Supreme Court Summaries
Opinions filed March 21, 2013
People v. Bailey, 2013 IL 113690
Appellate citation: 2011 IL App (1st) 090074-U.
JUSTICE GARMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.
In 2006, an 80-year-old man was found strangled to death in his apartment in Riverdale. The victim’s garage was empty, but his car was later recovered several blocks away. The keys to the car were in the possession of this defendant when he was arrested in connection with an unrelated incident in Dolton. Bailey was also in possession of the victim’s checkbook and apartment keys. Fingerprints matching Bailey’s were found at the apartment, which was in disarray.
Bailey was charged with the homicide and with home invasion and robbery of a senior citizen. He had given incriminating statements to police, but he denied them at trial, although he admitted in his testimony that he had known the victim and had done odd jobs for him.
At the time of the defendant’s Cook County jury trial, the death penalty was still in effect, although it has since been abolished. The jury returned a general verdict of guilty of first degree murder and Bailey received a natural life sentence for the homicide, with concurrent terms of years for the other two offenses.
On appeal, the defendant complained that he had requested separate verdict forms for felony murder, but that the trial court had refused his request, even though he had been specifically charged with felony murder. This was error, both the appellate and supreme courts agreed.
In this decision, the supreme court held that the trial court’s refusal to submit separate verdict forms for felony murder brought about the sentencing result of a natural life term, which is what Bailey complained of on appeal. The natural life sentence was vacated and the cause was remanded to the circuit court for resentencing on the homicide under the statute applicable at the time of trial (730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(a) (West 2006)), which provided for a term of not less than 20 nor more than 60 years.