JUNE 1, 2007
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ) Appeal from the
) Circuit Court of
Plaintiff-Appellee, ) Cook County.
v. ) No. 02 CR 3248
JAMAL BAKR, ) Honorable
) Nicholas Ford,
Defendant-Appellant. ) Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE TULLY delivered the opinion of the court:
Following a jury trial, defendant-appellant Jamal Bakr (defendant) was convicted of first
degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm and sentenced to consecutive 50- and 10-
year prison terms. On appeal, defendant contends (1) that the trial court erred in admitting the
videotaped statements of two codefendants as substantive evidence against defendant, and (2)
that he was denied a fair trial due to the cumulative impact of instances of prosecutorial
misconduct. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
On the evening of October 19, 2001, Elmercelo Rivera, Daniel Ortiz, Wanda Colon, Luis
Colon, and Gene Colon were in the vicinity of 43rd Street and Ashland Avenue in Chicago,
Illinois, to watch some drag races. The races took place every weekend during the summer, and
the people who took part in them were known locally as “Racers.” On this particular evening, the
races were broken up by police just after midnight. At this time, Elmercelo, Daniel, Wanda, Luis,
and Gene left the area and went to a Dunkin Donuts shop in a strip mall on 43rd Street and
Ashland where they ordered food.
The group was standing in the parking lot by Elmercelo’s car finishing their food when a
blue Chevrolet Astro van drove by. The van was driven by Antonio Gomez, a member of the
Almighty Latin Saints gang. Gomez was accompanied by fellow gang members Jesus Nevarez,
Oscar Garcia, Jorge Melendez, and defendant. When the men saw Elmercelo, Daniel, Wanda,