People v. Brown, No. 1-86-3448

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtEGAN
Citation199 Ill.App.3d 860,145 Ill.Dec. 841,557 N.E.2d 611
Decision Date08 June 1990
Docket NumberNo. 1-86-3448
Parties, 145 Ill.Dec. 841 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. James BROWN, Defendant-Appellant.

Page 611

557 N.E.2d 611
199 Ill.App.3d 860, 145 Ill.Dec. 841
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
James BROWN, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 1-86-3448.
Appellate Court of Illinois,
First District, Sixth Division.
June 8, 1990.

Page 613

[199 Ill.App.3d 863] [145 Ill.Dec. 843] Randolph N. Stone, Public Defender of Cook County (Julia M. Gentile, of counsel), for defendant-appellant.

Cecil Al Partee, State's Atty. of Cook County (Inge Fryklund, Paul Gliatta and Catherine Bernard, of counsel), for plaintiff-appellee.

Justice EGAN delivered the opinion of the court:

After a bench trial the defendant, James Brown, was convicted of attempted murder, aggravated battery and aggravated battery of a child. The convictions were based on acts committed by the defendant against Natasha Gibbs (Natasha) beginning in November 1984 and continuing through January 1985. The judge merged the aggravated battery convictions with the attempted murder conviction and, after finding the defendant eligible for an extended term sentence, sentenced the defendant to 60 years imprisonment and to three years mandatory supervised release.

The defendant first contends that the evidence does not establish the element of intent to kill necessary to sustain a conviction of attempted[199 Ill.App.3d 864] murder. A comparatively detailed recitation of the evidence is required.

The defendant was almost 26 years old; he was six feet, five inches tall; he was unemployed. Victoria Gibbs (Gibbs), the victim's mother, was approximately 24 or 25 years old; she was five feet, one inch tall and weighed 89 pounds.

The defendant first met Victoria Gibbs in 1983. She and her three children, Latoya, Anthony and Natasha, moved into the apartment of his friends at 1121 South Mozart in Chicago. The defendant lived with her. Also living in the apartment were Lily Brawner and her boyfriend, Wilbur Page, Jr.; Lily's two sons, Laverick and Walter Brawner, and Walter's girlfriend, Shirley McLaurin.

The defendant, Gibbs and her children occupied one bedroom in the back of the apartment. She and the defendant shared a bed while the children slept on a mattress on the floor of their bedroom. They ate in the bedroom.

In November 1984 the Gibbs children were all strong and healthy. However, Gibbs, who was five months pregnant, suffered from morning sickness and anemia. Latoya was five years old; Anthony was two and one-half years old; Natasha was approximately 16 months old.

Page 614

[145 Ill.Dec. 844] The defendant called himself the "boss" and "ran everything" within the household. He disciplined and punished the children and beat them for wetting their clothes. He used to force Latoya and Anthony to stand in opposite corners of the room on one foot from one-half hour to two hours at a time. He would hit Latoya but not as hard as he hit Anthony. He would whip Anthony with a belt whenever Anthony was unable to stand on one foot for the required length of time. He would strike Anthony with his fist and hit him in the chest as hard as he could; Anthony would fall back onto the dresser. The defendant would also whip Anthony with his belt and strike him on the head with it.

Walter Brawner testified that the defendant beat Gibbs and the children all the time; he beat Gibbs every day. He slapped her and hit her in the eye and mouth with both his fists and open hand. He left hand prints on her face and bruises on her back. He would jump on her even though she was pregnant and tried to make her stand in the corner like the children. On another occasion he tied her hands behind her back and struck her repeatedly in the face with a wire clothes-hanger.

The defendant insisted on feeding Natasha. Although Gibbs fed Latoya and Anthony, the defendant would not let her feed Natasha; he beat Gibbs when she did feed Natasha. Because Natasha would not [199 Ill.App.3d 865] eat all the time, he force-fed her. He would grab Natasha off the floor, throw her down, place his left hand on the top of her head, yank her head back, put the food on the spoon and then, while her head was back, force her to eat. When Natasha would not eat, the defendant would get angry and throw her down; Natasha would cry or just lie there. He fed her in this manner each day.

