People v. Williams

Decision Date29 June 1990
Docket NumberNo. 1-86-2714,1-86-2714
Citation205 Ill.App.3d 715,564 N.E.2d 507,151 Ill.Dec. 297
Parties, 151 Ill.Dec. 297 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ted WILLIAMS, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

Office of the State Appellate Defender, Chicago (Michael J. Pelletier and Gordon H. Berry, of counsel), for defendant-appellant.

State's Atty. of Cook County, Chicago (Cecil A. Partee, Inge Fryklund, James E. Fitzgerald and Kathleen F. Howlett, of counsel), for plaintiff-appellee.

Justice MANNING delivered the opinion of the court:

The defendant, Ted Williams, was charged by indictment with the attempted rape (Ill.Rev.Stat.1983, ch. 38, par. 8-4), and murder (Ill.Rev.Stat.1983, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)), of his 12-year-old niece, Sharon McCambry. His defense was insanity. A fitness hearing was held before a six-person jury to determine defendant's fitness for trial. The jury determined that the defendant was fit for trial. After a jury trial on the charges, he was convicted of both offenses and sentenced to a term of natural life imprisonment.

Defendant contends on appeal that the court committed reversible error by ordering sua sponte a six-man jury to determine his fitness to stand trial. He further contends that he was denied his constitutional right to a fair and impartial trial because the trial court restricted his efforts to present an insanity defense, and erred in its evidentiary rulings, its conduct and comments as well as by the prosecutor's closing arguments.

The evidence presented during the trial revealed that, on February 12, 1984, the defendant's live-in girlfriend, Annette Cathey, took their daughter and moved back home with her mother. That same day, the defendant unsuccessfully attempted to visit his mother Mattie at 4555 South State Street. He then proceeded to the residence of Yvonne McCambry, his sister, and the mother of Sharon McCambry ("victim"). His sister was not at home; however, the victim was there and she subsequently left with the defendant, presumably to go to her grandmother Mattie's house. Instead, the defendant took the victim to his house, began to drink liquor that he had purchased enroute to his house, smoked some hashish and made sexual advances to the victim. When the victim resisted his sexual advances, the defendant struck her in the head with a hammer. The defendant then disposed of some of the evidence in a dumpster on 35th Street and left the victim's body near her home in the vicinity of around 43rd and Federal.

The victim's body was discovered the next day by Robert Wonsley, a neighbor, who resided at 4331 Federal. Mr. Wonsley testified that he saw a bundle of bedding that was covered with blood. The police were called immediately, and upon their arrival, determined that a body dressed only in a sweatshirt and socks was inside the bundle of bedding. Upon hearing that a body had been found, the victim's mother, Yvonne McCambry, ran down the stairs and identified the body as her missing daughter Sharon.

Wendy Walker, the victim's best friend, and Leon Williams, the defendant's nephew, testified that on February 12, 1984, they saw the victim and the defendant leave together. The testimony from other witnesses also revealed that blood stains were found in the defendant's car and apartment and there were recently cut holes in the carpet. The testimony further revealed that paint chips found on the murder weapon, the bedding, the victim's clothing, and the defendant's apartment, were from a common origin. Annette Cathey also identified that the blankets, sheets and towels which were covered with blood and dirt as items from the apartment which she previously shared with the defendant. Annette further testified that subsequent to the defendant's arrest, he told her that he had hurt his niece and explained the sequence of events that occurred in great detail beginning with getting high, touching the victim's breast, the struggle between them which led to his striking her with a hammer, and ending with the disposal of the victim's body and his return to the apartment. Annette also testified that several months prior to the murder of the victim, the defendant had killed their cat and threatened to do the same thing to Annette.

An autopsy performed on the victim showed extensive head injuries consistent with being struck in the head with a hammer. It further revealed injuries to the victim's lips, abrasions on her chin, discoloration of her right cheek, scratches on her neck, bruises on her wrists and contusion to the vaginal opening. Also, during the trial, the State published a statement given by the defendant to the assistant State's Attorney on the evening of his arrest. The defendant told the assistant State's Attorney exactly how he killed the victim and how he disposed of the hammer, clothing, and pieces of carpeting in a dumpster on 35th Street and then took the victim's body wrapped in bedding and left it near some railroad tracks at 43rd and Federal.

During the trial, the defendant presented the testimony of three expert witnesses to support his insanity defense, Doctors Henry Conroe, Louis Hemmerich and Alan Rosenwald. Dr. Hemmerich diagnosed the defendant as being borderline mentally defective suffering from borderline personality disorders with anti-social features and schizoid personality disorders resulting in episodic psychosis. In his opinion, as a result of the mental disease or defect, the defendant was unable to appreciate the criminality of his act or conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.

