People v. Collins, No. 55659

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtRYAN; CLARK; SIMON; SIMON
Citation106 Ill.2d 237,478 N.E.2d 267,87 Ill.Dec. 910
Docket NumberNo. 55659
Decision Date22 February 1985
Parties, 87 Ill.Dec. 910 PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Roger COLLINS et al., Appellants.

Page 267

478 N.E.2d 267
106 Ill.2d 237, 87 Ill.Dec. 910
PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee,
v.
Roger COLLINS et al., Appellants.
No. 55659.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
Feb. 22, 1985.
Rehearing Denied May 31, 1985.

Page 271

[106 Ill.2d 250] [87 Ill.Dec. 914] Richard M. Daley, State's Atty., Cook County, Chicago (Michael E. Shabat, James S. Veldman, Asst. State's Attys., Chicago, of counsel), Neil F. Hartigan, Atty. Gen.,

Page 272

[87 Ill.Dec. 915] Mark L. Rotert, Asst. Atty. Gen., Chicago, for appellee.

Steven Clark, Deputy State Appellate Defender, Chicago, for appellants.

RYAN, Justice:

The defendants, Roger Collins and William Bracey, were indicted along with Murray Hooper for the armed robbery (Ill.Rev.Stat.1979, ch. 38, par. 18-2), aggravated kidnapping (Ill.Rev.Stat.1979, ch. 38, par. 10-2(a)(3)), and murder (Ill.Rev.Stat.1979, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)(1)), of Frederick Lacey, R.C. Pettigrew and Richard Holliman. Hooper was tried separately and is not a party to this appeal. Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, the defendants were found guilty of each offense. A two-stage sentencing hearing was held where the same jury found the existence of statutory aggravating factors and concluded that there were no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude imposition of the death penalty. As a result, the trial court sentenced the defendants to death. The sentence was stayed (87 Ill.2d R. 609(a) ), pending direct appeal to this court (Ill. Const.1970, art. VI, sec. 4(b); 87 Ill.2d R. 603). The trial court also imposed on each defendant concurrent 60-year prison sentences for the armed-robbery and aggravated-kidnapping convictions.

On November 12, 1980, sometime after 10 p.m., Frederick Lacey, R.C. Pettigrew and Richard Holliman [106 Ill.2d 251] were taken from apartment 206 at 2240 South State Street in Chicago, placed in a red Oldsmobile, and driven to a viaduct at Roosevelt Road and Clark Street, where they were shot to death. Police officers investigating at the scene found Lacey lying on the ground on the driver's side of the automobile. Pettigrew was lying partially under the right front bumper with pieces of rope and cloth tied around his right wrist. Three expended shotgun shells were found near his body. Holliman was discovered in the back seat, his hands bound with cloth. The record shows that Lacey had been shot in the back of the head. Pettigrew, in addition to being shot in the face, chest and leg, had four shotgun wounds in his back. Holliman had been shot three times in the chest and once in the back of the neck.

The chief prosecution witness was Morris Nellum, who admittedly took part in the crimes. To secure his testimony, the State agreed to recommend a sentence of three years in protective custody in exchange for Nellum's guilty plea to three counts of concealing a homicidal death. The State also agreed to relocate his family.

As to the events which occurred on the night of November 12, 1980, Nellum testified as follows. He was with his girlfriend, Regina Parker, at her apartment at 2222 South State Street. At approximately 9:30 p.m., Collins came to the apartment and asked him to go to apartment 206 at 2240 South State, saying he had something he wanted Nellum to take care of. Nellum went to that location, arriving approximately 10 minutes later. In one of the bedrooms he observed Collins, Bracey, Hooper, and three men he did not recognize. Two of the men, later identified as Pettigrew and Holliman, were on the bed with their hands bound. The third, later identified as Lacey, was standing at the side of the bed. Collins asked Nellum to drive his (Collins') brown Cadillac to Roosevelt Road and Clark Street because "[Collins] [106 Ill.2d 252] was going to drop some people off, leave them tied up and he wanted me to pick him up." Nellum took Collins' keys and went to the parking lot outside the building where Collins' Cadillac was parked. He observed Collins, wearing a wide-brim hat, Bracey, Hooper, and the three victims emerge from the building and walk to the red Oldsmobile. The three victims were placed in the rear seat; Collins and Hooper got in the front seat, with Collins driving. Bracey meanwhile went to his own automobile, which was parked nearby. After the two vehicles departed, Nellum waited a few minutes, as instructed, and then followed. As he approached the viaduct at Roosevelt Road and Clark Street, he heard a series of shots. Immediately thereafter, he saw Bracey, carrying a sawed-off shotgun, and Hooper run to Bracey's automobile. Collins

