Murder Conviction Reversed Based on An Accountability Theory

In People v. Perez, 189 Ill. 2d 254, 244 Ill. Dec. 371, 725 N.E.2d 1258 (2000), the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the defendant's conviction for first degree murder based on an accountability theory where the defendant was merely present at the time of a gang-related shooting and fled the scene of the crime. In Perez, the defendant drove by a group of people and was hailed by a member of the Maniac Latin (Disciples) Gang, Rivera. As the defendant approached the group of people, Rivera asked him whether one of the men standing in the group was a member of the rival Latin Kings gang. Defendant pointed his finger at the victim. Rivera then fired five or six gunshots at the victim. The Court held that while defendant was present at the scene of the crime, knew of its commission and fled the scene, the evidence was not sufficient to prove that he intentionally aided in or encouraged the crime's commission. Perez, 189 Ill. 2d at 268. The evidence at trial which indicated defendant sometimes associated with members of the Disciples, did not know of the ongoing altercations between the victim and Rivera and did not know that anyone at the scene was armed was insufficient to prove defendant guilty of murder based on an accountability theory. Perez, 189 Ill. 2d at 268-69.