that he and [Dowthard] were at the club and they pulled off and went to the liquor store. [Dowthard] was throwing up forks and Ace, Lil Daddy, and Lumont pull up. Ace asks what that meant and [Dowthard] told him that it meant gangster. That was all [Brown] told me. After [Brown] told me that and after all that has been going on with the Moes and the Wacos I figured it was them that was probably involved in Demarcus' shooting.

         On August 27, 2002, Stevens and Palmer obtained a written statement from Casel “Café” Montgomery which provided, in pertinent part, that in the early morning hours of April 14, 2002, “Lil Daddy chirped me” and then borrowed Montgomery's rented red Pontiac Grand Prix. When Montgomery woke up the next day, his red Grand Prix was out front with the keys in it. Later that day, Lil Daddy told Montgomery that “he saw them Niggas last night and he got to busting at Alex. Lil Daddy said that Alex's gun jammed and he threw it. Lil Daddy said he just kept shooting.” When Montgomery told Lil Daddy that he killed a kid, Lil Daddy said that “he wasn't trying to kill the kid, he was trying to kill his Mama.” According to Montgomery, a day or two later Lil Daddy told Montgomery that he had been talking to the police and that Montgomery should get rid of the red Pontiac. Montgomery and his girlfriend turned in the red Pontiac for another rental car.

         On September 12, 2002, Stevens obtained a written statement from Ross' cousin Sonya White in which she swore:

Back a few months ago I was at my mother's house and I had been outside hanging out. It was in the early morning, it wasn't light out yet, but you could tell the sun was coming up. My cousin is Lil Daddy or Anthony Ross and he came over in a maroon older two door car and stopped at my mother's house. He got out and talked to me for a second. He was acting weird, he was pacing and kept grabbing his head and stuff. I told him we could ride and smoke for a while. We got into the car and drove to Levings Lake which is just down the road. We got to Levings Lake and he drove around the lake to the building on the north shore. We got out and walked into the building and Lil Daddy had a gun in his waistband. We walked into the building and Lil Daddy started talking about how he wish[ed] he could turn back time. He said he didn't want to do it. I asked him what and he told me that I would hear about it on the news. Lil Daddy then pulled out the gun and threw it in the lake. I saw the gun and asked him if he shot somebody and he lowered his head and nodded. Lil Daddy told me they were “into it with some niggas” and they wanted to take over the block. Then he started crying. I held him and I asked him what he was going to do. He told me he didn't know. We talked about God and he asked me if I had any money. I gave him two hundred dollars and then he drove me home. He dropped me off and then left and I don't know where he went. A couple days later I heard on the news that a little boy was killed and that[']s when I knew what Lil Daddy had done.

         Johnson and Anderson were tried together in October 2002. Ross was tried separately in February 2004.

         A. Johnson and Anderson's October 2002 Jury Trial

         Judge Gerald F. Grubb presided at the jury trial of Johnson and Anderson. Assistant State's Attorney Scott Salemi represented the State. Attorney Randy Wilt and Public Defender Karen Sorenson represented Johnson and Anderson, respectively. The trial was scheduled to begin on October 21, 2002. At a pretrial hearing held on that date, Wilt addressed Johnson's motion to continue the trial. Wilt indicated that on October 17, 2002, the prosecution came into possession of recordings of Dowthard's telephone conversations while he was incarcerated at Big Muddy (“Dowthard tapes”) which predated Dowthard's May 31, 2002 written statement. Wilt informed the court that the Dowthard tapes were made available to the defense on Friday, October 18, 2002, and that thereafter he and the other two defense attorneys spent two hours listening to one-and-a half tapes.[4] Wilt explained that they needed to listen to the rest of the tapes which could contain exculpatory information, and that they could not do so if the trial started that day. The State did not object to Johnson's motion. Judge Grubb suggested that they delay the trial by one-week, but still pick a jury and have them return on October 28, 2002. Sorenson objected, stating that she did not think a week was enough time and that she could not pick a jury without knowing what was on the Dowthard tapes. Judge Grubb ordered the State to turn the original Dowthard tapes over to the defense and, despite Sorenson's concerns, said that they would pick a jury and have them come back on October 28, 2002, to start the trial.