Laverick Brawner testified that the defendant would put his hand on the top of Natasha's head and bend it approximately to her back. While her head was still back, he would take the hand that he placed on the top of her head and place it underneath her jaw. Then he would place his hand on either side of her cheeks and squeeze, causing her lips to purse. He would take a large spoon of food and put it inside her mouth. If she spit out the food, the defendant would slap her with an open hand across the face and knock her down. She would get up, and the defendant would try again, using the same method. He whipped Natasha with a belt on her arms and legs whenever she would spit out the food. After each whipping, he would try to feed her more. When she started to cry, the defendant threw her down on the mattress on the floor in their bedroom and closed the door.

He also assumed the responsibility for Natasha's toilet training. He grabbed her every morning, threw her down on the training toilet in the bedroom and told her she should not move. When she would try to get up, he would tie her to the training toilet. He tied her hands to the arms of the toilet chair with an extension cord; he used a belt around her waist so that she could be tied down completely; and he tied both her feet together with wire or shoestrings so that she was unable to get up. He made her sit there for an hour or two; he would just let her sit there and cry. If she tried to get up, he struck her repeatedly with his hand across her face and back. On one occasion he struck her in the face with a wet towel two or three times.

From November 1984 until January 1985, he tossed Natasha into the air several times a day. At times her head would actually hit the ceiling. He would either catch her on descent or he would allow her to fall to the mattress on the floor. On one occasion, Shirley McLaurin saw the defendant throw Natasha up to the ceiling a couple of times; Natasha's head hit the ceiling twice. Then the defendant shook her violently so that her head and feet were jerked backward and forward. On another occasion, Laverick Brawner saw the defendant throw Natasha up three or four times and heard her head hit the ceiling each time. The defendant caught her every time except the last time when he allowed her to fall, face first, to the mattress on the floor.

Page 615

[145 Ill.Dec. 845] He also whipped Natasha's legs and arms with a belt. According [199 Ill.App.3d 866] to Shirley McLaurin, Natasha did not act right after the defendant started whipping her. On one occasion about two weeks after the defendant and Gibbs moved in, the defendant struck Natasha in the face with an open hand two or three times, causing her to fall to the floor. Then the defendant walked away as she lay crying on the floor. On another occasion in late December or early January, the defendant whipped her with a belt, striking her any place the belt would land. On two or three occasions, the defendant hit Natasha across the face with the end of the belt.

Whenever Gibbs objected to the defendant's treatment of Natasha, he threatened her and knocked her around. He hit her every time she attempted to feed Natasha or to untie her from the training toilet.

By January 1985, Natasha was in a weakened condition. She could neither stand nor walk without holding onto the walls. When she first came to the Mozart apartment, she was a healthy baby. She smiled and laughed all the time; she was playful; she walked and talked and ate normally; however, she did not act right after the defendant started whipping her. In January 1985 she would not talk, play, smile or laugh; she would not eat well. About the last week before her hospitalization her face began to twitch involuntarily.

On January 20, 1985, Walter saw the defendant throw Natasha into the air; Natasha struck her head on the ceiling with such force that "everything was bunched up." She looked like she was hurting. On one of the occasions that the defendant threw Natasha into the air, he allowed her to fall from the ceiling to the wooden floor ten feet below.

After being force-fed, Natasha went limp and she could not sit up right; she could not support herself; she would not even cry. The defendant responded by shaking her violently above the shoulders; her head went all the way back, back and forth. She was weak and began changing colors; she was gasping for breath.

On January 23, 1985, the defendant again force-fed Natasha and tied her to the training toilet. On January 24, Natasha stopped breathing. Gibbs telephoned the paramedics, and the defendant attempted to revive Natasha. He brought her into the bathroom where he threw water on her, slapped her face, pressed down on her chest and attempted to give her artificial respiration. Gibbs called for medical assistance, and paramedics took Natasha to Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Before the paramedics arrived, the defendant instructed Gibbs to tell the doctors that her son, Anthony, had jumped on Natasha. At the hospital he again told her to tell the doctors that Anthony had jumped [199 Ill.App.3d 867] on Natasha. He threatened to harm Gibbs and her children if she did not follow his instructions. He also told the other persons who lived in the apartment either to deny knowing the cause of Natasha's injuries or to say that Anthony jumped off the bed onto Natasha.

