People v. Williams, 44031

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtUNDERWOOD
Citation60 Ill.2d 1,322 N.E.2d 819
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Jerome WILLIAMS, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 44031,44031
Decision Date30 January 1975

Page 819

322 N.E.2d 819
60 Ill.2d 1
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee,
Jerome WILLIAMS, Appellant.
No. 44031.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
Jan. 30, 1975.

[60 Ill.2d 4]

Page 821

Earl L. Washington, Chicago, and James Geis and Robert Agostinelli, State App. Defender's Office, Ottawa, for appellant.

William J. Scott, Atty. Gen., Springfield (James B. Zagel and Donald Hubert, Asst. Attys. Gen., of counsel), for the People.

UNDERWOOD, Chief Justice.

The defendant, Jerome Williams, was indicted by a Will County grand jury for burglary, armed robbery, murder and felony-murder. A jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts. The trial judge sentenced Williams to serve concurrent terms of 10 to 20 years for burglary and 20 to 40 years for armed robbery, and imposed an additional term of 75 to 100 years for murder, to be served consecutively to the terms for burglary and armed robbery.

In seeking reversal defendant contends that: (1) Improper identification procedures were utilized by police; (2) prejudicial error was committed when the trial judge allowed into evidence an inflammatory and irrelevant photograph of the dead body of the murder victim; (3) his [60 Ill.2d 5] guilt was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt; (4) the trial judge erred by refusing to respond to questions asked of him by the jury during its deliberations; and (5) the sentences imposed by the trial judge were improper and excessive.

At approximately 11 p.m. on the evening of May 4, 1970, two men, pretending to have car trouble, forced their way into

Page 822

the home of Joseph and Helen Calderone when Mr. Calderone opened the front door. Immediately upon their entry, a scuffle ensued and Mr. Calderone, who carried an unloaded revolver, was shot in the head and killed by one of the men. Mrs. Calderone had been sleeping in the bedroom, but awakened shortly before the shooting to find her husband sitting on the edge of his bed, dressed in pajama bottoms and a robe. The doorbell had apparently rung and after a few words with his wife, Mr. Calderone left to answer the front door, where he commenced a conversation with someone at the door. Mrs. Calderone could hear her husband's voice clearly, but the other voices were muffled as if the door was still closed. She asked who was at the door, and he replied that some people were having car trouble. She heard him tell them that he would telephone a service station, but she called to him that he probably wouldn't find a station open at that hour of the night. Instead of calling a gas station, he returned to the bedroom where she observed him put on his trousers over his pajama bottoms, tuck his robe into his trousers, take a gun from a dresser drawer and leave again to open the front door. She then heard the scuffle and a loud popping noise and started to leave the bedroom to investigate, but was confronted in the hallway by a tall, thin black man who ordered her back to the bedroom. The tall man and a second black man, who was shorter and heavier, then entered the bedroom and questioned her about the location of the telephone. After learning that it was in the kitchen, both men left the bedroom and apparently, in light of the sounds heard by Mrs. Calderone and the [60 Ill.2d 6] subsequent condition of the phone, went to the kitchen and pulled out the cord, disconnecting the phone. In a short time, they returned to the bedroom and the tall man pointed a gun at Mrs. Calderone, demanding to know where the rest of their money was located. She informed them that her purse was in the living room and both men again left the bedroom for a few minutes, but soon returned for a third time. At the direction of the tall man, Mrs. Calderone turned on her side and he then bound her hands and feet with wire and placed a piece of adhesive tape across her mouth. The men left the Calderone home shortly thereafter, taking a typewriter, $200 from Mr. Calderone's money clip, Mrs. Calderone's purse containing about $25, a color television, and the revolver which Mr. Calderone had carried to the front door. Mrs. Calderone estimated that the men were present in the house for about 15 minutes and were actually in her presence for about one-half that time. There was no light on in the bedroom, but she was able to see the assailants due to illumination provided by lights in the bathroom and hallway which both adjoined the bedroom. The Calderone's son was at home at the time of the crime, but was asleep in his own room.

Shortly after the crime, Mrs. Calderone gave a description of the two assailants to police officers. She described the man with the gun as a very tall, thin black male, wearing a hat with a narrow brim, sunglasses, a gray jacket and pants. She added that he spoke quite clearly and that she had seen his ears, the general shape of his face and his hair line, indicating that his hair was short and cropped close to his head. She made no mention of a moustache.

The defendant was arrested on May 20, 1970, in the company of another black man named Leroy Watts. Later that day two deputy sheriffs went to see Mrs. Calderone and showed her eight photographs, each containing several views of a black male. They asked her not to look at the [60 Ill.2d 7] backs of the photographs, but made no other comments regarding the photographs or the men shown in them. Four of the photographs were of different unidentified black males. A fifth was a photograph of Leroy Watts, and the remaining three were of the defendant. One of these three was a black-and-white shot showing a side and a front view of the defendant's head and upper body, with the defendant wearing a

Page 823

narrow-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Another black-and-white photo showed similar views of the defendant, dressed in the same clothes, but without the hat and sunglasses. The third photograph of the defendant was a color shot of him wearing different clothes than in the two black-and-white photographs. It showed a side and a front view of his head and upper body and also a frontal view of his entire body standing next to a height marker which revealed that he was several inches taller than six feet. Mrs. Calderone picked out all three photographs of the defendant as a picture of the tall man with the gun who had entered her house on May 4, 1970. She was unable to identify any of the other five men in the photographs as the second assailant. The police immediately took Mrs. Calderone to the station to view a lineup, without telling her that the man she had just identified was presently in custody or that he would be in the lineup. The defendant was in fact the third man in the lineup, and when he turned toward Mrs. Calderone, she pointed toward him and fainted. After being revived, she positively identified the defendant as the tall assailant with a gun.

After hearing evidence of this entire procedure outside the presence of the jury, the trial judge denied a motion to suppress the identification testimony of Mrs. Calderone. She then related the same story to the jury and made a positive in-court identification of the defendant, who had shaven off the moustache he had worn in the photographs and at the lineup. In addition to Mrs. Calderone's identification, the other significant evidence against defendant was the testimony of fingerprint experts establishing [60 Ill.2d 8] that defendant's thumbprint had been lifted from the cover of a role of adhesive tape found in the Calderone bedroom immediately after the crime.

The defendant presented an alibi defense, which was directly supported by the testimony of a girl friend who claimed to have been with the defendant at the time of the crime, and partially corroborated by the testimony of his foster mother. He attempted to explain his fingerprint on the adhesive-tape cover by relating an incident--allegedly occurring several days prior to the date of the crime--in which he had attempted to help Leroy Watts repair the tape deck in his automobile. While searching for a screwdriver in Watts's glove compartment, defendant claimed that he touched several other items, including an adhesive-tape dispenser. The clear implication of this...

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