Dr. Conroe, a psychiatrist and assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago, testified that he examined the defendant on September 9, 1985. After reviewing police reports, the reports of Drs. Rosenwald and Hemmerich's and reports from the Psychiatric Institute, he learned that the defendant's mother had been institutionalized on several occasions at mental hospitals, that his sister had a history of hospitalizations for psychosis, and that the defendant's father was a very sadistic man who had beat the defendant and other family members and who had allegedly raped two of the defendant's sisters. Dr. Conroe further learned that the defendant had a history of alcohol and drug use. Based upon his review of the reports and his personal examination, he concluded that the defendant had a borderline personality disorder with the "capacity to go over into psychosis" and when he attacked the victim, he lacked the capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. He did, however, testify that the defendant understood the criminality of his actions when the murder was committed.

Dr. Rosenwald examined the defendant in September 1984 and found the defendant clinically and legally insane based solely on the tests that he had administered. However, he stated that he did not ask the defendant any questions regarding the details of what took place on February 12, 1984. Dr. Rosenwald further testified that although the defendant could not conform his conduct to the requirements of the law he might simultaneously appreciate the criminality of his act.

In rebuttal, the State called Dr. Albert Stipes and Dr. Gilbert Bogen, two psychiatrists from the Cook County Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Stipes testified that he examined the defendant on March 30, 1984, and his evaluation revealed that the defendant suffered from three disorders: (1) adjustment disorder with depressed mood; (2) intermittent explosive disorder; and (3) anti-social personality disorder. However, these disorders were not mental diseases or defects. Dr. Stipes stated that his examination of the defendant revealed no evidence of schizophrenia, hallucinations or any psychosis and when the incident occurred, the defendant did not exhibit any delusional thinking. Dr. Stipes further concluded that based on his interview with the defendant, psychological reports, the social history, and medical reports, on the date that the defendant struck the deceased he was able to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law and that the defendant was legally sane at the time the offense was committed.

Dr. Bogen testified that the defendant's behavior prior to and immediately after the incident was logical, understandable, deliberate and purposeful. Dr. Bogan also testified that the defendant suffers from five types of personality disorders and mental illness or defects. Furthermore, he opined that the defendant is able to conform his conduct to the law and appreciate the criminality of the offense and based on the evidence concluded that the defendant was sane at the time of the offense.

The jury found the defendant guilty of murder and attempted rape. However, they rejected the death penalty, and the court sentenced the defendant to natural life in the Illinois Department of Corrections. On appeal, we are called upon to determine whether reversible error occurred in connection with and during the defendant's pre-trial fitness hearing and whether the defendant was denied his constitutional right to a fair and impartial trial.

The defendant initially contends that reversible error was committed at the pre-trial fitness hearing when the trial court sua sponte ordered that the jury for the defendant's fitness hearing would consist of six persons. Defendant further contends that the fitness hearing was unfair and improperly conducted. Generally, in a criminal trial an accused is entitled to a twelve-person jury. However, a fitness hearing is not a part of the trial on the criminal charges against the defendant. (People v. Rosochacki (1969), 41 Ill.2d 483, 489-90, 244 N.E.2d 136; People v. McCullum (1977), 66 Ill.2d 306, 312, 5 Ill.Dec. 836, 362 N.E.2d 307.) Instead, a fitness hearing is a preliminary civil proceeding separately conducted to determine an accused's competency to stand trial. People...

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7 cases
  • People v. Colts
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • August 17, 1993
    ...propriety of the closing argument will not be reversed on appeal absent a clear abuse of discretion." People v. Williams (1991), 205 Ill.App.3d 715, 726, 151 Ill.Dec. 297, 564 N.E.2d 507. First, defendant argues that the prosecutor impermissibly argued that, when he spoke to police in the h......
  • People v. Barner
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • October 11, 2013
    ...personal attack on defense counsel but permissible attack on the substance of defendant's theory of the case); People v. Williams, 205 Ill. App. 3d 715 (1990) (no error when the prosecutor referred to defendant's insanity defense as a "last resort effort"since no other defense was available......
  • People v. Amaya, 3-93-0118
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • January 24, 1994
    ...reasonable presumption must be indulged in that the trial court properly exercised this discretion. (People v. Williams (1990), 205 Ill.App.3d 715, 726, 151 Ill.Dec. 297, 564 N.E.2d 507.) A prosecutor has wide latitude during closing argument to comment on the evidence presented, and the tr......
  • People v. Murphy
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • December 30, 1992
    ... ... The communications in the kitchen were intended to be confidential and were therefore privileged. There was no evidence Boo was in the kitchen during this conversation. Consequently, the trial court abused its discretion in denying the motion in limine. People v. Williams (1990), 205 Ill.App.3d 715, 724, 151 Ill.Dec. 297, 564 N.E.2d 507 ...         In contrast, the statements made in Boo's presence and those regarding the reward money were not intended to be ... [182 Ill.Dec. 227] confidential because a third person was present. Since they are not ... ...
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