People v. Wilborn

Decision Date24 February 2012
Docket NumberNo. 1–09–2802.,1–09–2802.
Citation2011 IL App (1st) 092802,356 Ill.Dec. 843,962 N.E.2d 528
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. Joseph WILBORN, Defendant–Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois


Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Alan D. Goldberg, Deputy Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender (David T. Harris, Assistant Public Defender), for Appellant.

Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, County of Cook (Alan J. Spellberg, Douglas P. Harvath, Sheliah C. O'Grady, of counsel), for the People.


Presiding Justice R. GORDON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

[356 Ill.Dec. 846] ¶ 1 Following a jury trial, defendant Joseph Wilborn1 was convicted of first-degree murder. 720 ILCS 5/9–1(a)(1) (West 2000). After hearing aggravation and mitigation, defendant was sentenced to 55 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, 30 years for the first-degree murder and 25 years as a firearm enhancement. Defendant's conviction was affirmed on direct appeal ( People v. Wilbourn, No. 1–06–2088 (2008) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23)). Defendant then filed a petition for postconviction relief in which he claimed ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel. The trial court dismissed defendant's postconviction petition at the first stage of the proceedings, finding that: (1) the issues presented in the petition are barred by the doctrine of res judicata; (2) defendant's allegations were conclusory and the petition lacked supporting documentation; and (3) the petition is frivolous and patently without merit. Defendant now appeals, and we affirm. See People v. Jones, 399 Ill.App.3d 341, 359, 339 Ill.Dec. 870, 927 N.E.2d 710 (2010) (we may affirm the decision of the trial court on any grounds substantiated by the record, regardless of the trial court's reasoning).


¶ 3 Defendant and codefendant, Cedrick Jenkins, were arrested and charged by indictment with the first-degree murder of Emmit Hill (victim). The trial court granted defendant's motion for severance and defendant's jury trial commenced on June 12, 2006.

¶ 4 During opening statements, defense counsel told the jury that “you'll see and hear from Jenkins.” He stated that the victim had “problems” with defendant and Jenkins, and that Jenkins “will talk to you about [their] relationship with [the victim].” He also told the jury that the victim had approached defendant and Jenkins on the day of the shooting, accused Jenkins of “being out and looking for him with [a] gun,” and told Jenkins that “I'll have this neighborhood flooded and you won't get out.” Defense counsel further stated as follows:

[Jenkins] will tell you what happened inside that gangway [where the victim was found shot]. It won't be the same story that you here from [another witness] but the facts of who pursued, who wouldn't let this go, who having seen what he regards as suspicious, disregards it and it follows him through that gangway anyway * * *.”

¶ 5 Following opening statements, the State called eight witnesses: (1) Frederick Sanders; (2) Clarence Morgan; (3) David Parker; (4) Chicago police detective Mike Qualls; (5) Stacey Daniels; (6) Chicago police officer Andre Bedford; (7) forensic investigator John Kaput; and (8) Cook County medical examiner Dr. Valerie Arangelovich.

¶ 6 A. Frederick Sanders's Testimony

¶ 7 Sanders testified that, at approximately 11:30 p.m. on July 28, 2004, he exited his apartment building located on the 6200 block of South Michigan Avenue and walked to his automobile where his friend, Randy Griffin, was waiting in the passenger seat. Sanders testified that Griffin told him that he had heard “a couple of gunshots” while he was waiting. Sanders then drove his vehicle westbound on 63rd Street to Wabash. Sanders testified that when he turned north, he observed a person he knew by the nickname of “Moochie,” whose real name is Samuel Richards, standing over a body lying in a gangway located near the northeast corner of 63rd Street and Wabash. Sanders testified that he then stopped his vehicle, exited it, and telephoned the police with his cellular telephone. While he waited for the police to arrive, he did not observe anyone in the area with a gun, nor did he observe Richards remove a handgun from the body. He did not observe defendant or Jenkins in the area.

¶ 8 Sanders also testified that he was not friends with defendant, the victim or Jenkins. He testified that he knew defendant because he observed him “being around the [apartment] building.” In addition, he testified that he “knew [the victim] from the neighborhood” and knew Jenkins because Jenkins previously resided at the apartment building.

