People v. Woodrome, 5-91-0227

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtCHAPMAN
Citation237 Ill.App.3d 220,604 N.E.2d 486
Parties, 178 Ill.Dec. 230 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Michael E. WOODROME, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 5-91-0227,5-91-0227
Decision Date25 November 1992

Page 486

604 N.E.2d 486
237 Ill.App.3d 220, 178 Ill.Dec. 230
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Michael E. WOODROME, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 5-91-0227.
Appellate Court of Illinois,
Fifth District.
Nov. 25, 1992.

Page 488

[237 Ill.App.3d 222] [178 Ill.Dec. 232] Daniel M. Kirwan, Deputy Defender, Stanley P. Stasiulis, Assistant Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Fifth Judicial District, Mt. Vernon, for defendant-appellant.

Hon. Robert Haida, State's Atty., St. Clair County, Belleville, Norbert J. Goetten, Director, Stephen E. Norris, Deputy Director, Scott A. Manuel, Staff Atty., Office of the State's Attys. Appellate Prosecutor, Mt. Vernon, for plaintiff-appellee.

Justice CHAPMAN delivered the opinion of the court:

Michael Woodrome was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder and concealment of the homicidal death of Audie Wilson. He was sentenced to 50 years' imprisonment on the murder, to run consecutively to five years' imprisonment on the concealment of a homicidal death. Woodrome appeals. We affirm.

Paul Conklin testified that he and Audie Wilson, who are both 21 years old, went to a party at Bill and Sue Sturgill's house on April 8, 1990. The party was outside at the Sturgill residence. People at the party were drinking beer by a bonfire. Conklin was at the party for approximately 45 minutes, and while there someone pointed a gun at him, pulled the hammer back, and told him to run. Conklin did not know it at the time, but there were no shells in the gun. Conklin did not know the person who pointed the gun, but he testified that it was not Michael Woodrome. Conklin left the party and went next door to his cousin's home. Later Conklin returned to the party, but he did not stay because no one was outside by the bonfire and he could hear Bill and Sue Sturgill arguing.

[237 Ill.App.3d 223] Four other persons who were at the party testified. Linda Peach testified that she has known Bill Sturgill for 13 years and his wife for one year. That evening there were approximately 10 adults and Linda's four children at the party. Linda testified that the adults spent the evening outside by the bonfire drinking beer, and her children

Page 489

[178 Ill.Dec. 233] were in the house watching television. Linda does not drink or take drugs, but she testified that all of the other adults were drinking beer and a few were smoking marijuana. She saw Audie Wilson arrive at the party with Johnny Foster and Lisa Patterson.

During the early evening Linda heard screams coming from the house. Linda went inside and saw Bill and Sue Sturgill arguing. She saw Bill throw a microwave oven onto the floor. Linda did not know what they were arguing about. Linda testified that she saw Sue Sturgill flirting with Audie and just about everyone that evening. Linda testified that later in the evening she saw Woodrome drag Audie Wilson by the hair of his head out of the house and into the garage. William "Chewy" Schofield and Bill Sturgill followed them into the garage. Linda did not go into the garage. Approximately 5 or 10 minutes later Wayne Peach, her husband, went into the garage. Linda testified that Wayne has a bad temper. After Wayne went into the garage with the others, Linda heard screaming and music coming from there. Approximately 10 to 15 minutes later Linda heard Audie Wilson say, "Please, please, no more." Wayne came out of the garage and joined Linda by the bonfire. Wayne showed Linda his broken teeth from his false plate and told her that Audie Wilson hit him in the mouth. Wayne then told her that "they killed him."

Later that night, while in the house, Linda saw Woodrome rinsing off a knife in the kitchen sink. It appeared to her that there was blood on the knife. Schofield was there too. Later she saw Sue Sturgill, Bill Sturgill and Woodrome leave in a pickup truck. Linda did not see them load anything into the truck.

When the three returned, Linda and her husband were outside by the bonfire. Linda testified that Woodrome and the Sturgills pulled a large piece of wood from the truck and threw it on the bonfire. Schofield and Woodrome changed their clothes and burned clothes and rags that appeared to have blood on them. Linda and most of the others spent the night at the Sturgill residence. Linda testified that she wanted to leave, but Wayne told her not to because if she left the others might come after her. Linda left early the next morning with her children because she and the children had to go to school.

Linda and Wayne Peach's daughter, Christine, testified that there were approximately 12 to 15 people at the party that night. She did [237 Ill.App.3d 224] not witness a fight that evening, but at one point she did hear screams coming from the garage. Christine testified that she could not tell if the screams were from someone in pain or from someone just yelling. "It sounded like a bunch of people yelling and someone screaming."

Susan "Sue" Sturgill testified that while she knows who Woodrome is she is not personally acquainted with him. Sue Sturgill testified that there were about four cases of beer at the party that night. At one point Woodrome, Wilson, Schofield and her husband Bill were "horseplaying" in the kitchen. Sue asked Bill to tell them to stop before anything was broken. Bill and Sue then went into the bathroom and talked for about 20 minutes. Sue testified that she did not fight with her husband that day but that they had an argument or discussion. She denied that her husband became physical or that he threw the microwave oven onto the floor. Sue testified that after they left the bathroom she went upstairs by herself for 30 minutes. She then went outside to the fire and stood by Bill. Woodrome called to Bill to come into the garage. When Bill went into the garage, Sue went into the house. Approximately 10 minutes later she saw Bill outside by the fire. Bill asked Linda to back their pickup truck into the driveway. Linda backed the truck up to the closed garage and returned to the house.

