People v. Kent


2020 IL App (2d) 180887 No. 2-18-0887 Opinion filed December 30, 2020 ______________________________________________________________________________ IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS SECOND DISTRICT ______________________________________________________________________________ THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE ) Appeal from the Circuit Court OF ILLINOIS, ) of Winnebago County. ) Plaintiff-Appellee, ) ) v. ) No. 13-CF-1611 ) ) Honorable LORENZO KENT JR., ) Joseph W. McGraw and ) Fernando L. Engelsma, Defendant-Appellant. ) Judges, Presiding. ______________________________________________________________________________ JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices McLaren and Jorgensen concurred in the judgment and opinion. OPINION ¶1 Defendant, Lorenzo Kent Jr., appeals his conviction of first-degree murder. He challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, the admission of a witness’s prior testimony and identification evidence, and the admission of two .22-caliber cartridges recovered during the search of the apartment in which defendant was arrested two days after the murder. Defendant also raises ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims. For the following reasons, we reverse and remand. ¶2 I. BACKGROUND ¶3 On the evening of May 6, 2013, Donmarquis Jackson was shot and killed in the driveway of 1428 Nelson Boulevard in Rockford. Defendant was convicted of the first-degree murder of 2020 IL App (2d) 180887 Donmarquis (see 720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West 2012)) and received an extended-term sentence of 55 years’ imprisonment for personally discharging the weapon (see 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(a)(1)(d)(iii) (West 2012)). On direct appeal, we reversed the conviction and remanded the cause for a new trial, based upon the improper admission of Facebook evidence. People v. Kent, 2017 IL App (2d) 140917. ¶4 A. Postremand Pretrial Proceedings ¶5 The parties returned to the trial court. On September 6, 2017, a jury trial date was set for November 13, 2017. The parties appeared for status hearings on September 25, 2017, and October 2, 2017. At the final pretrial conference, on November 1, 2017, the parties informed the trial court that they would be filing several motions in limine. The State further advised that “a couple of [the motions in limine] will have to do with unavailable witnesses and prior admission of transcripts from prior testimony” and that “[w]e’re still, obviously, searching for witnesses and we’ll keep searching for them.” Relevant to this appeal are the parties’ motions in limine with respect to witness Wesley Johnson III and defendant’s motion in limine from the first trial to exclude two .22-caliber cartridges recovered during the search of the apartment in which defendant was arrested two days after the murder. ¶6 1. State’s Motion in Limine to Admit Wesley’s Prior Testimony ¶7 As discussed in further detail below, Wesley was 13 years old on the date of the murder, lived a couple of blocks from 1428 Nelson Boulevard, and testified at the first trial that he witnessed the shooting and saw the shooter at the park earlier that evening. The State filed a motion in limine seeking a determination that Wesley was an unavailable witness pursuant to Illinois Rule of Evidence 804(a)(5) (eff. Jan. 1, 2011) and the admission of his testimony from the first trial …

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