         At trial, after testifying consistently with the facts set forth in his May 31, 2002 written statement, Dowthard explained that he did not tell the police what he knew right away because he was on parole and knew that he was not supposed to be around violence or have a gun. During his initial interview with police, Dowthard made up a story to distance himself from the shooting, although he eventually did admit that he possessed a gun and fired it, and that he had put it up under a car at his mother's house. Dowthard explained that he did not tell the police the truth until he was in Big Muddy on a parole violation due to his possession of the firearm. When detectives came to Big Muddy, he gave them a statement without asking them for anything in return. However, after he gave his statement, Dowthard asked the detectives to take the parole hold off of him and one of the detectives said he would have to talk to the Parole Board. According to Dowthard, he did not get out of Big Muddy any earlier than he otherwise would have.

         On cross-examination, Dowthard confirmed that the first time he met with the police on April 14, 2002, he lied to them when he told them that he was with his girlfriend and that he had no knowledge about how Demarcus was killed. Dowthard also agreed that after the police told him he was going to have to submit to a gun powder residue test, he told them that he possessed a gun and fired it. Dowthard agreed that Palmer and Stevens came to see him at Big Muddy on May 2, 2002, and he refused to speak to them. About a week later, Dowthard was served with a criminal warrant for forgery which also became another basis to revoke his parole. On May 30, 2002, Dowthard had a telephone conversation with Glover and Lindmark during which he agreed to talk with detectives if they would agree to notify the State's Attorney's Office and the Parole Board that he cooperated. Dowthard said that he gave his written statement implicating plaintiffs in Demarcus' murder on May 31, 2002, which was the second time detectives, this time Lindmark and Glover, came to see him at Big Muddy. Dowthard agreed that he asked the detectives to release him from the parole hold, but Dowthard explained that the detectives said that they could not make any promises. Dowthard denied that the detectives promised to have the forgery charge dismissed, but Dowthard agreed that the charge was ultimately dismissed on July 31, 2002, and that the State's Attorney's Office sent a letter informing the Parole Board of the dismissal. On re-direct examination, Dowthard denied that any officer told him what to say in his statement or that any officer told him he had to implicate plaintiffs.

         Brown testified that, after Dowthard fired from the Monte Carlo, Dowthard directed him to drive to his mother's house. According to Brown, he curbed the car on the wrong side of the street in front of the house and kept the engine running. Dowthard exited the vehicle, walked up the driveway, placed his gun under the gray Ford Taurus in the driveway, and walked back toward the Monte Carlo. With that, Dowthard said, “Oh shit, here come them niggers, ” and he ran toward the house. Brown looked to his right and saw Lumont, Ace, and Lil' Daddy in a red car. Brown drove away in the Monte Carlo and saw Ace and Lil' Daddy running after Dowthard in his rearview mirror. Brown eventually stopped the car and saw Dowthard running toward him. Brown heard four gunshots as Dowthard reached the intersection of Chestnut and Henrietta Streets. Dowthard got into the Monte Carlo, and Brown drove to Concord Commons. Brown did not learn that Demarcus had been killed until later that morning. On April 24, 2002, Brown spoke to the police at his cousin's house and also at the public safety building. Brown admitted that he initially lied to the police. Brown disclosed to the police that Dowthard shot at the Suburban, but he did not say who shot at the house in retaliation. In May 2002, Brown gave a statement to the police which intimated that Ace, Lumont, and Anthony were responsible for Demarcus' death.

         Larson testified that he was on duty when Anderson and his brother, Terrance Anderson, were being held in adjacent cells following the crime. Larson overheard Terrance instruct defendant not to say anything to the police. Larson then heard Anderson respond, “It's okay man. I'll just do the 20 years and be out.” Apparently, Grindley was also present as she is mentioned in Larson's report on the incident. During defendants' case at trial, Terrance denied that the conversation between him and Anderson ever took place.

         Johnson testified on his own behalf at trial. Anderson did not. Johnson explained that he, Anderson, Javarus (presumably the light-skinned male), and Ross saw Dowthard and Brown near the Monte Carlo. Dowthard displayed a gang sign and Anderson asked, “what that was about.” Johnson dropped Ross off where his Cadillac was parked near the intersection of Tay and Chestnut Streets and then dropped Javarus off at his house. Johnson and Anderson, who were in Johnson's Suburban, followed Ross in his Cadillac. The two vehicles encountered the Monte Carlo at the intersection of Tay and Chestnut Streets. The Monte Carlo paused at the stop sign and turned toward the Suburban. Johnson heard gunshots, turned onto Chestnut Street, and parked near Ross, who had also stopped. Johnson recognized the Monte Carlo, but he did not see the driver or the shooter. Johnson testified that he checked the Suburban for bullet holes but did not find any. Montgomery pulled up in a red Grand Am or Grand Prix and parked behind the Suburban. Johnson asked Ross whether he heard gunshots, and Ross answered “no.” Johnson and Anderson drove to Anderson's house and Ross and Montgomery remained on Chestnut Street. Anderson's family members testified that Anderson and Johnson arrived between 2:00 and 2:30 a.m. The next day, Johnson learned that a police officer was looking for him. Johnson called the officer, went to the public safety building, and spoke with the police that day and the next.