Page 273

[87 Ill.Dec. 916] got in his own car alongside Nellum. As they sped from the scene, Collins said: "That damn Hooper. I told him to wait until--I wanted to use the shotgun because they can't trace the shotgun, but he used the gun instead." According to Nellum, the two vehicles returned to the parking lot at 2240 South State, where Bracey gave him $125 and told him "Just be cool." Nellum then drove with Collins to 31st Street and Lake Michigan, where Collins threw two handguns into the lake. Nellum identified a .38-caliber Charter Arms revolver and a .357 Rugger revolver as the weapons that were thrown in the lake.

On cross-examination Nellum testified that he did not know the reason for the killings but that he went along for "a piece of the action." He also testified that about two months after the murders Hooper told him that $1,800 had been taken from the victims. His credibility was weakened by his admission that he lies when he has to, although he stated that his testimony and statements to the police had been truthful. Yet, he admitted he lied to the police concerning the location of the two handguns. [106 Ill.2d 253] Following his arrest, Nellum denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of the weapons. Three weeks prior to trial, however, he directed the authorities to 31st Street and Lake Michigan, where the guns were recovered by divers. Nellum also testified that he decided to cooperate after prosecutors informed him they would not charge him with murder, but would instead recommend a three-year sentence in exchange for his guilty plea to three counts of concealing a homicidal death.

Under further cross-examination, Nellum denied knowing the victim Lacey and said he could not recall ever having his picture taken with him. The defendants, however, introduced into evidence a series of photographs taken in August of 1980 which showed Nellum and Lacey together with a number of other individuals.

Daretha Redmond testified that she lived in a first-floor apartment at 2240 South State. Sometime after 10 p.m. on the night of the murders, she saw a group of about five men, two of whom appeared to be tied, walk past her living room window. Approximately one month later, she was questioned by the police and shown about 40 photographs. Redmond testified she identified photographs of Collins, Nellum and Hooper as resembling men that were in the group. She further testified that the man leading the group wore a wide-brim hat and that he could have been Collins.

On cross-examination Redmond stated she had never seen Bracey before. She also stated that because she did not see the face of the man who was leading the group, she could not say for certain that she saw Collins on the night of the murders.

Laverne Lyles testified that in November 1980 she lived in a fifth-floor apartment at 2240 South State. On the evening of November 12, she went grocery shopping with two friends, returning to the parking lot of her [106 Ill.2d 254] building around 10 p.m. Lyles testified she went to her apartment to get a shopping cart for her groceries. As she walked downstairs, she saw Collins on the second-floor landing wearing a "Spanish type" hat and a long, maroon or burnt-orange leather coat. According to Lyles, Collins was on the apartment side of the stairway door and was closing the door as she approached. Lyles stated she went to her automobile and as she was unloading her groceries from the trunk, she observed three men come out of the building and walk toward the parking lot. One of the men, she said, had his hands tied and had a long handkerchief hanging from his mouth. Lyles further testified that she identified a photograph of Bracey as the man in the lead and a photograph of Pettigrew as the man with his hands bound. She could not identify the third man. She also identified a photograph of Collins wearing a wide-brim hat and said it was the same hat he was wearing when she saw him on the second-floor landing.

Christina Nowell told the jury that she first met defendant Bracey in May of 1980 at the King Midas Lounge in Chicago. In late August, Bracey came to her home, and

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[87 Ill.Dec. 917] she showed him a .38-caliber Charter Arms revolver which she kept in her bedroom. Nowell stated she went to the basement for a short time, leaving Bracey in the room alone. The following day she discovered that her gun was missing. Nowell further testified that, in early September 1980, she was at the King Midas Lounge with Bracey; that a man and woman came to their table; that the woman gave Bracey a brown paper bag containing a sawed-off shotgun; and that Bracey "broke down" the gun and gave it to William Lane, an employee of the lounge, who put the weapon behind the bar.

