Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal
Division; the Hon. EDWARD E. PLUSDRAK, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE MCCORMICK DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.
DEFENSE AT TRIAL: Defendant was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
JUDGMENT: After a bench trial, the court found the defendant guilty and imposed a sentence of one to four years.
POINT RAISED ON APPEAL: Defendant was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
EVIDENCE: The complaining witness, Woodrow Flient, testified that he lived at 2430 South State Street with his wife and family; that on the night of February 27, 1965, he had been visiting his aunt who lived at 13255 South Evans, where he had stayed four or five hours; that while he was there he had nothing to eat or drink; and that he had gone there to pay her rent. He stated that he left about 1:00 a.m. (February 28), and drove to the Cut Rate Liquor Store located at 31st and Indiana Avenue, where he bought two bottles of beer, a half pint of Johnny Walker whiskey and some pop; that the items were put into two bags. He testified that he had not had a drink; that he started walking to his car which was parked nearby on 31st Street, when he felt someone touching his pocket; that he turned to his left and was struck in the face by a man who had been following him. He testified that he could not see very well what the man had in his hand; that it looked like a stick (on cross-examination he said he could not see it); that he was struck a second blow and fell down, letting the packages drop; that as he lay there the defendant went through Flient's pockets and took ten or twelve dollars, the keys to his car, and a pair of glasses. He stated that he then saw two other men with the defendant.
The witness further testified that when the police came he told them what had happened. He said that he described the three men and "identified one." At the trial he described the defendant as a dark-skinned Negro, about 5'8" or 5'9", weighing about 169 pounds, wearing dark pants, and something like a sweater with an emblem on it over his shirt, and a dark jacket. Flient then described the other two men in great detail. He further testified that the defendant had a scar about an inch long on the side of his face.
Flient said he did not tell the police that he could not describe two of the three men, and on cross-examination the following took place:
Q. And if the police said that you told them that the man had taken a half a pint of Johnny Walker whiskey from you, that would be incorrect; . . .
A. That would be incorrect, because everything
Q. You didn't tell the police that they took a half a pint of Johnny Walker whiskey from you, did you?
A. No, I did not. Could I tell what happened?
Q. That's all I want to know.
On direct examination the witness testified that when he was struck he fell and dropped the bottles of beer, the half pint of whiskey, and the six bottles of Coca Cola. He stated, "They took my belongings." It is ...