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United States v. Kanton

March 16, 1959


Author: Parkinson


PARKINSON, Circuit Judge.

Defendant-appellant Alphonse Kanton, William Lincoln and Earl Ramos were indicted for a violation of Title 18 U.S.C.A. ยง 2113. The Government elected to proceed solely on Count I of the indictment which charged that the defendants, on February 11, 1958, put in jeopardy the life of an employee of the federally insured Riverside Savings and Loan Association, Riverside, Illinois by the use of firearms and robbed said institution of $1,716.50.

Kanton was individually tried to a jury, Lincoln having been granted a severance and Ramos having pleaded guilty. Kanton was found guilty as charged and sentenced. This appeal followed.

About noon on February 10, 1958 two men attempted to rob the Riverside Savings and Loan Association. As it was closed on that date, the same men returned the following day and armed with revolvers and wearing rubber gloves and silk-stocking masks robbed the institution as charged.

Mr. John B. Harvey, Secretary of the Association, testified that he was there on Monday, February 10, 1958, and at approximately 11:45 a.m. two men appeared and rattled the door vigorously. He saw the face of one and, through a window, observed them get into a 1950 or 1951 dark green Mercury and drive away.

Marie Harvey testified that the following day at approximately 11:45 a.m., while she was there alone, two men with masks, guns and rubber gloves entered. One of them pointed a gun at her and ordered her to sit in a chair. The other person, whom she saw from the legs down only, was wearing blue jeans and was carrying a rust-red bag in his hand. After they got the money she was placed in the washroom and told not to call the police for five minutes or they would be back to "get" her. As both men left by the rear entrance she opened the washroom door and saw them get into a dark colored car and drive away. Later in the afternoon she was called to the Riverside Police Station and saw an automobile which in her opinion resembled the one used by the two robbers. She could not identify Kanton as either of the robbers.

Shortly after the robbery the police discovered an abandoned 1951 darkgreen Mercury in Riverside. This automobile had unmatched license plates with three other plates inside. It was owned by one James Vecchio and had been stolen on Sunday evening, February 9, 1958.

Kanton was arrested on March 18, 1958 by the Chicago Police in connection with a local matter. While being held he asked to talk to the FBI. He told FBI agents that he had information concerning a robbery in which they might be interested and asked what they could do for him.

A line-up was held that evening at the Central Police Headquarters. Mr. Harvey, Agents Shannahan and Scheiwe of the FBI and Lt. Pape of the Chicago Police were present. Kanton appeared in the line-up of six men and was identified by Mr. Harvey as one of the men whom he saw at the door on Monday, February 10, 1958. Mr. Harvey was then told that this man's name was Kanton. Kanton then admitted to Mr. Harvey that he had been to the Riverside Savings and Loan Association on February 10 and had returned on the 11th and robbed it.

Thereafter Agents Shannahan and Scheiwe interrogated Kanton.The answers were reduced to a short narrative form which was read to and by Kanton. Kanton made corrections which he initialed, and signed the statement in the presence of Shannahan and Scheiwe. Kanton also explained the method of departure after the robbery using a rough drawing prepared by Agent Scheiwe marking thereon the route taken.

The witness Raymond Wisniewski testified that he shared a flat with Kanton at 6526 South Laflin, Chicago, Illinois, and on Sunday, February 9, 1958, he asked Kanton if he would like to go to his brother's house that evening and Kanton said no, that he had to go out that night and pick up a car. The following morning Kanton saw Wisniewski and said that he would see him later in the afternoon. That afternoon Wisniewski asked Kanton how he had made out. Kanton replied that the place was closed and that he was going back "tomorrow." The following day, the 11th, he saw Kanton again in the morning; who stated that he was going to get rich.That afternoon he met him at 6526 South Laflin and upon asking how he made out, Kanton said to him: "Not too good. Only made about six or seven hundred dollars."

On April 30, 1958 Earl Ramos was interrogated by Agents Shannahan and Scheiwe concerning his possible participation in the robbery. The facts elicited at that time, and later testified to by Romos as a Government witness, were that he had known Kanton since childhood. They participated in the armed robberies of certain savings and loan associations in 1951, for which both had been sentenced to terms in federal institutions. On February 9, 1958 Kanton came to his home and told Ramos that he had a "score" (a place to be robbed) and did he "want to go with him." Ramos agreed and that evening they drove to the far south side of the city of Chicago in Kanton's car. There they located a dark green 1950 or 51 Mercury.Ramos jumped the ignition and, following Kanton, drove the stolen car to William Lincoln's garage in Lyons, Illinois and talked with Lincoln. They decided other license plates were needed and upon leaving Lincoln's home Kanton and Ramos stopped just off Harlem Avenue and stole the license plates from two automobiles.

The license plates were left in Kanton's car. The following morning Kanton picked Ramos up and drove past the Riverside Savings and Loan Association, saying to Ramos: "well, that's the score." They went to Lincoln's home and picked up surgical gloves, two .38caliber revolvers, and some silk-stockings to be used as masks. They then returned to the Riverside Savings and Loan Association. Upon arrival they went up to the ...

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