People v. Brooks

Citation718 N.E.2d 88,240 Ill.Dec. 607,187 Ill.2d 91
Decision Date17 June 1999
Docket NumberNo. 81624.,81624.
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Terrence BROOKS, Appellant.
CourtSupreme Court of Illinois

718 N.E.2d 88
187 Ill.2d 91
240 Ill.Dec.

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee,
Terrence BROOKS, Appellant

No. 81624.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

June 17, 1999.

Rehearing Denied October 4, 1999.

187 Ill.2d 93
Charles Schiedel, Deputy Defender, Springfield, Steven Clark, Assistant Defender, Chicago, both of the Office of the State Appellate Defender, for Terrence Brooks

Richard A. Devine, State's Attorney, Chicago (Renee Goldfarb, Celeste Stewart Stack, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

Justice RATHJE delivered the opinion of the court:

On August 7, 1991, three members of the Gangster Disciples street gang were killed during two drive-by shootings in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. The shots that killed them were fired from a taxicab by members of a rival gang, the Black Disciples. The shootings were provoked by an earlier incident in which a member of the Gangster Disciples shot at the car of a Black Disciple. In connection with the incident, a grand jury indicted defendant, Terrence Brooks, for three counts of first degree murder (intentional) (Ill.Rev.Stat.1991, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)(1)), three counts of first degree murder (knowing) (Ill.Rev.Stat.1991, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)(2)), three counts of attempted first degree murder (Ill.Rev.Stat.1991, ch. 38, pars. 8-4(a), 9-1(a)), three counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder (Ill.Rev.Stat.1991, ch. 38, pars. 8-2(a), 9-1(a)(1)), and one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm (Ill.Rev.Stat.1991, ch. 38, par. 24-1.2(a)(2)). The State later nol-prossed the aggravated discharge of a firearm and conspiracy counts.

Defendant and a codefendant, Maurice Deloney, were tried in a bench trial that was conducted simultaneously with the jury trial of Ivan Smith and the severed bench trials of Javan Deloney and Curtis Milsap. The circuit court of Cook County found defendant guilty of six counts of first

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degree murder and three counts of attempted first degree murder. Defendant was convicted based upon the statements of several eyewitnesses. Following a sentencing hearing, a jury found no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude the death penalty. Accordingly, the court sentenced him to death. Defendant's execution has been stayed pending direct review by this court. Ill. Const.1970, art. VI, § 4(b); 134 Ill.2d Rs. 603, 609(a)


Prior to trial, defendant moved to suppress the identification testimony of three witnesses: Allen Epton,1 George Cruthard, and Brenda Hall. In his motions, defendant alleged that the police used unnecessarily suggestive procedures when seeking to elicit identifications from these witnesses. Defendant sought to suppress in court identifications as well as any testimony about photographic and lineup identifications. The following evidence was adduced at the hearings on the motions to suppress.

Allen Epton

Detective Daniel McWeeny of the Chicago police department testified that on August 7, 1991, he was assigned to investigate two shootings that occurred on Chicago's south side. McWeeny learned that one shooting occurred in the 500 block of 71st Street, and another occurred near 66th Street and Peoria Street. A taxicab had been sighted at both locations, and 9-millimeter shell casings were found at both places. A red Chrysler LeBaron was also involved in the shootings. Three victims were killed: John Coleman and Greg Archibald at 71st Street, and Rhenardo Bussle at Peoria Street.

McWeeny went to St. Bernard's Hospital to speak to Allen Epton, a victim who survived the 71st Street shooting. McWeeny first spoke to Epton at approximately 1:30 a.m. on August 8, 1991. Epton told McWeeny that he was with Coleman and Archibald on 71st Street and that shots were fired from a red LeBaron and a taxicab. This interview lasted only five minutes. McWeeny, accompanied by Detective Ptak, returned to the hospital at 11 a.m. McWeeny told Epton that he had spoken to Marcus Taylor, another Gangster Disciple, and had learned about the gang war between the Gangster Disciples and the Black Disciples. McWeeny also informed Epton that Archibald and Coleman were dead. After learning that his friends had died, Epton told the detectives that he would tell them what happened.

