People v. Neal, No. 57781

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtWARD; One of Mrs. Waid's neighbors; SIMON
Citation111 Ill.2d 180,95 Ill.Dec. 283,489 N.E.2d 845
Parties, 95 Ill.Dec. 283 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Johnny NEAL, Jr., Appellant.
Decision Date20 December 1985
Docket NumberNo. 57781

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489 N.E.2d 845
111 Ill.2d 180, 95 Ill.Dec. 283
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee,
v.
Johnny NEAL, Jr., Appellant.
No. 57781.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
Dec. 20, 1985.
Rehearing Denied Feb. 4, 1986.

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[95 Ill.Dec. 284] [111 Ill.2d 186] Charles M. Schiedel, Deputy Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Supreme Court Unit, Springfield, Gary S. Rapaport, Asst. Defender, for appellant.

Neil F. Hartigan, Atty. Gen., Mark L. Rotert, James E. Fitzgerald, Ellen M. Flaum, Asst. Attys. Gen., Chicago, for appellee.

WARD, Justice:

The defendant, Johnny Neal, Jr., was charged in a criminal information in the circuit court of Lake County, with three counts of murder (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(a)(1)-(3)), one count of armed robbery (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 18-2(a)) and one count of home invasion (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 12-11). [111 Ill.2d 187] The home invasion count was nol-prossed by the State prior to trial. Following a jury trial, the defendant was found guilty on all counts. A separate sentencing hearing was held before the same jury. The jury first determined that the defendant was eligible for the death penalty under sections 9-1(b)(6)(a) through (c) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 9-1(b)(6)(a) through (c)). In the second phase

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[95 Ill.Dec. 285] of sentencing, at which the jury heard evidence in aggravation and mitigation, it unanimously decided that there were no mitigating factors to preclude the imposition of the death penalty. The court sentenced the defendant to death on the murder counts and, later, imposed an extended-term sentence of 60 years' imprisonment for armed robbery. The defendant has appealed directly to this court under section 4(b) of article VI of the Constitution of Illinois and under our Rule 603 (87 Ill.2d R. 603).

The evidence showed that on August 22, 1982, the body of Lillian Waid, a 63-year-old widow, was found by her son on the bedroom floor of her residence in Waukegan. The house had been ransacked. An autopsy revealed 17 blunt trauma lacerations of the victim's head which caused multiple fractures of the skull. Two stab wounds to the left chest which penetrated the heart and a lung were inflicted after the victim's death. It was determined that Mrs. Waid had been dead two or three days before her body was discovered and that the cause of death was multiple blunt trauma to the head.

The victim's son, Ed Grissom, called the sheriff's office upon discovering his mother's body. Grissom testified that when investigators arrived, he gave the officers a piece of paper that he found in a bowl where his mother kept notes. The piece of paper had the names Johnny and Chris written on it, and a telephone number and address which was later determined to be the defendant's. Mrs. Waid's auto, a blue 1982 Oldsmobile, [111 Ill.2d 188] was missing from her garage.

One of Mrs. Waid's neighbors, J.B. Buzbee, saw a brown or yellow Cadillac pull into Mrs. Waid's driveway at approximately 6:30 p.m. on August 19, 1982. Mr. Buzbee testified that he saw a man and woman get out of the car, meet Mrs. Waid on the patio and enter her house. The man and woman left the house after a short time. This was the last time that Buzbee saw Mrs. Waid. At trial, Mr. Buzbee also identified a picture of the defendant's car, a tan and yellow Cadillac, as the car that he saw parked in Mrs. Waid's driveway on the evening of the 19th.

Deputy Sheriff John Krempotic testified that on the afternoon on August 22, 1982, he was instructed to check the address noted on the paper found in the victim's home, for a brown or yellow Cadillac. He proceeded to the location of the address and found the defendant's car in the apartment complex parking lot where the defendant resided. Deputy Sheriff Steve Semenck testified that on August 22, 1982, he located the victim's auto in the parking lot of the Saloon tavern in Winthrop Harbor, the significance of which appears later.

