People v. Yeoman, 2016 IL App (3d) 140324 (June). Episode 201 (Duration 4:29)
Single blow second degree murder is vacated.
This was a road rage situation that lead to defendant and the victim getting out of their cars.
Defendant punched elder victim one time in the face.
That was the only blow that was struck during the entire confrontation by either party.
Victim was stunned or knocked out, fell back, and hit his head on the pavement. Victim was disorientated and began throwing up. An ambulance was called.
Tests revealed that his skull was broken on the left front area of his forehead, that he had suffered a large scale hematoma at the top and front of his head, and that he had bleeding on both sides of his brain and within his brain.
Three months after the incident occurred, the victim passed away as a result of his injuries.
Defendant was charged with two counts of second degree murder (Class 1 felonies), one count of aggravated battery of a senior citizen (a Class 2 felony), one count of aggravated battery on a public way (a Class 3 felony), and one count of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm (a Class 3 felony).
Defendant was 39 years old, had been a carpet installer for the past 22 years, he was 5’7″ tall, and he weighed 160 pounds. Similarly, victim was almost 64 years old, he was very active and had great mobility for his age, he was 5’6″ tall, and he weighed 160 pounds as well.
The jury found defendant guilty of all four charges.
There is a long-standing general rule in this state that death is not ordinarily contemplated as a natural consequence of a blow or blows from a bare fist. There are, however, some exceptions to the general rule that have been recognized over the years. See Podcast Episode 151. People v. Nibbe, 2016 IL App (4th) 140363, ¶ 28.
For example, the courts have held that striking another person with a bare fist may constitute murder when there is a great disparity in size and strength between the defendant and the victim.
The reviewing court held that this conduct alone was not the type of conduct that would generally create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to the victim. the evidence was insufficient to prove the knowledge element of the second degree murder charge.
Defendant, therefore, could not have knowledge that such a result was practically certain to occur. See 720 ILCS 5/4-5(b). See also Nibbe, 2016 IL App (4th) 140363, ¶ 34.
Defendant’s conviction for second degree murder was, thus, reversed, and sentence for aggravated battery to a senior citizen was affirmed.
Also, supposed Lynch material was properly excluded because there was no indication in the prior statement that the victim made at the group counseling session that he did anything more than approach the offending vehicle and possibly yell at the driver. Such conduct is not sufficient to qualify as aggressive and violent behavior.