People v. Reeves, 1-06-0594.

Citation897 N.E.2d 298
Decision Date05 September 2008
Docket NumberNo. 1-06-0594.,1-06-0594.
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Turner REEVES, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
897 N.E.2d 298
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Turner REEVES, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 1-06-0594.
Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division.
September 5, 2008.
Rehearing Denied December 5, 2008.

[897 N.E.2d 302]

Michael J. Pelletier, Deputy Defender, and Elizabeth A. Botti, Asst. Appellate Defender, Office of State Appellate Defender, Chicago, IL, for Appellant.

Richard A. Devine, State's Atty. of Cook County, Chicago, IL (James Fitzgerald and Peter Fischer, Asst. State's Attys., of Counsel), for Appellee.

Justice CAHILL delivered the opinion of the court:


After a jury trial, defendant Turner Reeves was convicted of the aggravated kidnaping, aggravated sexual assault and first-degree murder of Nassim Davoodi and the concealment of her homicidal death. The trial court sentenced defendant to natural life in prison without parole for murder. The court also imposed 30-year prison terms for aggravated kidnaping and aggravated criminal sexual assault, concurrent with each other and consecutive to the natural life sentence. Finally, the court imposed five years for the concealment of a homicidal death, consecutive to the other sentences.

Defendant raises six issues on appeal: (1) the State did not prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of aggravated kidnaping; (2) the State committed a discovery violation that warrants a new trial; (3) the trial court denied defendant his right to exercise his peremptory challenges to prospective jurors "in a meaningful way"; (4) the trial court erred in admitting testimony that he had a three-way sexual encounter with his friend Kristen Hill and codefendant Skylar Chambers four days before the murder; (5) the State did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant was death eligible, required for a sentence of natural life; and (6) the trial court erred in imposing sentences to be served consecutive to his natural life sentence. We affirm the convictions but vacate the consecutive sentences and order the mittimus corrected to show that all sentences are to run concurrently.

The record shows that on Friday, May 31, 2002, the victim's parents reported the 14-year-old Bartlett High School freshman missing when she did not come home from school after an early dismissal. The police investigation involved officers from the Carol Stream, Elmhurst and Bartlett police departments. It led officers to question defendant, who gave differing accounts of his involvement in the victim's disappearance. These accounts implicated Skylar Chambers, who was staying at defendant's home in Hanover Park. Defendant also implicated two others: Jarrett Curtis, his cousin and a Bartlett High School student who lived with defendant's family, and Izabela Nagler, defendant's former girlfriend.

Chambers was arrested on June 3, 2002. On the same day, Carol Stream police officers brought defendant to the police station for questioning. Defendant waived his Miranda rights and gave several differing statements, including one on videotape. He was arrested for first-degree murder on June 6, 2002. On defendant's motions, the case was transferred from Du Page to Cook County and severed from the case against Chambers.

Defendant was represented by three different sets of attorneys: (1) Du Page County assistant public defenders, who withdrew when the case was transferred to Cook County; (2) private attorney Thomas Brandstrader, who withdrew because of differences with defendant; and (3) private attorneys Leland Shalgos and Mike Clancy, who represented defendant at trial and sentencing. When the trial court granted the Du Page County assistant public defenders' motion to withdraw, the trial court asked, "You have tendered everything?"

897 N.E.2d 303

Assistant Public Defender William Padash answered in the affirmative. Brandstrader began representing defendant but the relationship soon deteriorated. On July 7, 2005, the trial court allowed Shalgos to file an appearance as counsel for defendant but declined to allow Brandstrader to withdraw until Shalgos was "brought up to snuff" on the case. One week later, Shalgos told the court he had familiarized himself with the case and reported the State had given him "an entirely new file." At a later case management conference, Shalgos said he had read "all the transcripts" and reviewed "all the files." Reiterating that the State had provided a new case file, Shalgos said, "I know that I have everything. And I have reviewed everything."

Shalgos and Clancy represented defendant at a pretrial hearing on a motion to suppress statements on August 16, 2002. The motion alleged that defendant's statements were involuntary because of sleep and food deprivation, intimidation and coercion. The State called Bartlett police detective Scott Yarwood, who testified that he saw defendant sleeping at about 9:30 a.m. on June 5, 2002, in a cell at the Bartlett police department. On cross-examination, Yarwood admitted he did not know how long defendant had been sleeping but he said a video camera would have recorded everything that happened in the cell. Yarwood said he did not know if the department had kept the tapes. Defendant admitted that he had slept for four to five hours but maintained it was not a deep sleep. The trial court denied the suppression motion, concluding that the evidence did not show defendant had been deprived of sleep "in any meaningful way."

Before jury selection, defendant proposed questions for prospective jurors, including the following: "[T]here will be evidence of a false confession being made. Will you be willing to evaluate the testimony of the police officers just as any other witness in this case and if you feel the police officer [has] fabricated evidence, disregard his testimony?" The trial court ruled that the question could not be asked as worded, but added: "You may again inquire of this. I believe I will cover this area as to the weight that should be given to an officer's testimony or not given to an officer's testimony. If that is not satisfactory, you may inquire."