Detectives Michael Blazincic and Charles Fagan testified that they were the investigating officers assigned to Mrs. Waid's homicide. After investigating the scene and questioning witnesses on August 22, 1982, they attended the autopsy of the victim later that day. After leaving the coroner's office, they received information that the car seen in the victim's driveway on the 19th was located at the address appearing on the piece of paper found at the crime scene. They went to the defendant's apartment at 11:30 p.m. on the 22nd of August, 1982, to interview him. A police dispatcher telephoned the defendant and requested that he meet the two detectives at the apartment-complex door. When the detectives [111 Ill.2d 189] identified themselves and asked if they could speak to the defendant, he invited them into the apartment. The defendant's wife, Jutta, was also in the apartment.

Detective Fagan testified that he advised the defendant that they had information that his car, or one similar to his, had been parked in Mrs. Waid's driveway on the evening of Thursday, August 19. The defendant replied yes, that his car had been in her driveway. Fagan then advised the defendant that they were investigating the murder of Mrs. Waid. Fagan testified that the defendant appeared nervous and replied, "Well, I didn't do it."

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[95 Ill.Dec. 286] At this point, Fagan asked the defendant if he would mind getting dressed and accompanying the detectives to their car for a private conversation outside the presence of his wife. Fagan testified that the defendant was very cooperative and willingly went with them to the car. Once in the car, Fagan gave the defendant Miranda warnings. The defendant acknowledged that he understood his rights and signed a written notification of rights form. Fagan asked the defendant of his whereabouts on the evening of the 19th. Fagan testified that the defendant stated that he and his wife went to Mrs. Waid's residence on the 19th about 8 p.m. to obtain motor oil for his car. After that they drove toward a bar named Clark's but had engine trouble on the way. They continued to the bar and the defendant told his wife to go inside. He repaired the car, then went inside, had a couple of drinks, and drove home with his wife. Fagan informed the defendant that Mrs. Waid's auto had been taken but was found at a tavern in Winthrop Harbor. The defendant replied that they would find his fingerprints in the car because he had driven Mrs. Waid to a doctor's office the day before.

Fagan asked the defendant if he had been drinking at a tavern called the Saloon in the late evening of the 19th. The defendant said that when he returned home on [111 Ill.2d 190] the 19th, his wife went to sleep, and he did, in fact, drive to the Saloon to drink more beer. Fagan then told the defendant that the police had recovered Mrs. Waid's auto at the Saloon tavern, to which the defendant replied he was probably going to get the electric chair and told the detectives that he had killed Mrs. Waid. Fagan then asked the defendant if he would go with them to the sheriff's department for further questioning, to which the defendant said he would. Fagan again read the defendant his Miranda rights when they arrived at the station. The defendant then made a detailed confession to the murder of Mrs. Waid which was tape recorded. This tape was played for the jury at trial.

In his confession the defendant stated that he and his wife knew Mrs. Waid and that they went to her home on the 19th to borrow motor oil for his car. When Mrs. Waid was not looking the defendant took a set of keys from her kitchen with the intention of later using the keys to enter her residence and rob her. He and his wife then left, and while driving to a nearby bar the car developed engine trouble. He drove to the bar and told his wife to go inside while he fixed the car. Instead, he ran back to the Waid residence, carrying with him a knife and a 17-inch lead pipe filled with concrete and wrapped with black tape. As he approached her front door, Mrs. Waid saw the defendant through the screening and asked him what was wrong. He told her his car had engine trouble and "asked for a ride." She allowed the defendant to enter the house and the defendant then pulled out the knife and pipe and told her that he intended to rob her. He pushed her toward the bedroom and demanded her money. She pleaded with him not to hurt her. Once in the bedroom, she opened a black file cabinet and reached inside, apparently for money. The defendant stated he thought she was reaching for a gun so he struck her in the head with the pipe and she fell to [111 Ill.2d 191] the floor. He then struck her several times more in the head, changing the pipe to his right hand during the course of the beating. He then apparently stabbed her twice with the knife. He stated that he "blacked out" after striking her a few times because he had a bad headache. There was no money in the file cabinet and no gun. The defendant ransacked the home. He took the victim's purse, which contained $25, went to the garage, and took off his bloody shirt. Wearing a T-shirt, he drove Mrs. Waid's auto back to the bar where he had left his wife. On the way, he threw from the car window a pair of gloves he used during the murder and robbery. These gloves were later recovered by the police. He entered the bar and had a few drinks with his wife, and they both returned to their apartment. When his wife fell asleep, he drove back to where he had left Mrs. Waid's auto. He retrieved his bloody shirt, Mrs. Waid's

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[95 Ill.Dec. 287] purse, and the knife and pipe from the back of Mrs. Waid's car and put them in a plastic garbage bag. He put the bag in his car and then drove Mrs. Waid's auto to the Saloon tavern and left it unlocked with the keys in it, with the hope that it would be stolen. He hitchhiked back to his car and drove it to Lake Michigan. He threw the garbage...