Bill and Woodrome came into the house and told Sue that they wanted her to drive them to Mascoutah to purchase cigarettes and soda. Sue did not want to make the trip, but she did because neither Bill nor Woodrome were licensed to drive. The Sturgills live approximately four miles from Mascoutah. Sue testified that just

Page 490

[178 Ill.Dec. 234] outside Mascoutah the men asked her to pull over. She did not think this unusual because she thought one of them was getting sick from the drinking activities. Sue pulled over and the men got out of the truck and retrieved something out of the truck that was bundled up in a ball. They told her to go on to Mascoutah to buy cigarettes and soda and to pick them up on her way back. She testified that she did not know what the men were doing.

When Sue picked the men up on her way back from town, she asked them what was going on and they said, "Don't worry about it, be cool, it will be cool." They then told her it was Audie Wilson's body. When the three of them returned to the party, Bill, Woodrome and Schofield asked her to get them a change of clothes. She did not see them throw anything on the bonfire except logs.

Sue Sturgill spoke with the police twice on April 12, 1990, and once on April 14, 1990. On cross-examination she admitted that she [237 Ill.App.3d 225] told the police the first time they questioned her on April 12 that she did not know when Audie Wilson left the party. When asked whether she lied to the police, Sturgill testified, "No, I did not know * * * I did not know there was a body back there * * * I don't recall what I said to him." Sue also admitted that it was not until April 14, 1990, that she advised the police that after returning from Mascoutah she was told that a body had been dumped. When they returned home from Mascoutah she went into her house, sat in the bathroom with her face in her hands and cried. She also told the police on April 14 that she noticed there was blood on the bathroom floor but thought it could have been from a female dog that was pregnant.

When asked on cross-examination whether she ever flirted with Audie Wilson, Sue replied, "No, sir. I'm married." Sue denied that her testimony was given in an attempt to persuade the State to be lenient with her husband.

Bill Sturgill testified that he was 32 years old and that pursuant to plea negotiations with the State the first-degree murder charge against him had been reduced to second-degree murder. As part of his agreement with the State Sturgill promised to testify in this case. He testified that he had not yet been sentenced on his second-degree murder conviction.

Bill testified that he had known Audie Wilson for 3 1/2 years. He has known Wayne Peach for 23 years, Michael Woodrome for about one year, and Schofield for approximately 1 1/2 months. He testified that Wayne Peach, Michael Woodrome and himself were all about 10 years older than Audie Wilson. Bill saw Audie Wilson arrive at the party with Paul Conklin. Bill testified that they started with 10 cases of beer at the party and that sometime during the evening they went out to purchase more beer. By morning all the beer was gone. Bill denies smoking marijuana that night. He testified that at any one time there were no more than 12 people at the party.

Bill Sturgill testified that he was intoxicated at the party, and he does not have a clear recollection of what happened that evening. He testified, however, that while he was outside by the fire he saw Woodrome drag Audie Wilson by the hair of his head into the garage. He does not know where Schofield or Wayne Peach were at the time. He also does not know where Linda was, but her children were in the house. After Bill saw Audie being dragged into the garage, he followed Wayne into the house. Wayne showed him his broken teeth and told Bill that Audie hit him in the mouth. Approximately 30 to 35 minutes later Woodrome...

To continue reading

Request your trial
8 cases
  • People v. Smith, 77078
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • June 19, 1997
    ...Miller, 79 Ill.2d at 464-65, 38 Ill.Dec. 775, 404 N.E.2d 199; Holtzman, 1 Ill.2d at 568, 116 N.E.2d 338; see also People v. Woodrome, 237 Ill.App.3d 220, 233-34, 178 Ill.Dec. 230, 604 N.E.2d 486 (1992) (new evidence of codefendant making out-of-court statement that defendant was not involve......
  • People v. Allen, 1-91-2621
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • November 10, 1994
    ...did not request the particular reasons for his consecutive sentence, so the issue was waived by him. People v. Woodrome (1992), 237 Ill.App.3d 220, 178 Ill.Dec. 230, 604 N.E.2d Moreover, an adequate statement does appear in the record to explain why the trial court thought the consecutive s......
  • People v. Merritte, s. 3-91-0687
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 23, 1993 legally accountable for his death. See Perez, 108 Ill.2d 70, 90 Ill.Dec. 932, 483 N.E.2d 250; see also People v. Woodrome (1992), 237 Ill.App.3d 220, 178 Ill.Dec. 230, 604 N.E.2d 486; People v. Walker (1992), 230 Ill.App.3d 377, 171 Ill.Dec. 732, 594 N.E.2d 1252; Hudson, 165 Ill.App.3d 3......
  • People v. Rush, 5-96-0430
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • January 16, 1998
    ...after trial, and it must not have been discoverable prior to trial through the exercise of due diligence. People v. Woodrome, 237 Ill.App.3d 220, 234, 178 Ill.Dec. 230, 240, 604 N.E.2d 486, 496 (1992); People v. [294 Ill.App.3d 344] Haun, 221 Ill.App.3d 164, 175, 163 Ill.Dec. 710, 718, 581 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT