People v. Ballard, No. 88885.

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Citation276 Ill.Dec. 538,794 N.E.2d 788,206 Ill.2d 151
Decision Date29 August 2002
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Mark BALLARD, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 88885.

794 N.E.2d 788
206 Ill.2d 151
276 Ill.Dec.
538

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee,
v.
Mark BALLARD, Appellant

No. 88885.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

August 29, 2002.

As Modified Upon Denial of Rehearing December 2, 2002.


794 N.E.2d 794
Charles M. Schiedel, Deputy Defender, and Kathryn Saltmarsh, Assistant Defender, of the Office of the State Appellate Defender, Springfield, for appellant

James E. Ryan, Attorney General, Springfield, and Joseph E. Birkett, State's Attorney, Wheaton (Joel D. Bertocchi, Solicitor General, and William L. Browers and David H. Iskowich, Assistant Attorneys General, Chicago, of counsel), for the People.

Justice FREEMAN delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a bench trial held in the circuit court of Du Page County, the trial judge found defendant, Mark Ballard, guilty of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a) (West 1996)); robbery (720 ILCS 5/18-1(a) (West 1996)); concealment of a homicidal death (720 ILCS 5/9-3.1(a) (West 1996)); unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle (625 ILCS 5/4-103(a)(1) (West 1996)); and armed robbery (720 ILCS 5/18-2(a) (West 1996)). After finding the defendant eligible for the death penalty and hearing aggravation and mitigation testimony at the subsequent sentencing hearing, the trial judge sentenced defendant to death for the first degree murder conviction. In addition, the trial judge imposed a 5-year sentence for the concealment of a homicidal death, a 7-year sentence for unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and a 60-year sentence for armed robbery; sentences to be served concurrently. The death sentence has been stayed pending direct appeal to this court. Ill. Const.1970, art. VI, § 4(b); 134 Ill.2d Rs. 603, 609(a). For the reasons that follow, we affirm both the convictions and the sentences.

BACKGROUND

This case involves the murder of Patty Noland. The primary evidence used by the State against defendant came from defendant's own admissions to his family, friends and to police, which can be summarized as follows. In October 1997, defendant was living at a residence owned by John McGuire. Noland had previously lived at this residence, but had recently moved out and was living with her boyfriend. However, Noland had left some of her clothes at McGuire's house and had yet to retrieve them. While McGuire normally resided at his home, he was staying with his girlfriend from approximately October 25, 1997, through the beginning of November 1997, but left the care of his dog with defendant.

On October 29, 1997, around 8 p.m., defendant wanted a car and money so that he could go to Elgin and buy drugs. Defendant thought of Noland. Knowing that Noland would not lend defendant her car and money, he thought of robbing her by first luring her to McGuire's house under the pretense that she could pick up her remaining clothes. Once there, defendant would knock Noland out with chloroform and handcuff her down in the basement. However, thinking that Noland could later identify him, defendant's thoughts ultimately turned to murder. To that end, defendant called Noland at the restaurant where she was a waitress working the 5 p.m. to midnight shift. Defendant told her to come over to McGuire's house to pick up her clothes after she was done with work,

794 N.E.2d 795
but requested that she call him before coming so that he would know when to expect her. Noland agreed

While defendant waited for Noland's call, he retrieved a bottle of chloroform from McGuire's room and put it in a box next to the front door so that Noland would not recognize it. Defendant then wrapped a hammer in a bath towel and placed it in the entranceway. Defendant also laid a blanket out on the floor in the front living room so that he would have something to wrap the body in. In addition, defendant retrieved a pair of handcuffs from McGuire's room and put them in his back pocket.

Noland called defendant around 10:30 p.m. to let him know that she was on her way to pick up her clothes. Defendant asked her to bring him a soda.

After Noland's call, defendant soaked a rag with the chloroform. When Noland arrived in the driveway, defendant grabbed the rag and held it in his hand. Upon Noland's entrance into McGuire's house, defendant asked her for his soda. Noland responded that she had left the soda in her car and for defendant to get it himself. As Noland proceeded to walk further into the house, defendant grabbed her and put the chloroform-soaked rag over her face. There was a struggle and both fell to the ground onto the blanket that defendant had previously laid down. When defendant realized that the chloroform was not having an effect on Noland, he held her down while he grabbed the hammer and began to hit her on the head. Defendant continued to keep the chloroform rag over Noland's face as he hit her on the head with the hammer. After hitting Noland approximately 30 times, defendant got up to wash the blood off his hands. As he was washing his hands, defendant heard Noland mumbling. Defendant then attempted to stab Noland with a knife in order to "finish [her] off" and to "prevent her from suffering any more," but the blade bent on impact. Defendant then retrieved a three-foot long screwdriver or pry bar and hit Noland in the side/rib area a couple of times. Defendant next proceeded to take a number of McGuire's things, such as a TV, two VCRs, and a stuffed owl. He put the items in Noland's car. Defendant went back into the house and put McGuire's dog in McGuire's room. Worried that Noland's boyfriend might come looking for her, defendant wrapped Noland up in another blanket and dragged her body in front of the couch and out of view from the window. Noland was still mumbling so defendant put the handcuffs on her, thinking she might get away. Defendant then set white plastic bags filled with clothes next to Noland and leaned two bikes against her to conceal her body. Defendant took money from Noland's purse which she had left in the car, and before leaving in Noland's vehicle, defendant turned off the lights and locked up the house.

McGuire testified that he received a telephone call on October 31, 1997, from defendant. McGuire asked defendant for a ride to the store. Defendant drove McGuire to and from the store in Noland's car. McGuire asked defendant how he had possession of Noland's car and defendant responded that he had dropped Noland off at work.

On November 4, 1997, McGuire became concerned about his dog because McGuire had been unable to contact defendant for a few days. McGuire asked a friend to drive him to his house. When he entered his house, he detected a foul odor. McGuire found his dog in his room and noticed that his dog had lost a lot of weight. McGuire had his friend drive him to the store to buy some dog food. After returning to the house, McGuire looked around and noticed

794 N.E.2d 796
some items missing from his home. McGuire also saw blood under a rug that he normally kept by the front door and proceeded to lift up a corner of the blanket covering Noland's body and saw a large mass of blood. At this point, McGuire dialed 911

Sergeant Jeffrey A. Driskill of the Hanover Park police department responded to the scene. When he arrived, he detected an odor he recognized and associated with decaying human flesh. Noland's body was discovered underneath the bikes, clothes, and blankets; exactly how defendant had left her. Sergeant Driskill carefully noted where each item was placed in and around Noland while the items were being removed and inventoried. In fact, Sergeant Driskill videotaped the scene of the crime before and after the items were taken off the body.

Detective John Dossey of the Hanover Park police department was also at the crime scene and was the lead detective in the investigation. On November 5, 1997, Detective Dossey observed the autopsy of the body and received confirmation that the body was that of Patty Noland. The autopsy revealed that Noland had died from craniocerebral injuries due to multiple blunt-force trauma with the chloroform exposure, and the handcuffed wrists playing a part. Detective Dossey instructed officers to look for defendant.

On November 7, 1997, at approximately 8:15 p.m., officers from the Broadview police department saw Noland's car in a parking lot of a strip mall and detained defendant after a foot pursuit. Defendant was arrested based on a warrant for unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle and taken to the Broadview police department, where he remained until Detective Dossey and Detective Edward Piacenza, also from the Hanover Park police department, arrived to escort defendant back to the Hanover Park police station. Upon meeting defendant, Detective Dossey introduced himself and Detective Piacenza as detectives with the Hanover Park police department. Defendant immediately stated that he was "glad it was over" and that he was "tired of running." Detective Dossey told defendant that they would talk later at the Hanover Park police station.

By 9:45 p.m. Detectives Dossey and Piacenza had returned with defendant to the Hanover Park police station. The detectives placed him in a room to conduct an interview. At approximately 9:50 p.m., Detective Dossey gave defendant Miranda warnings, reading verbatim from a preprinted Miranda warning and waiver form. After defendant indicated that he understood his rights and signed the form, he admitted to murdering Patty Noland as detailed above. He also admitted to having committed a number of burglaries.

While Detectives Dossey and Piacenza were interviewing defendant, Sergeant Driskill inventoried Noland's car, and upon finding various items in the vehicle, including bloody clothing and a pair of tennis shoes, coordinated his efforts with those of the investigators who were interviewing defendant. Defendant identified the clothing and shoes to be those he had worn while murdering Noland.

In the early morning hours of November 8,...

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  • People v. Lovejoy, No. 104443.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • September 24, 2009
    ...1, 52-53, 304 Ill.Dec. 589, 853 N.E.2d 378 (2006); Mertz, 218 Ill.2d at 93-99, 299 Ill.Dec. 581, 842 N.E.2d 618; People v. Ballard, 206 Ill.2d 151, 276 Ill.Dec. 538, 794 N.E.2d 788 (2002). Defendant also asserts that the State made an improper biblical reference in its closing argument at t......
  • State v. Hidalgo, No. CR-15-0049-AP
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • March 15, 2017
    ...require an evidentiary hearing on a motion when the legal claims do not turn on disputed facts.¶ 12 Finally, citing People v. Ballard , 206 Ill.2d 151, 276 Ill.Dec. 538, 794 N.E.2d 788 (2002), Hidalgo contends that whether a statute adequately narrows the class of those eligible for the dea......
  • People v. Urdiales, No. 98996.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • February 16, 2007
    ...589, 853 N.E.2d 378 (2006), People v. Mertz, 218 Ill.2d 1, 93-94, 299 Ill.Dec. 581, 842 N.E.2d 618 (2005), and People v. Ballard, 206 Ill.2d 151, 202-05, 276 Ill.Dec. 538, 794 N.E.2d 788 (2002). Defendant raises no new arguments in this respect, and we decline to revisit the We find in defe......
  • People v. White, No. 109689.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • September 26, 2011
    ...has been called upon to address whether the sixth amendment right to counsel had attached at the time of a lineup. See People v. Ballard, 206 Ill.2d 151, 171–75, 276 Ill.Dec. 538, 794 N.E.2d 788 (2002); People v. Garrett, 179 Ill.2d 239, 246–51, 227 Ill.Dec. 921, 688 N.E.2d 614 (1997). Seco......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
96 cases
  • People v. Lovejoy, No. 104443.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • September 24, 2009
    ...1, 52-53, 304 Ill.Dec. 589, 853 N.E.2d 378 (2006); Mertz, 218 Ill.2d at 93-99, 299 Ill.Dec. 581, 842 N.E.2d 618; People v. Ballard, 206 Ill.2d 151, 276 Ill.Dec. 538, 794 N.E.2d 788 (2002). Defendant also asserts that the State made an improper biblical reference in its closing argument at t......
  • State v. Hidalgo, No. CR-15-0049-AP
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • March 15, 2017
    ...require an evidentiary hearing on a motion when the legal claims do not turn on disputed facts.¶ 12 Finally, citing People v. Ballard , 206 Ill.2d 151, 276 Ill.Dec. 538, 794 N.E.2d 788 (2002), Hidalgo contends that whether a statute adequately narrows the class of those eligible for the dea......
  • People v. Urdiales, No. 98996.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • February 16, 2007
    ...589, 853 N.E.2d 378 (2006), People v. Mertz, 218 Ill.2d 1, 93-94, 299 Ill.Dec. 581, 842 N.E.2d 618 (2005), and People v. Ballard, 206 Ill.2d 151, 202-05, 276 Ill.Dec. 538, 794 N.E.2d 788 (2002). Defendant raises no new arguments in this respect, and we decline to revisit the We find in defe......
  • People v. White, No. 109689.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • September 26, 2011
    ...has been called upon to address whether the sixth amendment right to counsel had attached at the time of a lineup. See People v. Ballard, 206 Ill.2d 151, 171–75, 276 Ill.Dec. 538, 794 N.E.2d 788 (2002); People v. Garrett, 179 Ill.2d 239, 246–51, 227 Ill.Dec. 921, 688 N.E.2d 614 (1997). Seco......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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