On January 25 Natasha was transferred to Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital. She was diagnosed as suffering from a functional severing of the spinal cord which resulted from a severe bruising, contusion and swelling of the cord. She was deprived of all muscle control below the neck, including a complete loss of the...

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21 practice notes
  • People v. Illgen, No. 71151
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • November 21, 1991
    ...a clear abuse of discretion. (People v. Franklin (1990), 135 Ill.2d 78, 96, 142 Ill.Dec. 152, 552 N.E.2d 743; People v. Brown (1990), 199 Ill.App.3d 860, 145 Ill.Dec. 841, 557 N.E.2d 611; People v. Kimbrough (1985), 138 Ill.App.3d 481, 93 Ill.Dec. 82, 485 N.E.2d 1292.) Such an abuse of disc......
  • People v. Charles, No. 1-87-3614
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • November 30, 1992
    ...intent for one crime increases the probability that defendant also acted deliberately in the second crime. People v. Brown (1990), 199 Ill.App.3d 860, 875, 145 Ill.Dec. 841, 557 N.E.2d 611; see also Commonwealth v. Donahue (1988), 519 Pa. 532, 549 A.2d 121 ("It is merely a matter of probabi......
  • Hatchett v. W2X, Inc., Docket No. 1–12–1758.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • August 21, 2013
    ...of mistake or accident.” Ill. R. Evid. 404(b) (eff.Jan.1, 2011). Through the so-called doctrine of chances (see People v. Brown, 199 Ill.App.3d 860, 875, 145 Ill.Dec. 841, 557 N.E.2d 611, 621 (1990)), the ARDC complaint serves as strong proof of Attorney Gaston's intent, knowledge, and abse......
  • People v. Aguilar, No. 3-93-0777
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • July 15, 1994
    ...sound discretion of the trial judge and will not be overturned unless a clear abuse of discretion is shown. (People v. Brown (1990), 199 Ill.App.3d 860, 145 Ill.Dec. 841, 557 N.E.2d 611.) However, it has also been stated that, although a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress evidence......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
21 cases
  • People v. Illgen, No. 71151
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • November 21, 1991
    ...a clear abuse of discretion. (People v. Franklin (1990), 135 Ill.2d 78, 96, 142 Ill.Dec. 152, 552 N.E.2d 743; People v. Brown (1990), 199 Ill.App.3d 860, 145 Ill.Dec. 841, 557 N.E.2d 611; People v. Kimbrough (1985), 138 Ill.App.3d 481, 93 Ill.Dec. 82, 485 N.E.2d 1292.) Such an abuse of disc......
  • People v. Charles, No. 1-87-3614
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • November 30, 1992
    ...intent for one crime increases the probability that defendant also acted deliberately in the second crime. People v. Brown (1990), 199 Ill.App.3d 860, 875, 145 Ill.Dec. 841, 557 N.E.2d 611; see also Commonwealth v. Donahue (1988), 519 Pa. 532, 549 A.2d 121 ("It is merely a matter of probabi......
  • Hatchett v. W2X, Inc., Docket No. 1–12–1758.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • August 21, 2013
    ...of mistake or accident.” Ill. R. Evid. 404(b) (eff.Jan.1, 2011). Through the so-called doctrine of chances (see People v. Brown, 199 Ill.App.3d 860, 875, 145 Ill.Dec. 841, 557 N.E.2d 611, 621 (1990)), the ARDC complaint serves as strong proof of Attorney Gaston's intent, knowledge, and abse......
  • People v. Aguilar, No. 3-93-0777
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • July 15, 1994
    ...sound discretion of the trial judge and will not be overturned unless a clear abuse of discretion is shown. (People v. Brown (1990), 199 Ill.App.3d 860, 145 Ill.Dec. 841, 557 N.E.2d 611.) However, it has also been stated that, although a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress evidence......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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