People v. Adams, 1-06-2620.

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Citation914 N.E.2d 490
Docket NumberNo. 1-06-2620.,1-06-2620.
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ron ADAMS, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date14 August 2009
914 N.E.2d 490
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Ron ADAMS, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 1-06-2620.
Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, First Division.
Nunc Pro Tunc 7/20/09.
August 14, 2009.
Rehearing Denied August 28, 2009.

[914 N.E.2d 493]

Office Of The State Appellate Defender, Patricia Unsinn-Deputy Defender, Shawn O'Toole-Assistant Appellate Defender, Chicago, IL, for Defendant-Appellant.

Anita M. Alvarez-State's Attorney-County of Cook, James E. Fitzgerald, Samuel Shim, Assistant State's Attorneys, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Justice GARCIA delivered the opinion of the court:


The defendant, Ron Adams, appeals from his convictions for first degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm following a simultaneous trial with codefendants Terrance Space and Harvey Space before separate juries. The defendant asserts numerous errors on appeal including insufficiency of the evidence, improper jury instruction, failure to declare a mistrial, erroneous denial of his motion to quash arrest and errors in evidentiary rulings. Because we find no merit in any of the defendant's arguments, we affirm his convictions.

BACKGROUND

The defendant and codefendants Terrance Space and Harvey Space were charged with the murder of Aaron Newman and aggravated battery with a firearm of Martice Chatman. Mr. Newman and Mr. Chatman were shot at a party in the early morning of July 5, 2002. There were approximately 100 persons gathered in the alley behind 3606 West Douglas in Chicago.

Motion to Quash the Arrest

At a pretrial hearing on the defendant's motion to quash his warrantless arrest, Detective James Egan testified that at 11 a.m. on August 8, 2002, he and four other officers went to the defendant's apartment building. The officers entered the building's unlocked outer door and knocked on the defendant's apartment front door. When the defendant's wife Shameeka Adams answered, Egan asked whether the defendant was inside. Egan testified that Ms. Adams pointed to her right, said "yeah, he's right here," and stepped aside, leaving the doorway unobstructed. The officers entered and arrested the defendant, who was recovering from gunshot wounds to his legs, left arm, and back. After the officers placed the defendant in custody, Ms. Adams began yelling at them, asking whether they had an arrest warrant.

Ms. Adams, the only other witness to testify at the hearing, stated that an officer knocked at her front door and asked whether she had seen a man run through her apartment. She then heard a knock on her back door and told the officer at the front door to "hold on." Ms. Adams testified that when she opened the back door, three officers entered without her consent and that the officer at the front door also entered. When she argued that the officers did not have a warrant, they put her arms behind her back and pushed her head toward the floor.

Judge Evelyn B. Clay denied the defendant's motion to quash. She credited Detective Egan's version of the events. Judge Clay found that Ms. Adams consented to the entry of the detectives by pointing in the direction of the defendant and stepping aside at the front door. Judge Clay found this was equivalent to saying "come in."

914 N.E.2d 494
The First Day of Trial

On March 1, 2006, the first day of the defendant's trial, the State presented testimony from six witnesses: (1) the deceased's mother, Alice Newman; (2) Laquita "Shay" Thomas; (3) Assistant State's Attorney Tony Garcia; (4) Martice Chatman; (5) first responder officer Liberty; and (6) forensic investigator Kathleen Gahagan.

Ms. Newman testified as the life and death witness.

Ms. Thomas testified that in the early morning of July 5, 2002, she was at a party in the alley behind her house at 3606 West Douglas in Chicago. At 12:15 a.m., Ms. Thomas saw a man wearing a sweatshirt with his hood up enter the alley. Ms. Thomas heard gunshots and began running. She denied seeing the man in the hooded sweatshirt take his hood off and shoot Aaron Newman. She also denied telling police that the defendant, whom she knew by the nickname "D-Dot," was the man in the sweatshirt. Ms. Thomas testified that she was shown a photo array which she signed, but she denied drawing an arrow to the defendant's picture. She denied identifying the defendant in a lineup or naming him as a shooter in a written statement.

Assistant State's Attorney Tony Garcia testified that he interviewed Ms. Thomas regarding the shooting. He prepared a handwritten statement based on the interview, which Ms. Thomas reviewed and signed. In that statement, Ms. Thomas said she saw a man in a sweatshirt with the hood up enter the alley, then heard gunshots and saw the person in the sweatshirt firing a gun at Aaron Newman. Ms. Thomas said the defendant was the shooter, who had taken off his hood. In the statement, Ms. Thomas also said that she identified the defendant in a photo array and at a lineup.

Martice Chatman testified that he also attended the party behind Ms. Thomas's residence. While standing near his cousin, Mr. Chatman turned and saw a man firing a handgun toward him. Because the man wore a sweatshirt with the hood up, Mr. Chatman could not identify him. Mr. Chatman was shot in the shoulder and leg as he ran from the alley.

Officer Liberty testified that he arrived at the alley following a report of shots fired. Officer Liberty learned that there were two gunshot victims and secured the crime scene.

