Derrick Morgan was indicated for two counts of murder and one count of armed violence (R.1526-33).

The state later dismissed the armed violence charge against Mr Morgan. (R.173) During voir dire, the trial court refused to ask jurors if they would automatically impose the death penalty if they convicted Mr. Morgan (R.257) in the presence of the venire, the trial court told several jurors that the juries function was to recommend whether the defendant receive the death penalty. (R.189, 192-93, 441, 444) the trial court excused several jurors because of their views on the death penalty. (R.18-92, 514-18) The defendant moved for a mistrial because the state had excused two of three black jurors and the trial court ordered the state to explain why it had used peremptory challenges against those jurors. The prosecutor explained that he had excused one juror because of a hunch that she had been on a jury that had acquitted someone and because she work for the post office. He explained that he had excluded the other juror because he was explained that he had excluded the other juror because he was unemployed and had failed to completely fill out his juror identification card. The trial court denied the request for a mistrial (R.299-303) At trial, LaShone Joyner testified that on December 17, 1985 she lived with the descendent, David "Swift" Smith, in an apartment at 4709 South Indiana in Chicago. (R.650) At about 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. Ms. Joyner awoke to find the descendent home. Mr. Morgan an old friend of the decedent’s arrived shortly thereafter. (R.661-62, 679)

The decedent's left with Mr. Morgan, telling Ms Joyner that if anything happened to him he was with Mr. Morgan (R.664-65) Thomas Kapenga, a Chicago police officer, saw the descendent leave the building at 4709 South Indiana at 8:30 p.m. with another man. (R.834, 836) Two men crossed the street and entered a grocery store and then left the grocery store together. (R 839-40) Officer Robert Skahill also saw the decedent and another man leave the apartment building and walk toward the grocery store. (R 969, 972) Officer Skahill told two other police officers that he had then seen the decedent leave the grocery store and walk alone north on Indiana. (R. 975, 982) Officer Kampenga testified that at 9:15 p.m. he went to 4527 South Calumet. In a vacant apartment on the 2nd floor he discovered the decedent’s body lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Next to the body was a clear plastic bag containing white powder. (R 840-42) Officer Robertson testified that on April 9, 1986 he talked to Milbon Lockridge, one of Mr Morgan's co-defendants. (R.897, 1530) Robertson took Lockridge, to the gang prosecution unit. (R. 898) there, Robertson listened to a conversation between Lockridge and a prosecutor and then took Lockridge to the grand jury. (R. 900) Robertson then was assigned to investigate Smith's murder and began looking for Mr Morgan. (R. 902) Robertson later learned that Mr Morgan was in custody in the Laporte County jail in Indiana. (R.904-05)

William Benjamin testified that in May, 1986 he was in the LaPorte co unit jail serving a sentence of 115 days for driving under influence (R. 703) Benjamin claimed to have been in cell block 5 south. Sgt Clayton Jordan, who was in charge of security at the jail, testified that Benjamin was housed in cellblock 5 South central, while Mr Morgan was in cellblock 5 south. (R 704, 1039-41) Benjamin testified that whilst in cellblock 5 south, he talked to the defendant, whom he knows as Larry Tate, on a Saturday night at 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. (R 704, 721) Benjamin was unsure as to when the conversation took place, but believed that it was on a Saturday in the middle of may. (R 722) Benjamin testified that he was in Mr Morgan's cell, alone with Mr. Morgan. Benjamin had told the police that he had overheard Mr Morgan's confession to another man as Benjamin passed by Morgan's cell. ( R 925) Benjamin testified that Mr Morgan told him that Mr Morgan was wanted in Chicago for a murder the he had committed with two other El Rukns. (R 716) Benjamin testified that Mr Morgan had told him that he had been paid to kill a friend Swift, receiving $2000 before the killing and $2000 after the killing. Mr Morgan said that his two cohorts were B-bop and Poncho. Benjamin testified Mr Morgan had put a bag of flour in an abandoned apartment building on calumet Avenue, and had then gone to Swift's house, telling Swift that they had to go get cocaine. Mr Morgan walked with the decedent to the apartment, where B-bop waited while poncho waited outside in a car. Benjamin testified that Mr Morgan told him that he had handed the decedent a bag of flour and as soon as the decendent had tasted it had shot him in the head five or six times with a 357 (R 717, 718, 721) Benjamin testified that this conversation lasted 30 to 45 minutes (R 729) WHILE denying that he had told police that he had overheard this conversation, Mr Benjamin conceded that when interviewed on June 12, 1986, he my have told the police that the conversation had occurred one day before Memorial Day, rather than in the middle of May. (R 724, 741) Benjamin denied asking the police for anything in return for his information (R 731, 733) After telling the police his story, Benjamin was moved from the felony section of the jail to a one man cell (R 743)

In addition to testifying that Benjamin and Mr Morgan had been housed in different cellblocks during May, 1986 Sgt Jordan testified that inmates in one cellblock cannot mingle with inmates in another cellblock. (R 1039_41) Benjamin also testified that Mr Morgan had told him that he planned to escape from the Laporte County jail. Benjamin said that Morgan would be taken to a dentist's office, where B-bop would be waiting. The two guards would be killed and Mr Morgan and B-bop would go to Chicago. (R 719) Officer Robertson testified that he was familiar with the El Rukns, a street gang. (R 882) Robertson said that Mr Morgan was a soldier in the El Rukns. (R 889) Robertson said that Milbon Lockridge was also known as Poncho, that Lockridge was a El Rukn, and that his rank was soldier. (R 889-92)

Robertson said that Harry Evans was a General in the El Rukns and was known as General B-bop. (R 894) During the trial the defense alleged that the state had improperly influenced Benjamin's identification of Mr Morgan by pointing out to Benjamin the defendants identification of Mr Morgan by pointing out to Benjamin the defendants two attorneys. Mr Morgan and both of his attorneys were black. (R 705, 707, 1730) The trial court refused to grant a hearing and denied the motion. (R. 714) The defense attempted to present the testimony of Frank Brown. Brown would have testified that he was a friend of Elbert Dunnigan, the decedent and Derrick Morgan. He would have testified that he had been incarcerated in the La Porte county jail with Dunnigan and Morgan, that Morgan and Benjamin were in different cellblocks, but that Benjamin and Dunnigan were in the same cellblock. Brown also would have testified that he knew that Dunnigan had threatened the decedent prior to the decedents death and that Dunnigan had on two occasions asking Mr Brown to falsely implicate Mr Morgan in the decedents murder. (R 1060-60) The trial court admonished Brown at length concerning his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination, and Brown declined to testify. (R 1057-59, 1111-12) The defense attempted to present the testimony of Harry Evans to establish that the state had threatened defense witnesses. The court told Evans of the penalty for perjury and his right against selfincrimination. Evans refused to testify. (R 964, 1011, 1015-17) Barbara Baker testified on behalf of Mr Morgan that she had seen the decedent sell drugs and use cocaine. When the defense attempted to put on an alibi through Ms Bakers testimony the trial court sustained the states objection that the defense had failed to reveal to the state that Ms Baker would be an alibi witness and struck Ms Bakers testimony. ( R 1089-90, 1101) The defense had filed a written answer to the states motion for discovery stating that it would rely on an alibi defense and listing Barbara Baker as a witness. ( R 1608)

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