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105 practice notes
  • People v. Kokoraleis, No. 2-84-0890
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • November 13, 1986
    ...support defendant's position. (People v. Darnell (1981), 94 Ill.App.3d 830, 50 Ill.Dec. 276, 419 N.E.2d 384; People v. Neal (1985), 111 Ill.2d 180, 95 Ill.Dec. 283, 489 N.E.2d 845, cert. denied (1986), 476 U.S. 1164, 106 S.Ct. 2292, 90 L.Ed.2d 733.) In Darnell, like here, the body of the vi......
  • People v. Brown, No. 74532
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • March 28, 1996
    ...Young, 128 Ill.2d at 59, 131 Ill.Dec. 86, 538 N.E.2d 461; Orange, 121 Ill.2d at 390-91, 118 Ill.Dec. 1, 521 N.E.2d 69; People v. Neal, 111 Ill.2d 180, 203, 95 Ill.Dec. 283, 489 N.E.2d 845 (1985). Moreover, this court has also rejected the contention that the statute has a discriminatory eff......
  • People v. Howard, No. 65473
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • December 19, 1991
    ...that the trial judge abused his discretion in denying the defendant's request for a sequestered voir dire. See People v. Neal (1985), 111 Ill.2d 180, 197-98, 95 Ill.Dec. 283, 489 N.E.2d 845; People v. Newbury (1972), 53 Ill.2d 228, 241, 290 N.E.2d The defendant next contends that the trial ......
  • People v. Cloutier, No. 72074
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • October 21, 1993
    ...a trial court may in the exercise of its discretion allow sequestered voir dire (134 Ill.2d Rules 431, 234; People v. Neal (1985), 111 Ill.2d 180, 197-98, 95 Ill.Dec. 283, 489 N.E.2d 845; People v. Newbury (1972), 53 Ill.2d 228, 241, 290 N.E.2d 592), only when the court's actions have frust......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
105 cases
  • People v. Kokoraleis, No. 2-84-0890
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • November 13, 1986
    ...support defendant's position. (People v. Darnell (1981), 94 Ill.App.3d 830, 50 Ill.Dec. 276, 419 N.E.2d 384; People v. Neal (1985), 111 Ill.2d 180, 95 Ill.Dec. 283, 489 N.E.2d 845, cert. denied (1986), 476 U.S. 1164, 106 S.Ct. 2292, 90 L.Ed.2d 733.) In Darnell, like here, the body of the vi......
  • People v. Brown, No. 74532
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • March 28, 1996
    ...Young, 128 Ill.2d at 59, 131 Ill.Dec. 86, 538 N.E.2d 461; Orange, 121 Ill.2d at 390-91, 118 Ill.Dec. 1, 521 N.E.2d 69; People v. Neal, 111 Ill.2d 180, 203, 95 Ill.Dec. 283, 489 N.E.2d 845 (1985). Moreover, this court has also rejected the contention that the statute has a discriminatory eff......
  • People v. Howard, No. 65473
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • December 19, 1991
    ...that the trial judge abused his discretion in denying the defendant's request for a sequestered voir dire. See People v. Neal (1985), 111 Ill.2d 180, 197-98, 95 Ill.Dec. 283, 489 N.E.2d 845; People v. Newbury (1972), 53 Ill.2d 228, 241, 290 N.E.2d The defendant next contends that the trial ......
  • People v. Cloutier, No. 72074
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • October 21, 1993
    ...a trial court may in the exercise of its discretion allow sequestered voir dire (134 Ill.2d Rules 431, 234; People v. Neal (1985), 111 Ill.2d 180, 197-98, 95 Ill.Dec. 283, 489 N.E.2d 845; People v. Newbury (1972), 53 Ill.2d 228, 241, 290 N.E.2d 592), only when the court's actions have frust......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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