People v. Manzella, 45215

Citation306 N.E.2d 16,56 Ill.2d 187
Decision Date30 November 1973
Docket NumberNo. 45215,45215
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Phillip MANZELLA, Appellant.
CourtSupreme Court of Illinois

Harry J. Busch and Patrick A. Tuite, Chicago, for appellant.

William J. Scott, Atty. Gen., Springfield, and Bernard Carey, State's Atty., Chicago (James B. Zagel, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Kenneth L. Gills and Mariann Twist, Asst. State's Attys., of counsel), for the People.

DAVIS, Justice:

This is a direct appeal from the circuit court of Cook County, which, after a jury trial, adjudged the defendant, Phillip Manzella, guilty of the murder of his two sisters-in-law, Colleen Mulcahy and Claudia Daubenspeck, and of the attempted murder of his former wife, Candace Mulcahy Shell. Pursuant to the jury's recommendation, the trial court sentenced the defendant to death for the murders, and to a term of years in the Illinois State penitentiary for the attempted murder, the minimum of which is conflicting in the common-law record, wherein it is recited to be from 10 to 20 years, and in the report of proceedings, wherein it is recited to be from 15 to 20 years.

The judgment below must be remanded because of the imposition of the death sentence. In accordance with the determination of the United States Supreme Court (Furman v. Georgia (1972), 408 U.S. 238, 92 S.Ct. 2726, 33 L.Ed.2d 346; Moore v. Illinois (1972), 408 U.S. 786, 92 S.Ct. 2562, 33 L.Ed.2d 706) that he death penalty which juries are authorized to impose in capital cases under statutes such as those in Illinois is violative of the Constitution of the United States, we have affirmed the convictions, but vacated several such sentences and remanded the causes to the various circuit courts with directions to conduct a hearing in aggravation and mitigation, and to resentence the defendant to a sentence other than death. (People v. Speck (1972), 52 Ill.2d 284, 287 N.E.2d 699; People v. Newbury (1972), 53 Ill.2d 228, 290 N.E.2d 592; People v. Clark (1972), 52 Ill.2d 374, 288 N.E.2d 363.) We likewise so direct in this case.

However, in addition to remanding for resentencing, we also find it necessary to consider certain errors that were allegedly committed during trial which the defendant contends require reversal. We disagree.

To more fully understand these errors, it is necessary to review the pertinent facts as adduced at the trial. The defendant's former wife, Candace, testified that on December 4, 1967, the defendant, Phillip Manzella, rang the doorbell of her apartment; that she was still awake and was watching television with her sisters, Claudia and Colleen; and that after she looked out the front window and recognized the defendant's car, the women decided to let him into the apartment, believing that because of their number, they were safe. Before entering the apartment, however, Candace searched the defendant's pants and coat pockets for a weapon, and found none.

After admitting him to the apartment, the three women went into the kitchen with the defendant where they had a conversation, with him concerning his statements that Colleen was on dope and smoking marijuana at the school she attended. After ten minutes of this conversation, Claudia ordered the defendant out of the house and told him that he should never return. He agreed to leave, but before doing so, he turned and said: 'But before I go, I've got something for you,' and then shot Claudia, Colleen and Candace. The shots killed Claudia and Colleen immediately, but Candace was neither killed nor rendered unconsicious. She recognized muffled sounds as footsteps coming towards her, and then before losing consciousness, felt a heavy object pounding on her head.

When Candace revived, she saw her sisters lying on the floor motionaless. She arose and made her way to the front door, tried to get out, and discovered that the key needed to unlock the door was missing. She then became aware of somebody standing behind her, and when she turned, saw the defendant holding a knife that had been hanging in the kitchen. Manzella attempted to stab her; she tried to push him away but instead fell to the floor. The defendant then stabbed her in the back and she again lost consciousness.

When she regained consciousness she realized she was very weak and could barely breathe. Despite great difficulty in walking, she made her way to her mother's bedroom. She turned on the light and said to her: 'Where is he?' Her mother, being deaf, had slept through the shooting and screaming. When her mother answered 'Where is who?' Candace said, 'Phil, he killed them.'