         Johnson and Anderson argued that Montgomery and Kefentse Taylor were actually the shooters. The jury rejected this argument and found Johnson and Anderson guilty. In their post-trial motions for new trial, Johnson and Anderson raised, among other issues, their late access to the Dowthard tapes. The motions were denied and Judge Grubb sentenced each to 50 years' imprisonment.

         B. Ross' February 2004 Jury Trial

         Judge Joseph McGraw presided at Ross' trial, the State was represented by Mark Karner, and Ross was represented by Jeffrey Kline. Dowthard and Brown testified consistently with their written statements and their testimony at the jury trial of Johnson and Anderson.

         Sonya White was called by the State and testified that a couple hours before daylight, just before she heard about the Hanson murder on the news, her cousin Ross stopped by her mother's house looking frantic and worried. White and Ross rode in Ross' car down the street to Levings Lake where Ross said that “he wished that he could turn back time, ” and that “he was into it with some niggers over some block territory.” Ross then threw a gun into the lake. White testified further that she asked Ross if he shot someone and Ross held his head and nodded yes. White acknowledged that she was awaiting sentencing on a pending attempted home invasion charge. However, White testified that she volunteered the information about Ross, no promises were made to her, and she did not expect anything in return.

         During his case at trial, Ross testified to his whereabouts at the time of the murder and denied any involvement. Toni Gulley testified that in April 13, 2002, she was living with Ross, who was her boyfriend, and their baby. Gulley testified that Ross got home at about 2:45 a.m. on the morning of April 14, 2002, while she was changing her baby's diaper. When asked how she could be sure of the time, Gulley said because she looked at the clock on her digital cable box. On cross-examination, Gulley denied telling Detectives Cone and Jimenez on April 24, 2002, that she could have been off on the time by as much as a half-hour.

         The jury found Ross guilty. Thereafter, Judge McGraw sentenced Ross to 50 years' imprisonment. Plaintiffs' convictions and sentences were upheld on direct appeal. See People v. Anderson, 367 Ill.App.3d 653 (2006); People v. Johnson, No. 2-04-0395 (2005) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23); People v. Ross, No. 2-04-0391 (2006) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).

         C. Postconviction Proceedings

         In their amended petitions for postconviction relief, plaintiffs brought numerous claims including actual innocence based on a host of individuals coming forward including Palmer, who admitted his and other officers' misconduct; White, who admitted that her trial testimony was false; and Rickedda Young, who stated Brown and Dowthard told her that they did not know who the shooters were minutes after the shooting. Each plaintiff requested outright reversal of his conviction based on his actual innocence or, alternatively, vacature of his conviction followed by a new trial.

         The postconviction petitions were supported by various affidavits including an October 28, 2007 affidavit in which White swore in pertinent part that:

3. In September 2002, I was arrested for home invasion.
4. When I was arrested, Detective Stevens asked me if I knew about the case they had on Anthony Ross. Even though I knew absolutely nothing about it, I told Detective Stevens that I did know about the case. Detective Stevens told me that if I could help them, they could help me.
5. On September 12, 2002 I gave a false statement to the police about Anthony Ross. I gave the statement because I thought I could get a deal on my home invasion case.
6. The only things that are true in my statement are my name and where I was living at the time. I made up everthing else.
7. I also testified at Anthony's trial. My testimony was false.
8. Anthony was not outside with me on April 14, 2002. Anthony never told me any of the things that I said that he told me. Anthony never threw a gun in Levings Lake.
9. I had no idea what happened in this case. As far as I know, Anthony had no involvement in it whatsoever.
10. I gave false testimony at Anthony's trial because of my home invasion charge. We had talked about my testifying at Anthony's trial and I felt like I had to follow through for my plea.
11. I am coming forward now to tell the truth because what I did was wrong and has been eating at my soul.

