Other crimes evidence is admissible to show consciousness of guilt.
Putting a kid’s hand in a vice, threatening to cut off his hand with a chainsaw, and threatening to kill him if he tells anyone sounds relevant. Why Else Put a Kid’s Hand in a Vice and Threatening to Kill Him?
People v. Rogers, 14 IL App (4th) 121088 (July).
Defendant was angry that the 14 year old victim had broken into his house. Defendant then gouged the victim’s eyes, hit him in the nose, and drove him into a workshop in the country.
At the workshop, Defendant put the kid’s hand in vise and threatened to smash it and to cut it off with a chainsaw if the kid did not confess to the break in.
Defendant threatened to kill the victim if he told anyone how his nose was broken.
Defendant claims that the incident at the workshop should not have been admitted into evidence because he was not charged with anything that happened there. Therefore, that testimony amounted to improper other crimes evidence.
“It is well settled under the common law that evidence of other crimes is admissible if relevant for any purpose other than to show a defendant’s propensity to commit crimes.”
Evidence of other crimes is admissible to show:
- lack of mistake and
- modus operandi.
Also, other crimes evidence is admissible to show consciousness of guilt.
However, even if such evidence is offered for a permissible purpose, it “will not be admitted if its prejudicial impact substantially outweighs its probative value.”
In this case, evidence relating to defendant’s conduct in the workshop (e.g., placing the victim’s hand in a vise and threatening to cut off his arm with a power saw) and the ensuing threat to kill the victim and a witness were admitted to show why the boys were afraid of defendant and did not report the incident.
The incident at the workshop vividly explains why neither the victim nor Z.C. promptly disclosed defendant’s offenses to their parents or law enforcement. Defendant’s threat to kill the boys was an attempt to intimidate witnesses and avoid police detection. Such conduct indicates consciousness of guilt.
The trial court did not err in admitting the other crimes evidence. Nor, was the evidence unduly prejudicial as the evidence against defendant was overwhelming.
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