Candace became frightened at the thought that Manzella might still be in the house, and she went into another bedroom and shut the door. Her mother got up to go after her, but then noticed her grandson and little granddaughter going into the kitchen. She thought that the defendant might still be in the house so she took the grandchildren with her to the bedroom where Candace was. Candace unlocked the door to let them in, then went into the closet to hide. However, her mother helped her out and onto the bed. Candace then called the telephone operator and related what had happened. Her mother noticed the knife protruding from Candace's back and was able to pull it out. She recognized the knife, even with the handle broken off, as having come from her kitchen set.

Candace met the first policeman to arrive at the door. He observed her bleeding from the head and back, and saw the two bodies lying in the kitchen with blood issuing from the head of each. Candace was then removed to the hospital.

Additional testimony on direct examination of Candace elicited that there had been a series of incidents following her divorce in which the defendant had harassed her by following her, physically abusing her, and attempting to frighten her. She also testified that in mid-July of 1967 he entered her home at 2 A.M., wearing a disguise and claiming to be a killer hired by Phillip Manzella to shoot his exwife; that the disguise was so poor that the entire family recognized the intruder as the defendant, Manzella; that nevertheless, he kept the family at bay for two hours with a snub-nose revolver; that afer he left, the police were called; and that charges, which were filed three days later, were eventually dropped.

She also described another occurrence which took place about a month before the shooting indicent out of which the murder charges arose, at which time she and the defendant got into an argument in a lounge and at which time he punched her girl friend, Arlene Soper Niemiec, in the jaw, and subsequently hit Candace and knocked her down. The girl friend also testified relative to that incident.

The defendant testified in his own behalf and denied that he had been in his former wife's apartment on the night of December 4, 1967. He asserted that he went to Wisconsin and Minnesota that night to look at land and learned of the deaths on his return; and that he then went to Mexico because he thought the Chicago police were going to kill him. He denied all the material statements made by the State's witnesses, and stated that Candace lied when she said she saw the defendant with a gun in July 1967; that Dominic Romano lied when he said he saw him with a gun in December 1969; that Richard Niemiec lied when he said he saw the defendant with a gun in the middle of November 1967; that Diane Drobut lied when she said she met the defendant on December 4, 1967; that officer Vaquez lied when he said the defendant tried to escape from jail, and that Arlene Niemiec lied when she said the defendant had slapped her. However, he admitted that he lied to custom officials about his true identity.

The court instructed the jury that the 'State is not required to prove a motive for the commission of the crime charged.' Defense counsel at first objected to this instruction but then acceded to it on condition that the prosecutor not argue motive to the jury. The prosecutor nevertheless commented on the July 1967 incident which was not closely connected in point of time with the events of December 1967, which give rise to this proceeding.

The first of the three errors which the defendant urges was that he was denied his right of cross-examination when the court sustained the State's objection to the defense questions seeking the address of the witness, Diane Drobut. Diane testified that she met with the defendant and Louie Havier on December 4, 1967 and that she had spoken with the defendant's attorney outside the courtroom prior to her testimony.

In the case at bar, there was no showing of personal danger to the witness, Diane Drobut, whose address was asked. In fact, the State established on redirect examination that there was no danger to her personal safety. The record indicates that the testimony of this witness was of a noncritical character, and additionally, in view of the relationship between the defendant and the witness, any claim that the denial of information concerning her address deprived the defendant of investigation apparently is without merit.

The record reveals that defense counsel was allowed to question Diane Drobut with reference to her place of employment; where she had lived prior to going to Mexico; with whom she lived while in Mexico; and why she left the person with whom she was originally staying there. From the answers to these questions the jury learned that she had worked at a restaurant in the Executive House; that she had lived at home, but stayed with Louie Havier a couple of times at the Southwest Inn; that she lived with the defendant for about a month in Mexico; that she left Havier and went to live with the defendant when the defendant told her that Havier was going to put her 'on the white slave market'; and that she was testifying because she was subpoenaed.

It thus appears that the court allowed the defendant to cross-examine Diane Drobut...

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