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People v. Alexander

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

August 27, 2019


          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois. Circuit No. 16-CF-180 Honorable John P. Vespa, Judge, Presiding.

          Attorneys for Appellant: James E. Chadd, Peter A. Carusona, and James Wozniak, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Ottawa, for appellant.

          Attorneys for Appellee:Jerry Brady, State's Attorney, of Peoria (Patrick Delfino, Thomas D. Arado, and Jasmine D. Morton, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

          JUSTICE O'BRIEN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Wright concurred in the judgment and opinion.



         ¶ 1 The defendant, Orlando Charles Alexander, appeals from his conviction for unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 The defendant was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(a) (West 2016)). At trial, the State alleged that the defendant ran from a traffic stop with a gun in his hand. Officers gave chase and found the defendant hiding by a porch, and the gun was found discarded on the defendant's route.

         ¶ 4 City of Peoria police officer David Logan testified that he attempted to effectuate a traffic stop around 7:30 p.m. on March 8, 2016, on a black Chrysler vehicle after he observed it cross the center line. Logan activated his lights, and the Chrysler pulled to the curb but then fled from the curb after Logan and his partner had exited their vehicle. Logan radioed what had happened and received a radio transmission from City of Peoria police officer Bryan Sylvester stating that Sylvester had located the vehicle and people were running from the vehicle. Logan testified that Sylvester stated over the radio that one person was running eastbound with a gun in his hand. Logan's report indicated that Sylvester stated that both males ran east from the vehicle and were armed with guns. Logan's report stated that the gun was found in the path of the defendant's flight.

         ¶ 5 Sylvester testified that he had put out a radio transmission on March 8 for assistance in stopping a black Chrysler. When Logan indicated that he was stopping the vehicle, Sylvester drove on a parallel street in the area. After the black Chrysler fled the stop, it turned on the street in front of Sylvester. Sylvester testified that the Chrysler came to a stop and two males exited on foot. Sylvester described one as tall, wearing a white sweatshirt and stonewashed jeans. The other male was shorter, wearing dark clothing. Sylvester identified that taller male as the defendant. Sylvester testified that he was about 20 feet away, with his headlights on, when he saw the defendant exit the vehicle with a large, black semiautomatic firearm. The defendant fled eastbound down a driveway, continuing between the houses. The other male, in black clothing, also initially ran east, but just to the sidewalk, and then proceeded southbound. Sylvester attempted to follow the defendant, but when the defendant turned north, Sylvester went back to the sidewalk and ran north to the street. The defendant was found by other officers by a house on the next street. The other male was found by other officers in a nearby backyard. The gun was found in the garden area next to the driveway that the defendant ran down.

         ¶ 6 Sean Johnston, also a police officer with the City of Peoria, testified that he responded to help locate the two males that fled from the Chrysler. He parked one street over to the east and began searching the yards. Johnston found the defendant hiding underneath a deck of a house on that street. The defendant was wearing a white sweatshirt.

         ¶ 7 Sergeant James Chiola testified that he followed the path that Sylvester told him that the defendant took and found a semiautomatic firearm on the other side of the fence along the driveway, about 15 to 18 feet from the driveway. Chiola testified that the gun was about 60 feet from the sidewalk in front of the house. It was a black Beretta, a .22 caliber. There was dirt on top of the gun, as if it had been freshly thrown, and no moisture on it.

         ¶ 8 Officer Brock Lavin testified that the other male was located in the backyard of a house on the street where the Chrysler stopped, about a half a block away. Officer Brittany Martzluf, a member of the Peoria Police Department Crime Scene Unit, described the gun as a .22 caliber. It was laying in the yard and had some dirt on it that Martzluf described as fresh. The gun had no moisture on it. She took custody of the gun and swabbed it for potential DNA and tested it for fingerprints. She did not find any fingerprints. Ann Yeagle, a forensic scientist employed by the Illinois State Police, testified that there was some DNA on the gun but not in a sufficient amount to make a comparison to the defendant. She could not include or exclude anyone based on the incompleteness of the DNA profile.

         ¶ 9 The defendant's sister, Lantrese Alexander, testified that she was driving the Chrysler and the defendant was in the back seat along with the other male. She pulled over for the police, but then drove off because she was driving with no insurance and no license and she panicked. When she pulled over again, everyone ran out of the car. ...

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