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People v. Massey

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division

June 4, 2019

CLINT MASSEY, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. No. 14 CR 06853-01. Honorable Vincent Gaughan, Judge Presiding.

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



         ¶ 1 Defendant, Clint Massey, and his codefendant, Courtney Ealy, were convicted of murder in the shooting death of Javan Boyd. The State's evidence showed that Boyd, a private taxi driver, was waiting for his fare when Massey and Ealy approached the taxi and shot Boyd, although there was conflicting evidence as to who did the actual shooting.

         ¶ 2 On appeal, Massey argues that (i) his counsel was ineffective for not more vigorously pursuing a defense theory that Ealy was the sole shooter; (ii) the trial court erred in allowing hearsay regarding what Massey was wearing on the night of the murder; (iii) a mistrial should have been granted because the victim's family made an outburst during trial; and (iv) prior to trial, the court erred when it conducted a material witness hearing without notice to Massey. We decline to adjudicate Massey's last contention since it relies on matters outside the record and is therefore inappropriate for resolution on direct review. Finding no merit in his other claims of error, we affirm.

         ¶ 3 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 On the night of February 21, 2014, defendants attended a party at 39th Street and Wentworth Avenue, in the Wentworth Gardens housing project. Massey wore a tiger-striped jogging suit, and Ealy wore a Burberry shirt and white pants. Also attending the party were Kaprice Johns, Jasmine Brown, Germontay Carpenter, T'Keyah Herbert, and Jerome Anderson.

         ¶ 5 Defendants left the party with Herbert in Herbert's van.[1] After they left, Johns, who remained at the party, got into an argument with a group of women known as "Pretty in Pink" because Johns disliked the song that was being played. As they argued, someone fired a gun into the air multiple times. Johns did not see who fired the shots, but she guessed that the shooter wanted to stop the argument because it was too loud. The gunshots did not hit anyone.

         ¶ 6 After the altercation, Johns left the party with Brown, Carpenter, and Anderson. They left in Johns's car, with Anderson driving. Carpenter made a phone call to the either Massey or Ealy, who were still with Herbert in her van, and told them about the altercation at the party. Carpenter put the call on speakerphone, and Brown could hear Ealy's voice, which she recognized, on the other end.

         ¶ 7 Anderson drove to Wendy's, where they met up with a red car and Herbert's van. Ealy and Massey exited the van and got into the red car, along with a man named D-Rose. (A fourth man, unidentified at trial, was the driver.) The three vehicles drove back toward Wentworth Gardens in a convoy: first the red car, then Herbert's van, then Johns's car. According to Johns, they intended to "see who shot at [them]" and "deal with the matter."

         ¶ 8 Meanwhile, Latoya Adams was visiting her mother in Wentworth Gardens. Around 3 a.m. on the morning of February 22, she called for a taxi to go to a friend's house. Boyd, who was driving a car that contained no outside indication that it was a vehicle for hire, was dispatched to the call.

         ¶ 9 As the three-vehicle convoy approached 38th Street and Princeton Avenue, they passed Boyd sitting in his parked car, waiting to pick up Adams. The three vehicles all made a U-turn and came to a stop. Massey, Ealy, and D-Rose exited the red car and approached Boyd's car from the passenger side.

         ¶ 10 Both Herbert and Johns witnessed the shooting. Herbert saw Massey and Ealy open Boyd's passenger-side door and then saw Massey firing a gun into the car. She heard four or five gunshots, after which Massey and Ealy returned to the red car and drove away.

         ¶ 11 According to Johns, Massey and Ealy spoke to Boyd, and then Johns saw "a light flash from the gun" and Boyd "jumping" as if he was getting shot. At trial, Johns said she did not see the actual gun, but in a prior statement to detectives, Johns identified Ealy as the shooter. After the shooting, D-Rose ran back to Johns's car and got inside, saying "shit" and "he's dead." Massey and Ealy ran back to one of the other vehicles, and all three vehicles drove away. As they left, Johns could see Boyd "slumped over" in his car.

         ¶ 12 The shooting was captured on surveillance cameras belonging to the Chicago Housing Authority, which owns the Wentworth Gardens housing project. The video footage was played for the jury. In the videos, three vehicles drove past Boyd's vehicle and then drove back the other way. The convoy leader, a red car, stopped next to Boyd's vehicle and two men got out, one wearing a striped track suit (Massey) and the other wearing a brown shirt and white pants (Ealy). They approached Boyd's car from the front passenger side and appeared to be talking to him. Boyd's car started backing up but hit a vehicle parked a couple of feet behind him. (At this point, D-Rose got out of the red car and ran back toward Johns's car.) There was a bright flash of light near Ealy's hand; Boyd's car surged forward and hit another parked car. Massey and Ealy ran forward to look in the front passenger window. Ealy returned to the red car, Massey followed him a few moments later, and the three vehicles drove away.

         ¶ 13 Adams came outside to pick up her ride and found Boyd hanging out of the driver's side of his car. She asked him if he was okay. He did not respond. Someone else had already called the police, so Adams called the taxi company to inform them that their driver had been shot. She then remained at the scene and cooperated with police when they arrived.

         ¶ 14 After leaving the scene of the shooting, all three vehicles drove to the Shell gas station at 55th Street. Video surveillance footage from the gas station showed Ealy walking toward Johns's car. (Massey did not appear in the video.) According to Johns, Ealy entered her car, told her that he dropped his iPhone at the scene of the crime, and asked her to help him retrieve it. Ealy also told Johns about the shooting: he said that he asked the victim if he was "from over here" and specified the part of Wentworth Gardens where the party had been. The victim said he was. Ealy then said "man down," which Johns understood to mean the victim was dead.

         ¶ 15 Johns drove back to the scene of the crime, but police had already cordoned off the area and would not allow her to enter. Officers did, in fact, find an iPhone in the middle of the street near the victim's vehicle.

         ¶ 16 A latent fingerprint impression recovered from Boyd's passenger-side window was identified as belonging to Ealy. Massey's fingerprints were not found at the scene. Inside Boyd's car, the police recovered three 9-millimeter fired cartridge casings and two 9-millimeter fired bullets; additionally, the medical examiner recovered two more 9-millimeter bullets from Boyd's chest. Kellen Hunter, a firearms examiner for the Illinois State Police, determined that the bullets were all fired from a single gun, and the cartridge casings were all fired from a single gun. He was unable to determine whether the bullets and cartridges were fired from the same gun, since it is impossible to match a fired bullet to a fired cartridge casing.

         ¶ 17 Before to trial, the trial court asked Ealy's counsel if she was moving for severance. Counsel responded that she had not yet filed the motion, but she could file it later that day. The trial court asked the basis for the motion, to which Ealy's counsel replied: "We're just moving to make a motion for severance. That's our sole basis." The State responded that severance was not necessary because neither defendant made a statement and "[a]ll the other witnesses and evidence go to both defendants." The court then denied the motion. Massey's privately retained counsel was not present when this occurred; he was apparently late to court that day. When he arrived, the court informed him that Ealy had made a motion for severance that was denied. Massey's counsel did not object, nor did he orally request or file his own motion for severance.

         ¶ 18 In closing argument, Massey's counsel argued that the State's witnesses were "telling the police nonsense about who the shooters were" in order to avoid being charged with the murder themselves. He pointed out that Massey was not present for the altercation at the party, his voice was not heard in Carpenter's phone call to Ealy, and his face could not be identified in the blurry surveillance video of the shooting. Massey's counsel also ...

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