During voir dire, the trial judge asked prospective jurors whether they would use the same standard to evaluate the testimony of a police officer as for other witnesses. After several prospective jurors were questioned, defense counsel said to one: "There's going to be evidence here of a false confession." The State objected and the trial court sustained the objection. In a sidebar, the trial judge told defense counsel that a properly phrased question would be allowed. The judge told defense counsel: "You may ask something to the [effect that] there may be evidence * * * of a false statement. You * * * cannot presume that there is going to be evidence." Defense counsel then told the prospective juror: "[You] may hear evidence during the course of the trial of a false statement" made by defendant. Defense counsel then asked: "Would you be able to evaluate [defendant's] testimony at the same level as the police officer who is taking the opposition position?" The State objected and the trial judge sustained the objection "as to that question." Defense counsel then ended his examination of the prospective juror and did not raise the subject "false statement" or "false confession" again in voir dire.

The trial began on October 25, 2005. In opening statements, defense counsel said: "[Y]ou will hear testimony that [defendant] was in a police station for almost 48 hours

897 N.E.2d 304

with no sleep." "Basically, he was up for 48 hours."

The State called 17 witnesses. Jackie Bahena, a friend of the victim, testified that she saw Curtis introduce Chambers to the victim after school on the day before the murder. Bahena said Chambers and the victim talked for a few minutes and when they said good-bye, Chambers gave the victim a hug. The next day the victim at first hid from Chambers after school, but the victim apparently changed her mind and approached Chambers. The victim then walked away with Chambers and Curtis. Bahena said when she last saw the victim, she was holding open defendant's car door as if she were about to get in. On cross-examination, Bahena said the victim did not want to approach Chambers at first on the day of the murder, but she did so freely when he appeared about 20 feet away from where she was hiding.

Jarrett Curtis testified for the State as a subpoenaed witness. Curtis said he usually took the bus to and from school but defendant would pick him up "every blue moon." He said defendant and Chambers unexpectedly picked him up from school in defendant's car on the day before the murder. Chambers asked to be introduced to the victim and Curtis did so. Chambers offered the victim a ride home, but she refused, saying Chambers could talk to her the next day.

Curtis said when school was dismissed at 12:40 p.m. the next day, defendant and Chambers were again at the school. Chambers again offered the victim a ride home. After the victim accepted the ride, Chambers said they would be going to a mall instead of taking the victim home and the victim agreed. Curtis sat in a front seat, defendant drove and Chambers and the victim sat in the backseat. Defendant drove to the house of Izabela Nagler, defendant's girlfriend. After talking to Nagler, defendant drove to his own house. Defendant opened the garage door and drove into the garage. Curtis got out and went into the house. Defendant remained in the car but later entered and left the house two times. Curtis said he went outside at about 2:30 p.m. but he did not hear the car in the garage or see defendant, Chambers or the victim.

Curtis said he next saw defendant at 6:30 p.m. that day when defendant told him that if the police asked about the victim, Curtis should say he last saw her get into a white Buick with some Mexicans. Defendant seemed "a little nervous" and acted as if he could not explain himself in the presence of Chambers. Curtis said Chambers told him...

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11 cases
  • People v. Fleming
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 25, 2014
    ...and after-the-fact behavior that amount to an attempt to conceal the truth.” People v. Reeves, 385 Ill.App.3d 716, 727, 325 Ill.Dec. 50, 897 N.E.2d 298 (2008).¶ 67 Although Fleming's mere presence at the scene of the crime, coupled with his flight, was insufficient to support his conviction......
  • People v. Adams
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • August 14, 2009
    ......The State need not prove a verbal agreement between the parties; the trier of fact can infer a common design from the circumstantial evidence. People v. Reeves, 385 Ill.App.3d 716, 727, 325 Ill.Dec. 50, 897 N.E.2d 298 (2008). .         The evidence showed that Mr. Newman and Terrance were in an argument earlier in the night. Later, the defendant entered the alley carrying a gun and was joined by codefendants Terrance and Harvey in shooting at ......
  • People v. Anderson, 1–08–0500.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • February 14, 2011
    ...jurors on a particular viewpoint is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. People v. Reeves, 385 Ill.App.3d 716, 729–30, 325 Ill.Dec. 50, 897 N.E.2d 298 (2008).C. Discussion1. Forfeiture The defendant concedes that the error was not raised in his posttrial motion. He argues that the error was......
  • People v. Polk
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • January 27, 2011
    ...our standard of review is whether the court abused its discretion. People v. Reeves, 385 Ill.App.3d 716, 729–30, 325 Ill.Dec. 50, 897 N.E.2d 298 (2008). Voir Dire in a criminal trial is governed by Supreme Court Rule 431 (177 Ill.2d R. 431) (parties are allowed to supplement the trial court......
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