Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fourth Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 15 CR 9509
Honorable James B. Linn, Judge, presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant: James E. Chadd, State Appellate
Defender Patricia Mysza, Deputy Defender Bryon M. Reina,
Assistant Appellate Defender Office of the State Appellate
Attorneys for Appellee: Kimberly M. Foxx, State's
Attorney, County of Cook Alan J. Spellberg, Assistant
State's Attorney Hareena Meghani-Wakely, Assistant
JUSTICE REYES delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices McBride and Burke concurred in the judgment
1 Following a bench trial, defendant Anthony Jones was found
guilty of eight weapons-related charges, including armed
habitual criminal (720 ILCS 5/24-1.7(a) (West 2014)). The
court merged all counts into the armed habitual criminal
count and sentenced defendant to seven years in prison on
that count. On appeal, defendant contends his convictions on
all charges should be reversed because the State did not
prove that he possessed the firearm recovered by a police
officer. He further argues his statement to a second officer
that he possessed a firearm was insufficient to establish the
corpus delicti of the offenses. In addition,
defendant contends his case should be remanded for an inquiry
into his counsel's effectiveness pursuant to People
v. Krankel, 102 Ill.2d 181 (1984). He also asserts his
sentence is excessive in light of the nonviolent
circumstances of the offense, his lack of a violent criminal
history, and his rehabilitative potential. We affirm.
2 Following a police foot pursuit on May 23, 2015, defendant
was charged with being an armed habitual criminal (720 ILCS
5/24-1.7(a) (West 2014)). The State also charged defendant
with two counts of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon (720
ILCS 5/24-1.1(a) (West 2014)), four counts of aggravated
unlawful use of a weapon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1), (2) (West
2014)), and one count of defacing the identification marks of
a firearm (720 ILCS 24-5(b) (West 2014)).
3 At trial, Chicago police officer Garcia testified that at
about 11 p.m. on May 23, 2015, he and his partner, Officer
Caro, responded to a call of a person with a firearm in the
area of Madison Street and Whipple Street. Garcia saw
defendant, whom he identified in court, walking on the
sidewalk on Whipple Street wearing the clothing that was
described in the police dispatch. Between 5 and 15 other
people were also nearby.
4 Garcia stopped his vehicle and got out. Defendant continued
to walk north on Whipple. Garcia announced his office and
shouted "hey" to defendant. Defendant turned,
looked at Garcia and ran. Garcia ran after defendant. He
estimated he was 15 feet behind defendant and was gaining on
defendant as they ran.
5 Garcia followed defendant when defendant turned right and
ran east on Madison. He saw defendant's hand "come
up towards his waistband area at which time I observed his
left hand *** toss a[n] unknown black object that made a
metallic noise" when it hit the ground. Garcia could not
see what the black object was, but said it made a
"[l]ike a clunking noise." Garcia pursued defendant
on Madison and then south onto South Sacramento Boulevard.
6 Defendant was detained on Sacramento, where several
officers had assembled. Garcia told Officer Catalano that,
after pursuing defendant onto Madison, he saw defendant
discard an item that made a metallic noise when it hit the
ground. Catalano left immediately. As Garcia retraced the
path of the foot chase, he saw Catalano standing over a blue
steel Taurus semiautomatic pistol on the ground near where
Garcia had seen defendant discard the unknown object. Garcia
said the firearm was spotted by Catalano within
"seconds" of defendant's detention. Catalano
recovered and inventoried the firearm.
7 Defendant was advised of his Miranda rights and
taken to the 11th District police station, where Garcia and
Caro interviewed him. Garcia asked defendant why he ran.
Defendant responded he had seen a firearm on the ground and
picked it up, and ran because he did not want to get caught
8 On cross-examination, Garcia said that when he initially
saw defendant on the sidewalk, he did not see anything in
defendant's hands. The other people with defendant
scattered, some in the same direction as defendant. During
the pursuit, Garcia did not send a radio message to other
officers about the object discarded by defendant. It took
Garcia between 30 and 45 seconds to walk from where defendant
was detained back to Madison. There was a "busy"
grocery store "next to" where the firearm was
recovered on Madison. Garcia had not seen where the object
landed when defendant threw it. Defendant's statement was
not memorialized but was documented in the police case
report. Garcia did not ask defendant to identify the
recovered firearm or "anything about the firearm."
On redirect, Garcia said he could not recall if other people
were in the area of Madison and Whipple when defendant
discarded the object.
9 Catalano testified that when he arrived at Sacramento,
Garcia was placing handcuffs on defendant. After speaking
with Garcia, Catalano went to the area of Madison and Whipple
and, within 30 seconds, recovered a blue steel, 9-millimeter
Taurus firearm loaded with eight live rounds. The
weapon's serial number had been defaced.
10 On cross-examination, Catalano stated there was a grocery
store near where he recovered the firearm. He did not recall
if anyone was walking near the store. He recovered the
firearm in the street, a foot from the curb. On redirect, he
stated no other objects were on the street or sidewalk where
the firearm was recovered.
11 The parties stipulated that defendant previously was
convicted of possession of methamphetamine in case No. 09 CR
051701 and convicted of the manufacture and delivery of a
controlled substance in case No. 06 CR 1231501. They also
stipulated that he did not have a concealed carry license or
a firearm owner's identification (FOID) card on the day
of this offense.
12 For the defense, Tarrina Covington testified he had known
defendant for 10 years. On the night of May 23, 2015,
Covington picked up defendant and defendant's cousin,
Eric Jones, and drove them all to Madison and Whipple.
Covington remained in his car while defendant got out and
talked to some friends. About 10 or 15 people were nearby.
When a police car drove up, defendant and several other
people walked north on Whipple toward Madison. Covington did
not see defendant hold a firearm or carry a firearm in his
waistband or see defendant reach the intersection of Madison
13 Defendant testified he and Jones were talking to a group
of people at Madison and Whipple after Covington drove them
there. When the police drove up, people threw bottles and
cups of alcohol to the ground and started to walk away.
Defendant "walked off with the crowd," and when a
police officer said "stop right there or something, hey,
come here *** everybody scattered off running, everybody went
14 Defendant said he ran across Madison and turned left and
was eventually detained by police at Albany Avenue. He denied
having a firearm, running right on Madison to Sacramento, or
throwing any object onto the ground. He also denied telling a
police officer that he picked up a weapon from the sidewalk.
On cross-examination, defendant said he spoke with Garcia at
the police station but told the officer it was not his
firearm. Defendant denied telling Garcia he ran to avoid
being caught with a weapon.
15 In rebuttal, the State entered a stipulation that
defendant had a prior felony conviction for possession of a