¶ 9 B. Clarence Morgan's Testimony

¶ 10 Morgan testified that on July 28, 2004, at 11 p.m., he was standing on the South Michigan Avenue side of Sanders's apartment building, drinking liquor with the victim, who was a friend of his, and with “other people,” which included Richards and a man named David Parker. He testified that defendant, Jenkins, and a man known as “Chub” were standing “in front” of the apartment building. He testified that he had known defendant and Jenkins for approximately 10 years because, at one time, they both lived in the same apartment building as him.

¶ 11 Morgan testified that “Chub” handed a hooded sweatshirt to Jenkins and the victim then made a “smart comment” to “Chub.” Morgan testified that the victim said to “Chub,” “was he on bullshit,” which he understood to mean, he was “up to no good at the time.” Morgan testified that he did not hear the victim threaten defendant or Jenkins at any time on the night of the shooting. Morgan further testified that prior to the shooting he was unaware of any animosity between defendant, Jenkins, and the victim.

¶ 12 Morgan also testified that, after the victim made the comment to “Chub,” he observed defendant and Jenkins walk in a westerly direction across South Michigan Avenue and through a gangway toward Wabash. He testified that the victim followed them into the gangway, but then he lost sight of the victim. He testified that he did not observe a handgun on the victim. Morgan testified that, approximately one minute later, he heard five gunshots coming from the direction of the gangway. When the victim did not return, Morgan decided to walk to Wabash to determine if the victim had arrived at the other side of the gangway. He testified that he walked south to 63rd Street then west to Wabash to avoid walking through the gangway. When he arrived at the corner of 63rd Street and Wabash, he observed the victim lying on the ground in the gangway. He also observed several people, including Richards and Parker, standing near the victim's body, but he did not observe defendant or Jenkins in the area.

¶ 13 On cross-examination, Morgan testified that defendant, Jenkins, and “Chub” were members of the “Insane Gangster Disciples” gang, while he was a member of the “Black Gangster Disciples,” a rival gang. He testified that his gang “controlled” Sanders's apartment building, but after a series of arrests of Black Gangster Disciple members, defendant and Jenkins started “hanging around” the apartment building. He further testified that the victim had a confrontation with defendant, Jenkins, and “Chub” two weeks before the shooting because they were trying to take over the drug sales at the building.

¶ 14 C. David Parker's Testimony

¶ 15 Parker testified that he was a friend of the victim and that Jenkins had a “beef” with the victim because the victim had been discussing Jenkins and Jenkins's “parent” in the presence of others. He testified that two days before the shooting, defendant asked Parker to tell the victim to stop talking about Jenkins.

¶ 16 Parker testified that at 11 p.m. on the evening of July 28, 2004, he was visiting with the victim, Richards, Morgan, and a man by the name of Keith Wright. He testified that they were drinking liquor and standing on the South Michigan Avenue side of Sanders's apartment building. He testified that defendant, Jenkins and “Chub” walked passed them. Parker observed “Chub” remove his hooded sweatshirt and hand it to Jenkins. Parker testified that he thought it was unusual for a person to wear a hooded sweatshirt because the evening was “cool, but it wasn't cool enough for a [hooded sweatshirt].” Parker denied that he heard the victim say anything to defendant, Jenkins or “Chub” at that time.

¶ 17 Parker testified that two people began arguing across the street from the apartment building, and he walked toward the couple to stop the argument. He testified that he then heard seven gunshots and observed the gangway “lighting up from sparks.” Parker testified that he noticed that the victim was no longer in the area and Morgan told him that “I think [the victim] just followed [defendant] and [Jenkins] to the gas station.” Parker testified that he told the group that they should run to 63rd and Wabash to find out if anyone had been shot. He testified that when they arrived at Wabash, he observed the victim on the ground in the gangway. Parker testified that he and Morgan then ran to the victim's residence to inform his family of the shooting. He testified that he did not observe a gun on the victim that evening. Parker testified that Richards searched the victim's pockets to ensure there were no drugs on the victim.

¶ 18 D. Chicago Police Detective Mike Qualls's Testimony

¶ 19 Detective Qualls testified that when he arrived at the scene at approximately 12:30 a.m., he did not locate a weapon near the body. He testified that he spoke with Parker the following day, who told him that just before he heard the gunshots, he heard the victim ask Jenkins, “What you all bitches doing with those hoodies?” He testified that after he and other officers interviewed witnesses, an investigative alert was...

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