Forensic investigator Kathleen Gahagan, qualified as an expert, testified that she collected bullet casings, bullet fragments, and a shotgun from the alley on July 5, 2002.

The Defendant's Motion for a Mistrial

At the start of the second day of trial, the parties learned that the notepads belonging to four jurors were missing. The defendant moved for a mistrial. Before ruling on the motion, Judge Clay interviewed the four jurors in her chambers on the record with the attorneys present. The jurors recalled the evidence to varying degrees but none could identify all six of the previous day's witnesses by name. However, Judge Clay concluded that all four jurors "expressed the ability to recollect the evidence independent of notes." Judge Clay denied the defendant's motion for a mistrial, finding the defendant could "continue to have a fair trial."

Continuation of Trial

When trial resumed, Derrick Smith testified that while he was at the party, at around midnight, he saw codefendant Terrance Space ride a bike into the alley, stop next to victim Aaron Newman, and engage in an "unfriendly" conversation with Mr. Newman before leaving the alley. About

914 N.E.2d 495

20 minutes later, a man in a sweatshirt with the hood up walked eastbound into the alley. When the man was "four to five feet" away from Mr. Smith, the man removed his hood and pulled a silver handgun from his pocket. Mr. Smith saw the man's face and identified him as the defendant, Ron Adams, whom he had known for over 10 years. Mr. Smith testified that the defendant was carrying a 9-millimeter Ruger; he denied testifying before the grand jury that the defendant was carrying a 9-millimeter Baretta.

Mr. Smith testified he saw the defendant begin firing his gun, after which Mr. Smith hid behind garbage cans in the alley. From behind the garbage cans, Mr. Smith saw Terrance Space walk northbound into the alley and fire a "Tech 9" gun at Mr. Newman. Mr. Smith also saw Harvey Space walk eastbound into the alley from a vacant lot. Harvey fired a "large caliber handgun" at Mr. Newman. All three shooters then ran from the alley.

Mr. Smith acknowledged that he was a convicted felon and had been arrested three times since July 5, 2002. Mr. Smith testified that he neither received nor expected to receive any favors from prosecutors in exchange for testifying in the defendant's case.

On cross-examination, Mr. Smith testified that because he was "in shock" after the incident he did not speak to police until July 22, 2002, and did not make a handwritten statement until August 11, 2002. In his first interview with police officers, Mr. Smith did not say that the defendant removed his hood before he began shooting. Mr. Smith acknowledged that his testimony about being four to five feet away from the defendant when the shooting began differed from his handwritten statement and his grand jury testimony. Mr. Smith also acknowledged that in his handwritten statement he wrote that he ran through a gangway when the shooting began; he did not say he hid behind garbage cans as he testified at trial.

Chicago police sergeant Don Jerome testified that he questioned the defendant on August 8, 2002. The defendant initially said he was not at the party but was robbed and shot in the early morning of July 5, 2002. The defendant said he did not report the incident to police but was treated at UIC Hospital. When Sergeant Jerome was unable to confirm that the defendant was treated at UIC Hospital, he questioned the defendant again; the defendant then said he was shot while "walking to a party."

Alleged Hearsay Testimony

Detective Ricky Galbreath testified that he interviewed the defendant on August 10, 2002. Over defense counsel's objection, Galbreath testified that the defendant said someone told his family that he was paid to shoot Mr. Newman. The defendant said that his family erected a public memorial for him in an effort to convince their neighbors that he was killed in the shooting.

Forensic Evidence

Forensic scientist Kurt Zeilinski, qualified as an expert, testified that he analyzed the evidence from the scene and confirmed that at least five weapons were used: a "380 automatic, 45 automatic, 9 millimeter [R]uger, [a] 40 Smith and Wesson," and a shotgun. Although Mr. Newman and Mr. Chatman sustained several gunshot wounds, only a single bullet was recovered from Mr. Newman's body. Zeilinski testified that the bullet was "380 slash 38 caliber" and matched the 380 automatic...

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2 cases
  • People v. Swanson
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • May 9, 2016
    ...the warrantless entry was not justified by consent.¶ 31 The State's reliance on People v. Adams, 394 Ill.App.3d 217, 333 Ill.Dec. 71, 914 N.E.2d 490 (2009), and People v. Lozano, 316 Ill.App.3d 505, 249 Ill.Dec. 414, 736 N.E.2d 608 (2000), is misplaced. In Adams, the finding of consent was ......
  • United States ex rel. Adams v. Butler
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • February 29, 2016
    ......Background I. Facts         Shortly after midnight on July 5, 2002, Aaron Newman was shot and killed, and Martice Chapman was also shot but survived, at a party attended by about 50-100 people in the alley bounded by the blocks of West Douglas Boulevard, South Millard Avenue, West 13th Street, and South Central Park Avenue, in Chicago. Page 2 Adams was discovered shortly after the shooting on the same block of South Millard Avenue where the party occurred, having suffered multiple ......

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