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People v. Stoafer

JULY 22, 1969.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

KEITH STOAFER, ALSO KNOWN AS KEITH J. STOAFER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Marion County; the Hon. RAYMOND HORN, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.

GOLDENHERSH, P.J.

Rehearing denied October 16, 1969.

In an indictment returned in the Circuit Court of Marion County, defendant, Keith Stoafer, also known as Keith J. Stoafer, was charged in Counts I and II with the crime of Murder (c 38, § 9-1, Ill Rev Stats 1967) and in Count III with the crime of Voluntary Manslaughter (c 38, § 9-2, Ill Rev Stats 1967). In each count he was charged with killing one Harry M. Smith. Defendant was tried by jury and convicted of the offense of Voluntary Manslaughter. The court denied post-trial motions for Judgment n.o.v., new trial, and arrest of judgment and sentenced defendant to the Illinois State Penitentiary for not less than three (3) and not more than fourteen (14) years.

As grounds for reversal defendant argues that the evidence fails to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

On the night of September 14, 1967, defendant had spent several hours in the Block Tavern in Centralia playing pool and drinking beer. His wife, Ceola, was also in the tavern and spent several hours drinking beer and talking with the deceased, Harry M. Smith, hereafter called Smith.

Defendant left the tavern, alone, at about 10:30 p.m. Ceola Stoafer and Smith left the tavern together at approximately 10:45 p.m. in Smith's pickup truck. Smith drove the truck to a lane opposite the Terminal Road near the Paramount Club. At approximately 12:20 a.m. on September 15, 1967, someone opened the right door of the pickup truck and fired a shotgun at Smith, causing his death.

Mrs. Stoafer testified that she and Smith had been intimate over a period of five months, had sexual intercourse on the night in question, and at the time of the shooting they were both nude.

Barbara Hall testified that at approximately 11:10 p.m. on September 14, 1967, while parked in the parking lot of the Paramount Club, she observed a two-tone green Cadillac pull into the south entrance of the lot, turn off its lights and turn around. She had the bright lights on and saw the driver's face. She identified defendant as the driver.

Marvin Neabuhr was parked in the Paramount lot for a period of approximately two hours. He saw Barbara Hall there, and while she was there, a two-tone green 1957 Cadillac was driven onto the lot, turned around, and its headlights were turned off. Shortly thereafter the Cadillac drove away, in a northerly direction.

Kate McClelland testified that at about 12:30 a.m. on September 15th, she saw an automobile drive up the driveway which led to the trailer home occupied by defendant and his wife. The driveway is adjacent to the home of the witness. The automobile she saw had "high tail fins," as did defendant's Cadillac. She saw lights go on in defendant's trailer.

Grover Duncan testified that at approximately 12:45 a.m. on September 15th he was driving on Route 51, south of Centralia when a woman "flagged" him down. She was bloody, hysterical and only partly clothed. She told him "something horrible" had happened. He drove her to the City Hall in Centralia.

Dwight Cross, a Centralia police captain, testified that Mrs. Stoafer was brought to the police station at 12:35 a.m. and when he saw her, she was in the Duncan car. He and the Sheriff of Marion County went to the place where the pickup truck was parked, "about a mile south of Wamac." He described the scene, the interior of the truck, and the body of the deceased.

Martin Beck, Sheriff of Marion County, testified that he and Captain Cross went to the scene of the shooting. Don Donahue, a State Trooper, and Charles Mathus, Chief of Police of Wamac were there when they arrived.

Donald Donahue, a State Trooper, testified that at approximately 12:45 a.m. on September 15, in response to a call from the Centralia Police Department, he drove to the old Terminal Road and found a truck parked on a lane at the "junction of new 51 and old 51." It was approximately 50 to 75 feet east of old highway 51 and was ...


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