People v. Kidd

Decision Date19 December 1996
Docket NumberNo. 76490,76490
Citation675 N.E.2d 910,175 Ill.2d 1,221 Ill.Dec. 486
Parties, 221 Ill.Dec. 486 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Leonard KIDD, Appellant.
CourtIllinois Supreme Court

Rehearing Denied Feb. 3, 1997.

Rita A. Fry, Public Defender, Chicago (Andrea Monsees, Assistant Public Defender, of counsel), for appellant.

James E. Ryan, Attorney General, Springfield, and Jack O'Malley, State's Attorney, Chicago (Arleen C. Anderson, Assistant Attorney General, Chicago, and Renee G. Goldfarb and Sally L. Dilgart, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

Justice MILLER delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, the defendant, Leonard Kidd, was convicted of four counts of murder, one count of armed robbery, one count of aggravated arson, and four counts of concealment of a homicidal death. At a separate sentencing hearing, the same jury found the defendant eligible for the death penalty and further determined that there were no mitigating circumstances sufficient to preclude imposition of that sentence. The defendant was accordingly sentenced to death for the murder convictions, and he received sentences of imprisonment for the remaining convictions. The 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). For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court, as modified.

The defendant previously pleaded guilty to these charges and was sentenced to death at that time. In an earlier appeal, this court found the defendant's plea to be defective because of improper admonitions given to the defendant at the plea hearing, and accordingly vacated his convictions and death sentence. People v. Kidd, 129 Ill.2d 432, 136 Ill.Dec. 18, 544 N.E.2d 704 (1989). The case then proceeded to trial on remand.

The present offenses were discovered on January 12, 1983, when investigators responding to the report of a fire found the bodies of three adults, Renee Coleman, Michelle Jointer, and Ricardo Pedro, and one child, Renee's son Anthony, in an apartment at 1553 West 91st Street in Chicago, where Coleman lived with her son and Jointer. The victims were bound and gagged, and they had been stabbed repeatedly. Two separate fires had been set inside the apartment. Following an investigation, the defendant and his half-brother, Leroy Orange, were taken into custody and charged with these offenses. Their trials were severed at an early stage in the proceedings.

In the proceedings below, the State presented extensive evidence of the defendant's involvement in these crimes. Because the defendant does not challenge the sufficiency of the State's proof of his guilt, only a brief recitation of the trial evidence is necessary here; additional evidence will be summarized as it becomes relevant to the discussion of specific issues. The defendant made a series of statements to police after he was arrested, and these were introduced into evidence at trial. The defendant initially told officers that he and his brother, Leroy Orange, were at Coleman's apartment on the night of the murders. The defendant said, however, that he had left there around 4:30 in the morning, when Orange began arguing with Ricardo Pedro. The defendant explained that he decided to leave when the confrontation turned violent. The defendant said that before he could do so, however, "two dudes" entered the apartment; both of them had knives. The defendant remained outside the building, and he said that he later saw the two men leave; one was wearing a jacket covered with blood. At that time, the defendant gave inconsistent accounts of the identities of the two men he had seen; at one point, the defendant said that one was named "Slick Rick." After the defendant made that statement, police brought Leroy Orange into the room where the defendant was being interrogated. Orange told the defendant that he had already admitted committing the murders and, further, had told authorities that there was no "Slick Rick."

The defendant gave police a second statement later that evening. In the second statement, the defendant said that he was at the Sportsman's Lounge at 79th and Halsted Streets during the evening of January 11, 1983. Around 10:30 Orange and Renee Coleman arrived, and they later took the defendant to the defendant's residence, where the defendant gave them a combination TV/radio "box." The defendant then returned alone to the Sportsman's Lounge. He went back home some time later, where he received a telephone call from Orange around 12:30 a.m. Orange said that he was having "a problem with a stud," and the defendant then went to Coleman's apartment. The defendant said that Orange and Pedro later began fighting, and Orange stabbed Pedro. The defendant attempted to help Pedro into one of the bedrooms in the apartment. Sometime later according to the defendant, Orange stabbed Pedro again. Orange also forced Coleman to tie up her son, and Orange bound and gagged Coleman and Jointer and stabbed the victims.