Epton told the detectives that he was a member of the Gangster Disciples. He had been standing on 71st Street the night before with two friends, Archibald and Coleman. A taxicab and a red LeBaron drove by, and shots were fired from both cars. Epton, Archibald, and Coleman were all shot. Epton said that the people in the cab were Black Disciples. The taxicab was driven by "Tojo." Epton believed that the LeBaron was sometimes driven by "Dada," but he did not see Dada in either of the cars. However, he did see two of Dada's relatives. One was nicknamed Pete, and both had the last name Deloney. The only other person Epton remembered seeing was Ollie Bays. Epton described the perpetrators as male blacks in their late teens or early twenties.

McWeeny later returned to the hospital with eight Polaroid photographs. Epton identified Maurice and Javan Deloney as participants in the 71st Street incident. McWeeny then spoke with Javan Deloney. Javan verified that he, Maurice, Tojo, and Ollie Bays were involved. He added that defendant and Curtis Milsap were also involved. McWeeny then took more photographs to Epton's room. One photo array was made up of six color photos and included defendant's picture.

187 Ill.2d 95
The other array was of nine black and white pictures and included pictures of Milsap and Bays. Epton identified defendant, Milsap, and Bays as being involved in the shooting. He identified defendant as one of the shooters. McWeeny later learned that "Tojo" was Ivan Smith. He added Smith's photo to the black and white photo array previously shown to Epton and asked Epton if he could identify anyone else. Epton identified Smith as the person he knew as Tojo. Shortly after Epton identified defendant from the photo lineup, defendant was arrested. Epton then identified defendant in a live lineup conducted by Detective James O'Brien. Defendant was the only person in the lineup whose photograph Epton had previously viewed

Allen Epton testified that he was one of the people who was shot on 71st Street. The police came to see him in the hospital, and he spoke to them several times before he was shown any photographs. Epton testified that defendant's photograph was among those he viewed in the hospital. Epton had not mentioned defendant to the police. Before August 7, 1991, he knew who defendant was, but only by the name "Terry." Epton denied naming any perpetrators before he looked at the photographs. When asked how the police showed him the photographs, Epton testified that the police emphasized defendant's picture. The police kept flipping through the pictures and stopping at defendant's picture while saying, "This is the person. Isn't this him?" Epton said that he knew defendant, but did not know if defendant was involved in the shooting. The police kept going back to defendant's picture and saying it was him. They did not emphasize any other pictures. Epton denied telling the police that defendant was involved in the crime.

The court declined to rule on the admissibility of Epton's identifications. The State argued that there was no identification to suppress because Epton denied making an identification. Defendant's attorney argued that the police testified that Epton did make an identification, so the court would have to rule on whether suggestive techniques rendered that identification inadmissible. The trial judge did not rule on the suggestiveness of the identification procedure, saying that it was a question for the trier of fact.

George Cruthard

George Cruthard testified that he was one of three persons shot at 6556 South Peoria at 10:50 p.m. on August 7, 1991. The others were Marcus Taylor and Rhenardo Bussle. Almost two years later, in June 1993, Cruthard was taken to view some photographs at the State's Attorney's office. An assistant State's Attorney, Michael Smith, was present, as well as two homicide detectives. Cruthard had been brought to the State's Attorney's office several times during the previous three or four months. He had spoken to Smith several times prior to viewing the photographs. During those visits, Smith told him, "We already know who shot you; Little Terrence shot you." Smith also told Cruthard that Tojo was involved in the incident. Cruthard knew that Tojo was Ivan Smith. Cruthard understood that "Little Terrence" or "Little Terry" referred to defendant. Cruthard identified defendant in court. He testified that Smith mentioned other names but that he did not remember them.

Cruthard identified the six photographs he was asked to look at in June 1993. One of the pictures was of defendant. Cruthard testified that he picked out that picture and identified it as being of defendant. He also picked Tojo's picture out of the photo array. On cross-examination, Cruthard testified that he had known defendant and Tojo for a number of years.

Detective Joseph Stehlik of the Chicago police department testified that he located Cruthard in the Cook County jail in June 1993. Stehlik found Cruthard there after he read in the paper that Cruthard was arrested for trying to bring several kilos of cocaine into Chicago. During an interview

187 Ill.2d 96
with Stehlik, Cruthard said that he witnessed the events of August 7, and that defendant and Ivan Smith were involved. Stehlik then showed Cruthard six photographs, and Cruthard picked out defendant and Ivan Smith. Stehlik identified the pictures that he showed to Cruthard.2

Brenda Hall

Brenda Hall testified that on April 1, 1993, she went to the State's Attorney's office with Detective Mike Kill. Assistant State's Attorney Mike Smith asked her to view some photographs that were lying on a table. Hall picked out photographs of Javan Deloney...

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