People v. Mahaffey

Decision Date20 April 1989
Docket Number61822,No. 61821,61821
Citation128 Ill.2d 388,539 N.E.2d 1172,132 Ill.Dec. 366
Parties, 132 Ill.Dec. 366 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Jerry MAHAFFEY, Appellant. The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Reginald MAHAFFEY, Appellant.
CourtIllinois Supreme Court

Paul P. Biebel, Jr., and Randolph N. Stone, Public Defenders, Chicago (Donald S. Honchell, Asst. Public Defender, of counsel), for appellant.

Neil F. Hartigan, Atty. Gen., Springfield, and Richard M. Daly, State's Atty., Chicago (Terence M. Madsen, Asst. Atty. Gen., Chicago, and Kenneth T. McCurry, Kevin Sweeney, Renee G. Goldfarb and Inge Fryklund, Asst. State's Attys., of counsel), for the People.

Chief Justice THOMAS J. MORAN delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendants, Jerry Mahaffey (Jerry) and Reginald Mahaffey (Reginald), were indicted by a Cook County grand jury for the murders of Dean and Jo Ellen Pueschel, and the attempted murder of Richard Pueschel. Defendants were charged as follows in connection with the deaths of Dean and Jo Ellen Pueschel: intentional murder, knowing murder, and felony murder based on residential burglary, home invasion and armed robbery (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(a)(1), (a)(2) (respectively)); residential burglary based on theft and armed robbery (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 19-3); home invasion (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 12-11(a)(2)); armed robbery (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 18-2(a)); armed violence premised on knowing murder (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 33A-2); and theft (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 16-1(a)). In connection with the death of Jo Ellen Pueschel, defendants were also charged with felony murder based on rape and deviate sexual assault (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)(3)); rape (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 11-1(a)); deviate sexual assault (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 11-3(a)); and armed violence premised on rape and deviate sexual assault (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 33A-2). In connection with the assault on Richard Pueschel, defendants were charged as follows: attempted murder (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 8-4); aggravated battery (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 12-4(a)); aggravated battery premised on use of a deadly weapon (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 12-4(b)(1)); aggravated battery of a child (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 12-4.3(a)); home invasion (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 12-11(a)(2)); armed violence based on attempted murder (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 33A-2); and armed violence premised on aggravated battery (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 33A-2). All of the armed violence counts were dismissed on the State's motion. The defendants were tried jointly before the same jury on each of the remaining counts. At the conclusion of the State's case in chief, the trial court granted Jerry's motion for a directed verdict on the deviate sexual assault charge. At the conclusion of all of the evidence, the jury found Reginald not guilty of deviate sexual assault, but found both defendants guilty of all remaining charges. The State requested a hearing to consider whether the death penalty should be imposed. (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 9-1(d).) The jury which convicted the defendants also sat at the sentencing phase. The jury found defendants eligible for the death penalty, and found there were no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude imposition of the death penalty. The defendants' death sentences were stayed (107 Ill.2d R. 609(a)), pending direct appeal to this court (Ill. Const.1970, art. VI, § 4(b); 107 Ill.2d R. 603). This court consolidated the defendants' appeals after oral arguments in these cases.

On April 30, 1986, while defendants' appeals were pending in this court, the United States Supreme Court filed its opinion in Batson v. Kentucky (1986), 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69. The Court held that a defendant may rely solely on evidence concerning the selection of the jury at his own trial to establish that a prosecutor has unconstitutionally exercised peremptory challenges against potential jurors solely on account of race. (Batson, 476 U.S. at 95, 106 S.Ct. at 1722, 90 L.Ed.2d at 87.) The court subsequently held that Batson was retroactively applicable to all cases pending on direct review when the decision was announced. Griffith v. Kentucky (1987), 479 U.S. 314, 328, 661, 107 S.Ct. 708, 716, 93 L.Ed.2d 649.

