332 F.2d 531 (7th Cir. 1964), 14444, United States ex rel. Staples v. Pate

Docket Nº:14444.
Citation:332 F.2d 531
Party Name:UNITED STATES ex rel. Henry H. STAPLES, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Frank J. PATE, Warden, Illinois State Penitentiary, Joliet, Illinois, Respondent-Appellee.
Case Date:May 28, 1964
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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Page 531

332 F.2d 531 (7th Cir. 1964)

UNITED STATES ex rel. Henry H. STAPLES, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

Frank J. PATE, Warden, Illinois State Penitentiary, Joliet, Illinois, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 14444.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

May 28, 1964

Page 532

Thomas P. Sullivan, Diane I. Lunquist, Chicago, Ill., for petitioner-appellant.

William G. Clark, Atty. Gen., Richard A. Michael, Asst. Atty. Gen., Chicago, Ill., Raymond S. Sarnow, Edward A. Berman, Asst. Attys. Gen., of counsel, for respondent-appellee.

Before HASTINGS, Chief Judge, and DUFFY and SWYGERT, Circuit Judges.

DUFFY, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from a judgment of the District Court dismissing Staples' petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The District Court's findings of fact, conclusions of law and opinion appear at 222 F.Supp. 998.

About 11:30 p.m. on the evening of October 11, 1942, Staples' wife was killed, death resulting from blows from an axe. About 7:30 a.m., October 12, East St. Louis police officers arrested Staples. They took him to a funeral parlor to view his wife's body. Then, while in a police car with Officer Sherrod driving and Officer Hudson in the rear seat with Staples, he was told he was the prime suspect as to the cause of his wife's death. The officers said they would like to look through Staples' house. Staples told them that they could make the search. They drove to Staples' home where Staples unlocked the back door so that the officers could enter.

The officers searched three rooms. Behind the stove in the kitchen they found a bloody axe. Behind the refrigerator they found a blood-stained white shirt. In a dresser drawer in the bedroom they found a bloody pair of pants.

The police officers took these articles and Staples to the police station. Staples was questioned from 1 p.m. to about 4 p.m. At first, Staples maintained he had no knowledge of his wife's killing. When asked about the blood on the axe and clothes, Staples said it was from a pig that he had recently killed. The police suggested they would send the articles to a chemist to have the blood analyzed. Then, unaccompanied by any physical coercion or threats, Staples admitted killing his wife and he signed a written confession. The next morning, Staples was brought before a magistrate.

On December 18, 1942, petitioner was indicted for murder by the grand...

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