United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
FREDERICK J. KAPALA DISTRICT JUDGE.
motion for summary judgment  is granted. Rockford police
officers' motion for summary judgment  is granted.
City of Rockford's motion for summary judgment  is
granted. All other pending motions   are denied as
moot. This case is closed.
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,  Torrey Regez,
Brad Larson, and Elizabeth Grindley, as well as the City of
Rockford under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.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.
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
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.
9, 2002, officers obtained a written statement from Brown
that implicated plaintiffs in the shooting and provided in
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
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 . . . .
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
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
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
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.
were charged with Demarcus' murder on June 30, 2002.
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
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'
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
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.
Johnson and Anderson's October 2002 Jury Trial
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. 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Ross' February 2004 Jury Trial
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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,
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