People v. Williams

Decision Date03 April 2017
Docket NumberAppeal No. 3–14–0841
Citation77 N.E.3d 153,2017 IL App (3d) 140841
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. Kimberly J. WILLIAMS, Defendant–Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

Michael J. Pelletier and Sean W. Collins-Stapleton, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

James W. Glasgow, State's Attorney, of Joliet (Gary F. Gnidovec, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.


JUSTICE SCHMIDT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

¶ 1 Defendant, Kimberly J. Williams, appeals from her two convictions for aggravated battery. Defendant argues (1) the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant's use of force was not justified, (2) defendant was deprived of her due process right to a fair trial, and (3) one of defendant's convictions must be vacated under the one-act, one-crime rule. We affirm in part and vacate in part.


¶ 3 The State charged defendant by indictment with two counts of aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12–3.05(a)(1), (f)(1) (West 2012)) and one count of battery (720 ILCS 5/12–3(a)(1) (West 2012)). At trial, the court granted a directed finding for defendant on the battery charge. Defendant does not raise an issue regarding this charge on appeal. Count I alleged;

"[D]efendant, in committing a battery, * * * without legal justification and by use of a deadly weapon, to wit: a bat, knowingly made physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Theresa Washington, in that said defendant struck Theresa Washington about the body with a bat."

Count II alleged:

"[D]efendant, in committing a battery, * * * knowingly and without legal justification caused great bodily harm to Theresa Washington, in that said defendant struck Theresa Washington about the body with a bat."

Prior to trial, defendant disclosed that she intended to raise the affirmative defense of self-defense. The case proceeded to a bench trial.

¶ 4 The undisputed facts establish that defendant was in a relationship with an individual in Vietnam whom she referred to as "master." Defendant called herself "slave" in the relationship. "Master" asked defendant to take nude photographs while performing housework. "Master" recommended that defendant use the internet website to find an individual to take the photographs. Defendant contacted Theresa Washington on this website and arranged a meeting at TGI Fridays on the afternoon of January 15, 2013. At the restaurant, defendant and Washington conversed and consumed alcoholic beverages. Around 5:30 p.m., defendant and Washington left the restaurant to go to defendant's house. Along the way, defendant purchased two bottles of wine.

¶ 5 At defendant's house, Washington waited inside while defendant walked her dogs. When defendant returned, she and Washington got into an altercation. As a result of the altercation, Washington received treatment for a broken arm, contusions, and abrasions. Defendant also received scratches and contusions but declined treatment.

¶ 6 Defendant and Washington do not agree on the events that led to the altercation or the course of the altercation. Washington testified that when defendant returned from walking the dogs, she yelled at Washington for breaking the cork in a wine bottle. Defendant removed the broken cork, then she and Washington drank the wine and conversed for several hours in the living room. At one point, defendant called a male acquaintance and asked him to come to the house. The male did not come over, and defendant became agitated, removed her clothing, and sat naked on the floor. Washington asked if defendant wanted to pose for the nude photographs, but defendant could not find her camera. Defendant then began acting sexually provocative. Washington told her to stop, and defendant asked Washington to "put her through some paces as far as [Washington] being a dominatrix and [defendant] being a slave." Washington told defendant that she was no longer a dominatrix. However, defendant acted increasingly aggressive until Washington agreed to be her dominatrix. Defendant refused to comply with Washington's command to crawl. Washington told defendant that she had to cooperate and "smacked [defendant] on her butt," grabbed defendant's hair, and told defendant to crawl. Defendant crawled to her bedroom. In the bedroom, defendant started laughing and refused to comply with Washington's commands. Washington told defendant she could not continue and left the bedroom. Washington put on her boots and sweater and told defendant that she wanted to leave. Defendant became aggressive and got "in [Washington's] face." Washington was "petrified," and she pushed defendant. Defendant stumbled, returned to her prior position, and continued to yell. Washington again pushed defendant, and a small table broke during defendant's fall. Defendant used one of the broken table legs to hit Washington in her shoulders and back. Washington yelled for defendant to stop and told defendant to leave her alone. In the frenzy, Washington lost consciousness. Washington next recalled lying on the floor while defendant stood over her with a baseball bat. Defendant moved to swing the bat, and Washington yelled that defendant had broken her arm. Washington told defendant to let her go, and defendant screamed at Washington to get out of the house. Defendant continued to hit Washington, which prevented Washington from leaving. Eventually, Washington wrested the baseball bat from defendant, but she did not have enough strength to swing the bat, and defendant recovered it.