In light of the Batson and Griffith decisions, this court issued supervisory orders in these cases on October 26, 1987. In those orders, we retained jurisdiction of these causes and directed the trial court to conduct an expedited hearing to permit the defendants to present evidence to substantiate their claim of unconstitutional discrimination in the exercise of peremptory challenges. Our supervisory order also stated that if the trial court found that a prima facie showing of such discrimination had been made, it should then determine whether or not there is a neutral explanation by the State for the exercise of the questioned peremptory challenges. The court conducted the hearing on November 30, 1987, and found that defendants had failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination.

On return of the cases to this court, defendants raise numerous issues alleging errors at all stages of the proceedings. The issues we must address as to Jerry are: (1) whether the trial court erred in finding that Jerry failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination under Batson; (2) whether the trial court erred in excusing a venireman for cause without further inquiry into her sentiments regarding the death penalty; (3) whether the trial court erred in admitting Richard Pueschel's in-court identification of Jerry as one of the perpetrators of the crimes; (4) whether a comment made by Jo Ellen Pueschel's mother from the gallery during the redirect examination of Reginald denied Jerry a fair trial and a fair sentencing hearing; (5) whether some of the prosecutor's remarks during trial and closing argument had the effect of shifting the burden of proof to Jerry and undermined the presumption of his innocence; (6) whether the State failed to prove the corpus delicti of the rape; (7) whether the prosecutor's remarks during the sentencing phase sought to minimize the jury's responsibility for determining the appropriateness of death, in violation of Caldwell v. Mississippi (1985), 472 U.S. 320, 105 S.Ct. 2633, 86 L.Ed.2d 231; (8) whether the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury that if it failed to sentence Jerry to death, the court would sentence him to a term of natural life; (9) whether the trial court erred in holding a joint death penalty hearing; and (10) whether Jerry's death sentence is excessive given his "light criminal background." Jerry also asks that we reconsider our prior cases upholding the constitutionality of the Illinois death penalty statute.

Reginald raises the same issues as does Jerry. Reginald raises four additional issues: (1) whether the trial court erred in failing to grant a severance because the admission of Jerry's confession implicating Reginald in the crimes denied him his right to confront witnesses; (2) whether the trial court erred in finding Reginald fit to proceed at trial without requiring a full examination of him; (3) whether the trial court erred in admitting a medical record as past recollection recorded during his pretrial suppression hearing; and (4) whether the trial court erred in denying Reginald's motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence. Because we hold that the trial court erred in failing to grant a severance, and conclude that Reginald's case must be remanded for a new trial, we need not address the other issues raised in his brief. We therefore limit our recitation of the testimony introduced at the guilt and sentencing phases to only those facts which are relevant to the issues raised by Jerry.

The record reveals that on the morning of August 29, 1983, Joseph Heinrich found the dead bodies of his daughter, Jo Ellen Pueschel, and his son-in-law, Dean Pueschel, in the Pueschel home. Mr. Heinrich found his grandson, Richard Pueschel, severely beaten and wandering near the alley by the family home. Several items were missing from the Pueschel home, including: a .357 Magnum revolver; a Zenith video recorder and several videotapes; an Atari video game console and seven game cartridges; several items of jewelry belonging to all three victims; and the Pueschels' 1982 red Chevrolet Camaro.

Eleven-year-old Richard Pueschel testified that during the late evening of August 28, or the early morning of August 29, 1983, he awoke to find himself in a headlock. He heard two separate voices tell him to "shut up and be cool." Richard further testified that he either fell back asleep or was knocked out, and later woke up and walked into the kitchen "in a daze." Once in the kitchen, he was told to lie on the floor next to his mother. Richard testified that while he was lying on the floor, he could see his mother lying on the floor next to him out of the corner of his eye. He stated that he could see she was being struck. He could not remember what happened to him at that time. At the conclusion of his direct testimony, Richard identified both defendants as being the two men who were in his home that night. On cross-examination, Richard admitted that he had been unable to identify the defendants in a line-up conducted while he was being hospitalized for his wounds, and denied having seen the defendants' pictures in the newspaper. Richard further testified that he had described the assailants to Detective Ryan of the Chicago police department. He described one assailant as being 5 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 11 inches in height, medium build, weighing between 160 to 180 pounds, wearing a medium afro, possibly having a scar on his left cheek. He described the other assailant as...

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