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People v. Townsend

JULY 24, 1969.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, JONATHAN TOWNSEND, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.


Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. TRAFTON DENNIS, Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded.

MORAN, J.

Defendant, Jonathan Townsend, appeals from a conviction for the crime of armed robbery, contending that the trial court committed reversible error in the admission of certain evidence.

On March 1, 1967, at about 8:15 a.m., a liquor store, known as Bob's Liquor Store, was held up in East St. Louis, Illinois, by two men who were armed with guns. The only other person in the store at the time was an employee by the name of Bobby Wilson.

Bobby Wilson testified that she was a barmaid and cook at Bob's Liquor Store in East St. Louis, had worked there for a period of seven years and that about 8:15 a.m., on March 1, 1967, she was held up by two colored men who came into the store. One man was "low and dark" and weighed about 135 or 140 pounds. The number two man was tall, with brown skin, and weighed about 140 pounds. She estimated his age to be in his 30's. She identified the number two man as the one in the courtroom at the time she was testifying. Both men took money from the cash registers in the front of the building. Townsend took her into the back room to a cabinet which he forced her to unlock and she gave him the receipts from the previous night, because she did not want to get hurt. After taking the money from the drawer, Townsend told her to stay in a coal bin for five minutes. She stayed there about five or six minutes and then came out and pulled the burglar alarm. In a few minutes the police arrived at the liquor store and she related to a Lieutenant Christian and Patrolman Cox what had happened. She gave them a description of the two men and told the police that she could identify them.

On March 6, 1967, Patrolman Cox presented her with about five photographs and she was able to identify one of the photographs as Jonathan Townsend. She further stated that his moustache is now a little shorter than it was the day of the holdup; that she knew Jonathan Townsend's mother for quite a few years and at one time was very friendly with him or acquainted with him to the point where she would know him when he would walk down the street, because she lived in the same neighborhood with him; that when she knew him he was older than her son and her son was then about fifteen years of age. The last time she saw Jonathan Townsend was March 1, 1967, and before that she did not remember the last time she had seen him. However, she did not mention the name, Jonathan Townsend, to the police when they first interviewed her on the day of the robbery because she did not recognize Jonathan Townsend as the man who held her up on that day.

Jacob Christian, an East St. Louis Police Officer with the rank of Lieutenant, testified that he was riding with a partner by the name of Robert Cox on the first day of March, 1967, when he received a dispatch at 8:15 in the morning to go to Bob's Liquor Store at 1135 North Second Street, East St. Louis, Illinois. When he arrived there, a person by the name of Bobby Wilson was in the store and she described the circumstances of the holdup to him. Over the objection of the defendant, Christian related what Mrs. Wilson had told him concerning the details of the holdup and also related the description that she had given of the holdup men. He said that she told him that the number one man was darkskinned, weighed about 140 pounds, was about 35 years of age, 5 feet 6 inches tall, and wore blue jeans and a cap. The number two man was brownskinned, weighed about 165 pounds, about 33 years of age, thin moustache, wearing a light jacket with a hood attached, both were carrying revolvers and she could identify both of them if they were apprehended. He also testified that he recorded her statement in the form of a written report at about ten or ten thirty in the morning, after they had returned to the police station.

Robert Cox, an East St. Louis policeman, testified that on the first day of March, 1967, he was working with Lieutenant Christian. Over the objection of the defendant, he read from the report prepared by Lieutenant Christian on that day, which included the following:

"A. It's as it is here. She said the No. 1 man was darkskinned, 140 lbs., 35 years of age, about 5' 6", wearing blue jeans and a cap. The No. 2 man was brownskinned, 165 pounds, 33 years of age, thin moustache, wearing a light jacket with a hood on it."

The witness then testified that on March 6, 1967, he was making a door-to-door investigation and gave to the occupants of different homes a physical description of the holdup men. The State's Attorney then asked:

"Q. Without going into that, did you have occasion to see Bobby Wilson on that date?

"A. On March 6?

"Q. Would it assist you in your recollection to hand you a copy of your report on that date?

"A. Yes, it would.

"Mr. Trotier: Same objection, ...


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