KANKAKEE — Over the course of three hours of being interviewed by two Kankakee police investigators, Dannie L. Kendrick Jr. changed his alibi twice before confessing he was the one who robbed and shot Joseph “Joe Buck” Buckner III in November 2011.
On Friday, retired Kankakee police Detective Randy Hartman testified about the interview and the tactics used in the interview. Hartman was one of the investigators who worked the case.
The 27-year-old Kendrick is charged with murder and armed robbery. He is alleged to have forced Buckner out of his vehicle at gunpoint and demanded money at 7:52 p.m. Nov. 25, 2011.
Kendrick and his 27-year-old cousin, Ricky J. Kendrick Jr., were allegedly in the neighborhood to break into a home.
Ricky Kendrick is serving a 15-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to armed robbery with a dangerous weapon in August 2014. He originally was charged with murder.
The trial continued today with the jury expected to begin deliberations.
Hartman took over the interview from Detective Avery Ivey, who left to check on Dannie Kendrick’s alibi.
At that point, Kendrick said he was at his uncle’s house, had gone to a business on East Court Street and then to get his hair styled by Kankakee barber/stylist Issaclarome Watkins. He said he was not in the 700 block of South Lincoln Avenue with his cousin when Buckner was shot.
Kendrick’s attorneys, Dawn Landwehr and assistant public defender Benjamin Lawson, argue that their client was forced to confess.
During Hartman’s interview, he tells Kendrick, “You’re in some deep (crap) now.” and “You don’t want to paint yourself into a corner.”
“I wanted him to know it was serious,” Hartman said in response to a question about his tactics from Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe.
Another time Hartman said to Kendrick: “You don’t want to paint yourself into a corner.”
“You are trying to switch things up, so you are not saying the word lie all the time,” Hartman said.
As Kendrick’s interview continued, he changed his alibi to say Ricky had the gun and was the one who robbed and shot Buckner, who Ricky had known most of his life.
Ricky Kendrick testified last week, saying he walked away when Dannie decided to rob Buckner. Ricky said he knew Buckner and could not be a part of it.
Hartman asked Dannie Kendrick if he shot Buckner is self defense. “If you did, it is a different story,” Hartman said.
Hartman explained it is the type of question used to “trigger the truth.” Hartman knew Buckner did not have a gun.
Into the second hour of the interview, Kendrick admits to being the one who robbed and shot Buckner. He said he did not think the gun was loaded. Kendrick said when Buckner grabbed the gun he fired in self defense.
“My intention was not to shoot him,” Kendrick said.
At one point, he corrects Hartman as to how he was handling the gun when he robbed Buckner.
During cross examination from Landwehr, Hartman testified that he didn’t say he wasn’t lying during his questioning of Kendrick.
“I went into the interview to find the truth. The truth is the ultimate result,” Hartman said.
Landwehr came back at Hartman about his tactics interviewing suspects.
Do you lie to suspects (you interview)?” she said.
“Yes, I lie” Hartman said.
“Does lying get you the truth?”
“Sometimes,” Hartman said.
“You don’t lie all the time?”
“No,” Hartman said.
Landwher called Dr. Melissa Russano, a professor at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Russano is an experimental psychologist with an expertise in the field of interrogation techniques.
Russano was used to help jurors understand such techniques. While she viewed the interviews of Dannie Kendrick, she was not allowed to offer an opinion on the interview or techniques used by investigators.
There are three types of false confessions, Russano said.
A voluntary confession is used by a suspect to protect themselves.
A compliant confession is one where the suspect knows they are innocent but want things to stop.
In a persuaded false confession, tactics by investigators cause an innocent suspect to doubt his memory. It causes the suspect to believe they probably did commit the crime without having any memory of committing it.
According to a story in Roger Williams University’s website, Russano works with law enforcement and the intelligence community to understand the best techniques to elicit reliable information from witnesses, suspects and sources. For example, in February 2017, Russano participated in a program to train local police departments on evidence-based interviewing and interrogation techniques.