The defendant repeated many of the preceding details in a formal statement he gave several hours later in the presence of a court reporter. While in custody, the defendant also led police to various garbage cans near Coleman's apartment where the knives used in the attack had been discarded. The defendant also showed the officers where other evidence, including drug paraphernalia, clothing, and burnt debris, had been left.

At trial, the State also presented testimony given by the defendant at Leroy Orange's trial on these charges, and at the defendant's own sentencing hearing, conducted following the defendant's earlier guilty plea. At Orange's trial, the defendant claimed that he alone committed the murders and maintained that he stabbed the victims when Orange was not present. The defendant, in the testimony he gave at his sentencing hearing, again said that he alone committed the crimes. On that occasion, however, the defendant also mentioned that he saw red things coming at him when he stabbed the victims.

Defense counsel introduced into evidence Orange's own inculpatory statement to authorities. In that statement, Orange claimed sole responsibility for the crimes. The defendant also presented the testimony of Dr. Linda Wetzel, a clinical psychologist, who had interviewed the defendant and given him various tests. Dr. Wetzel concluded, among other things, that the defendant was mentally retarded, had brain damage, and possessed a compliant nature.

At the close of evidence, the jury found the defendant guilty of the charges of murder, aggravated arson, armed robbery, and concealment of homicidal death. The matter then proceeded to a capital sentencing hearing. At the first stage of the sentencing hearing, the jury found the existence of three separate aggravating circumstances rendering the defendant eligible for the death penalty: the commission of multiple murders, murder in the course of a felony--armed robbery in this case--and murder of a child under 12 years of age in a brutal or heinous manner. Ill.Rev.Stat.1983, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(b)(3), (b)(6), (b)(7).

At the second stage of the sentencing hearing, the State presented testimony of the defendant's lengthy record of misconduct, occurring inside and outside prison. The defendant had incurred a substantial number of disciplinary tickets for his infractions while incarcerated. On a number of occasions the defendant threatened prison personnel and other inmates. In one incident, the defendant struck a handcuffed inmate on the head three times with an unopened can of food that was concealed inside a sock. In mitigation, the defendant presented the testimony of Dr. George Savarese, a licensed social worker, who had compiled a comprehensive social history of the defendant. In preparing that report, Dr. Savarese interviewed the defendant's family members and friends, and also reviewed a number of records and reports concerning the defendant. Dr. Savarese described the defendant's troubled childhood and history of drug use, as well as other aspects of the defendant's life. Following the consideration of evidence in aggravation and mitigation, the jury determined that there was no mitigating circumstance sufficient to preclude a sentence of death. Accordingly, the defendant was sentenced to death for the murder convictions.

The judge sentenced the defendant to consecutive terms of 30 years' imprisonment for the convictions for aggravated arson and armed robbery. The judge imposed terms of five years' imprisonment for each of the four convictions for concealment of a homicidal death. Those sentences were to run concurrently with each other but consecutively to the prison terms for aggravated arson and armed robbery.

I. Trial Issues
A

The defendant first argues that he was entitled to a fitness hearing under the rule announced in People v. Brandon, 162 Ill.2d 450, 205 Ill.Dec. 421, 643 N.E.2d 712 (1994), because he was taking "psychotropic drugs or other medications under medical direction" (725 ILCS 5/104-21(a) (West 1992)) at the time of the trial and sentencing hearing in this case. Specifically, the defendant asserts that he was then taking Dilantin, for treatment of epilepsy, and he further states that he had previously taken two other drugs, Tegretol, also for epilepsy, and Elavil, an antidepressant.

We note that the record discloses only that the defendant was receiving Dilantin at the time relevant here; evidence of his treatment may be found in the testimony of Dr. Wetzel, who related that the defendant was receiving the drug when she interviewed him shortly before trial. It appears that the defendant had epilepsy and that he took Dilantin as treatment for that condition. The State argues, however, that the special protection afforded by section 104-21(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 must be limited to...

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