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People v. Wesley

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division

September 6, 2019

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TERRELL WESLEY, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. No. 08 CR 17293 Honorable Gregory Robert Ginex, Judge Presiding.

          Attorneys for Appellant: James E. Chadd, Patricia Mysza, and Robert Hirschhorn, of State Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

          Attorneys for Appellee: Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg and Janet C. Mahoney and Mari R. Hatzenbuehler, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

          CUNNINGHAM, JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Delort and Harris concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          CUNNINGHAM, JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Defendant-appellant Terrell Wesley, convicted of first degree murder in the shooting death of Everett Brown in July 2008, appeals the first stage dismissal of his postconviction petition. On appeal, the defendant argues that the circuit court erred in dismissing his petition where he stated the gist of a claim that he was denied due process and effective assistance of trial and appellate counsel where the circuit court admitted into evidence two witnesses' prior inconsistent statements that were not based on personal knowledge of the shooting. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 The facts underlying the defendant's murder conviction were set forth in great detail in our order on direct appeal (People v. Wesley, 2015 IL App (1st) 130710-U), and we repeat only those facts necessary to the disposition of the current appeal.

         ¶ 4 On July 17, 2008, the defendant shot Brown outside a grocery store in Maywood, Illinois. At a 2010 bench trial, only one witness, Jason Ervin, identified the defendant as the shooter. Ervin testified that he saw the defendant leaving the grocery store, walking backwards, and holding a gun. He then saw the defendant enter a black Pontiac driven by a female. Ervin took down the license plate number of the Pontiac and called the police. After the incident, Ervin spoke to police and described the defendant as a black man with short "dreads."

         ¶ 5 Two other witnesses who were near the store heard gunshots and observed a black man wearing a white T-shirt walking backward pointing a gun at the store. Both witnesses described the man as having "stringy-like hair" or "dreads." The witnesses saw the man get into a black Pontiac, though they disagreed about whether he entered the driver's or passenger's side door. Neither witness saw the man's face.

         ¶ 6 Shara Cannon, the defendant's girlfriend at the time of the shooting, testified that, on the day of the shooting, she was driving a rental car "looking for weed" and the defendant was not with her. According to Cannon, the defendant did not have dreads on the day of the shooting. Cannon admitted that she appeared before the grand jury on July 21, 2008, but testified that she did not remember either the questions she was asked or the answers she gave. Based on this testimony, the court permitted the State to introduce, as substantive evidence, Cannon's testimony before the grand jury that was inconsistent with her trial testimony.

         ¶ 7 As we previously recounted, Cannon testified before the grand jury as follows:

"[The] defendant had a 'two-strand twist' hairstyle. On the day of the shooting, she drove with defendant, who was wearing a white t-shirt, looking to purchase marijuana. At one point defendant asked her to stop so that he could 'holler' at someone at a convenience store. She stopped so that he could exit the car, then drove around before picking him up. Defendant got into the passenger side of the car and directed her to drive to Leon Thomas's house. When they arrived, defendant went inside for a few minutes. Defendant and Thomas then got into the car and Cannon drove home. Once there, she began to clean. Defendant and Thomas were later joined by Pierre Robinson, Devlin Williams, and Tangeric Washington. The men chatted and smoked marijuana. At one point, Cannon heard defendant say that he tapped on a window, that a guy ran into the store, and that he pointed and shot." Id. ¶ 9. Also before the grand jury, Cannon testified that she provided a written statement to the police that was substantially true and correct and tracked her testimony at the hearing.

         ¶ 8 On cross-examination at trial, Cannon testified that she was taken into custody because drugs were allegedly recovered from her home and that the police told her that things would be easier if she told them that the defendant shot a man. The State subsequently introduced into evidence Cannon's videotaped statements, which recounted the same sequence of events described in both Cannon's written statement and her grand jury testimony.

         ¶ 9 Pierre Robinson likewise testified inconsistently with his grand jury testimony during trial. Before the grand ...


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