October 17, 2007
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ) Appeal from the
) Circuit Court of
Plaintiff-Appellee, ) Cook County.
v. ) No. 03CR16347
ROMARIS WALTON, ) The Honorable
) Christopher J. Donnelly,
Defendant-Appellant. ) Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE GREIMAN delivered the opinion of the court:
Following a bench trial, defendant Romaris Walton was convicted of two counts of first
degree murder and sentenced to 32 years’ imprisonment. On appeal, defendant asserts that (1) he
was denied effective assistance of counsel and due process of law when trial counsel usurped his
right to decide whether to seek a conviction on the lesser mitigated offense of second degree
murder, and instead proceeded with an all-or-nothing defense; and (2) his second conviction for
first degree murder must be vacated because it violates the one-act, one-crime doctrine. We
affirm as modified.
Defendant was charged with intentional murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West 2002)) and
knowing murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2) (West 2002)) in connection with the stabbing death of
Kenneth Taylor on July 9, 2003. Defendant waived his right to a jury trial and elected a bench
trial, where he advanced the theory of self-defense.
The following evidence was adduced at defendant’s bench trial. Johnnie Brown testified
that on July 7, 2003, she met defendant, who introduced himself as “William,” and learned that