On November 25, 1980, she was again at the lounge with Bracey and asked him when he was going to return [106 Ill.2d 255] her revolver. Nowell testified an argument ensued during which Bracey threatened to have her "wasted." He then told her "he had murdered some people with [her gun] and threw it in the Chicago River."

The evidence also showed that on December 30, 1980, police officers conducting a search of apartment 206 at 2240 South State found two pieces of rope in a bedroom closet. An expert from the Chicago Police Department Crime Laboratory testified that one of the pieces had the same characteristics as the rope found on...

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2417 practice notes
  • People v. Phillips, No. 86-2711
    • United States
    • Illinois Appellate Court
    • March 10, 1989
    ...fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." (Emphasis added.) (People v. Collins (1985), 106 Ill.2d 237, 261, 87 Ill.Dec. 910, 919, 478 N.E.2d 267, 276, citing Jackson v. Virginia (1979), 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2789, 61 Page 1245 [13......
  • People v. Boling, No. 4–12–0634.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 12, 2014
    ...principle that weighing the credibility of witnesses is within the exclusive province of the jury. See, e.g., People v. Collins, 106 Ill.2d 237, 261–62, 87 Ill.Dec. 910, 478 N.E.2d 267, 277 (1985).¶ 124 D. The Prosecutor's Personal Opinion on K.A.'s Credibility ¶ 125 Defendant's final conte......
  • People v. Gosier, No. 69277
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • September 19, 1991
    ...will not interfere with his decision unless[145 Ill.2d 157] there has been a clear abuse of discretion." (People v. Collins (1985), 106 Ill.2d 237, 281, 87 Ill.Dec. 910, 478 N.E.2d 267.) It is not easy to determine when a trial court has abused its discretion in granting or denying a c......
  • People of The State of Ill. v. STRAWBRIDGE, No. 2-08-0701.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • September 9, 2010
    ...298 N.E.2d 705 (1973). The mere suspicion that a juror is biased is insufficient to warrant disqualifying a juror. People v. Collins, 106 Ill.2d 237, 274, 87 Ill.Dec. 910, 478 N.E.2d 267 (1985). The question of whether a particular juror is impartial is for the trial court to answer in the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2420 cases
  • People v. Phillips, No. 86-2711
    • United States
    • Illinois Appellate Court
    • March 10, 1989
    ...of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." (Emphasis added.) (People v. Collins (1985), 106 Ill.2d 237, 261, 87 Ill.Dec. 910, 919, 478 N.E.2d 267, 276, citing Jackson v. Virginia (1979), 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2789, 61 Page 1245 [130 ......
  • People v. Boling, No. 4–12–0634.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 12, 2014
    ...principle that weighing the credibility of witnesses is within the exclusive province of the jury. See, e.g., People v. Collins, 106 Ill.2d 237, 261–62, 87 Ill.Dec. 910, 478 N.E.2d 267, 277 (1985).¶ 124 D. The Prosecutor's Personal Opinion on K.A.'s Credibility ¶ 125 Defendant's final conte......
  • People v. Gosier, No. 69277
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • September 19, 1991
    ...court will not interfere with his decision unless[145 Ill.2d 157] there has been a clear abuse of discretion." (People v. Collins (1985), 106 Ill.2d 237, 281, 87 Ill.Dec. 910, 478 N.E.2d 267.) It is not easy to determine when a trial court has abused its discretion in granting or denying a ......
  • People of The State of Ill. v. STRAWBRIDGE, No. 2-08-0701.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • September 9, 2010
    ...298 N.E.2d 705 (1973). The mere suspicion that a juror is biased is insufficient to warrant disqualifying a juror. People v. Collins, 106 Ill.2d 237, 274, 87 Ill.Dec. 910, 478 N.E.2d 267 (1985). The question of whether a particular juror is impartial is for the trial court to answer in the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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