¶ 7 During the altercation, defendant tried to drag Washington out of the house by her hair. Washington resisted because she did not have her coat or purse. Defendant shouted for Washington to leave but impeded Washington's exit by blocking the door. Eventually, defendant forced Washington out the front door without her purse. On the porch, Washington grabbed defendant's baseball bat to stop defendant from hitting her. Defendant broke free and hit Washington seven or eight additional times. Washington sat on the porch stairs to avoid falling and asked defendant to stop hitting her because she was attempting to leave. Defendant stopped hitting Washington, and Washington used her right arm to move down the stairs. Washington then ran to a neighboring house for help.

¶ 8 On cross-examination, Washington said she took the medications Wellbutrin, Prozac, Xanax, and Celebrex. Washington's doctors said that it was safe to drink a small amount while taking these medications. Washington acknowledged that she had exceeded this recommendation prior to the altercation.

¶ 9 Defendant testified that around 7:30 p.m., she changed out of her work clothes in an area where Washington could see her. After putting on fresh clothes, defendant and Washington continued to drink wine and converse. As the night progressed, Washington became more relaxed and told defendant that she was a dominatrix. Defendant was shocked, as Washington stated in her Internet posting that she was a "slave" or submissive person. Defendant and Washington continued to converse and made a few telephone calls. Thereafter, Washington made sexual advances toward defendant. Defendant felt threatened and uncomfortable, as their agreement did not involve sexual relations. Defendant asked Washington to stop or leave, but Washington continued her advances. Washington told defendant that she was too inebriated to leave. Defendant arranged for Washington to sleep on the couch and went to her bedroom to sleep.

¶ 10 After midnight, Washington woke up defendant by pulling defendant by her hair down the hallway. Defendant feared that Washington intended to sexually assault her and she bit, scratched, and kicked Washington. Washington pushed defendant three times. On the third push, Washington grabbed defendant and they fell onto a table, breaking it. Washington continued to attack defendant, and defendant retrieved a baseball bat. Defendant hit Washington with the baseball bat several times. Washington tried unsuccessfully to take the baseball bat from defendant, but defendant opened the door and ordered Washington to leave. Defendant chased Washington out of the house with the baseball bat. According to defendant, "[Washington] fell down the stairs, she slipped down the stairs like on her bottom." Washington then "stood up and turned like she was going to attack [defendant] again." Defendant hit Washington one or two additional times, at which point she felt safe enough to go into the house.

¶ 11 When the police arrived, defendant told an officer that Washington had attacked her and she acted in self-defense. After defendant acknowledged she had hit Washington, the officer placed defendant under arrest.

¶ 12 On cross-examination, the State asked defendant:

"Q. Isn't it true that when she was on the porch of your home, that she was screaming and crying for help?
A. She was screaming for and crying for help but it was after she slid down the stairs. I was also crying and screaming for help the whole time because I was being attacked as well."

After Washington fell down the stairs, defendant stated:

"I was at the landing at the edge of the landing, and it all happened so fast. She turned around, stood up, and I thought she was coming after me again, so I stepped down, hit her, hit her, and went in my house and I locked the door."

¶ 13 The court found that Washington and defendant's stories were similar and the resolution of the case turned on its determination of who was the aggressor. The court found that defendant's use of a baseball bat to strike Washington constituted deadly force and defendant's belief that Washington intended to sexually assault her was unreasonable. The court further found:

"[E]ven if [it] were to believe the defendant's story that she was in a fight for her life and she was trying to defeat the commission of a

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    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • August 1, 2017
    ...See, e.g., People v. Pratt, 2017 WL 1497733, at *1 (Ill. App. Ct. Apr. 25, 2017) (unpublished); People v. Williams, 412 Ill.Dec. 985, 77 N.E.3d 153, 156–57 (App. Ct. 2017) ; People v. Khan, 2017 WL 1019777, at *1 (Mar. 14, 2017) (unpublished); People v. Curry, 2017 WL 776082, at *1 (Ill. Ap......

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