         Toni Gulley swore in her November 28, 2007, affidavit that:

3. On April 14, 2002, I was changing my baby's diaper and getting ready to feed her when Anthony came home. It was around 2:45 a.m.; I remember looking at the time on the digital cable box in my room.
4. I was interrogated by the detectives multiple times regarding the murder of Demarcus Hanson on April 14, 2002.
5. During those interrogations, I remember the detectives trying to get me to say that Anthony came home at 6:00 a.m. the night of the murder, and not at around 2:45 a.m., as I had told them. I specifically remember Detectives Palmer and Randall (“JR”) trying to get me to say this.
6. In addition, Palmer harassed me at work, and Palmer and JR threatened to call DCFS and take my baby away if I did not cooperate. Palmer and JR also harassed me outside the courthouse, saying hurtful things like, “Who's going to take care of your daughter?” or “You need a daddy?”
7. After being threatened that my baby was going to be taken away, I may have told the police that I could have been off by a little on the time that Anthony came home.
. . . .
10. After the first time I gave testimony at the Grand Jury, I was scared to testify again at the Grand Jury.
11. In addition, my experience at the grand jury plus the police threatening and intimidating me all made me very nervous about testifying at Anthony's trial. I really didn't want to be involved.
12. I told Anthony's attorney, Jeff Kline, about my experience with the State's Attorney and testifying before the grand jury. I also told Jeff Kline that Palmer told me to say that Anthony came home at 6:00 a.m.

         Charles Griffin stated in a July 2, 2008 affidavit that he is serving a 20-year sentence for murdering Taylor. According to Griffin, in the late spring and summer of 2002, when he and Taylor were “locked-up in the Winnebago County Jail, ” Taylor told Griffin that he and Montgomery “was [sic] trying to get at Alex.” When Griffin tried to inform the police, they told him “that if [his] information [did not implicate] [Lu]Mont, Lil' Daddy, and Ace, they did not want to hear it.” Griffin also stated in his affidavit that after he was released, he and Taylor were riding in a car and he asked Taylor who was there when Demarcus was shot. Taylor said it was just him and Montgomery. Griffin asked Taylor this question because he wanted to kill everyone who had something to do with Demarcus' killing. Griffin added that because the police would not do anything he had to take matters into his own hands and the only reason he did not kill Montgomery as well was because Montgomery was in prison.

         Montgomery swore in a July 18, 2011 affidavit that “Doug Palmer told me to say that Anthony Ross chirped me and needed to borrow my car, but that never happened. Anthony Ross never had my car that day. The only reason I did it is because Palmer threatened me with murder charges . . . physical force and incarceration.” On the same date, Montgomery testified at the postconviction evidentiary hearing that his girlfriend rented a red Pontiac Grand Prix on April 11, 2002, and they returned it on April 15, 2002. Montgomery acknowledged that he told the police that Ross “chirped” him on the morning in question and asked to borrow the red Pontiac and that he let Ross borrow the car. However, Montgomery said this was not true. When cross-examined about the specifics of his August 27, 2002 statement, Montgomery repeatedly said “I don't remember.” Bryce Croft testified that he was in the Winnebago County Jail in the summer of 2002 on a drug charge. Croft acknowledged that he was in tier upper C with Ross and spoke to Ross about his murder charge. Croft's conversation with Ross was one to three days before Croft asked to speak to the police regarding Demarcus' murder. On July 29, 2002, Croft met with Palmer and told him that he saw Taylor and Montgomery leave in a red Grand Prix on the early morning of April 14, 2002, with a Ruger P89 handgun, and when he saw them later at a house, Taylor dropped an empty clip from the gun onto the floor. Later that summer, Palmer came and got Croft out of jail, threatened him with perjury charges, and said that what Croft told him the first time was not true and that he knew that Ross had put Croft up to it. Croft said that Palmer gave him a pre-written statement and told him to sign it and initial it, and that Croft did not read the statement. In this statement which was dated October 16, 2002, Croft stated that he made up the story which he had previously told Palmer at Ross' request. At the evidentiary hearing, Croft testified that the October 16, 2002 statement was not the truth and his July 29, 2002 statement was true because he had no reason to lie.

         White testified that in September 2002, she was taken into custody for questioning about a home invasion and Stevens asked her if she heard about Demarcus' murder. White said that although she did not know anything about the murder or Ross' involvement, she told Stevens that on the morning of the murder Ross nodded his head when she asked him if he had shot someone and Ross threw a gun into Levings Lake. White testified that this was not true. White testified that she made up the story so she could get out of trouble. When asked how she came up with the information in her statement, White said:

A. Well, when the detectives was [sic] questioning me they asked me about it, and I just went off what they were saying.
. . . .
Q. Did the detectives provide you with information about the murder?
A. In some sorts that's how I find [sic] out about it.

         When asked to explain how the detectives provided her with ...

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