Does a Defendant's Age Background and Criminal History Justify a Consecutive Sentence ?

In People v. O'Neal, 125 Ill. 2d 291, 531 N.E.2d 366, 126 Ill. Dec. 71 (1988), the defendant was convicted of murder, rape, and aggravated kidnaping. He was sentenced to 20 years for rape and 15 years for aggravated kidnaping, to run concurrently. He was also sentenced to 40 years for murder, to run consecutively to the other two sentences. The O'Neal court concluded that the facts of the case did not justify the consecutive sentence given the defendant's age, background, and criminal history. O'Neal, 125 Ill. 2d at 301. Specifically, the defendant was 19 years old, had only one prior conviction, had been oppressed by the individual he murdered (his co-offender), and had been forced by the co-offender to commit other crimes and lewd sexual acts. The court also noted that the defendant did not harm the victim, who defendant and his co-offender had robbed and raped prior to the murder, after he had killed his co-offender. O'Neal, 125 Ill. 2d at 300.