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People v. Greenwood

SEPTEMBER 24, 1969.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JACQUES F. HEILINGOETTER, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.


Defendant was indicted in Indictment No. 67-1377 on two counts of aggravated battery of one Willie Plump. Count 1 of the indictment alleged that defendant committed a battery on Plump causing him great bodily harm; and Count 2 alleged a battery on Plump with the use of a deadly weapon. Defendant was also indicted in Indictment No. 67-1376 on two counts of aggravated battery of one Mance Porter. After a bench trial, defendant was found guilty of both counts of aggravated battery of Mance Porter and guilty of Count 2 of aggravated battery of Willie Plump; he was found not guilty of Count 1 of aggravated battery of Plump. Judgment was entered and defendant was sentenced for a term of four to five years on Count 2 of Indictment No. 67-1377 and for a term of from eight to ten years on Indictment No. 67-1376, the terms to run concurrently.

Defendant raises three points on appeal. First, defendant argues that the indictments are faulty, vague and insufficient, and do not identify the offense, nature of the elements and the statute violated. Secondly, defendant argues that the trial court erred in accepting a jury waiver from him. Thirdly, defendant argues that his sentence was excessive.


Defendant met Mance Porter, aged seventy, in Skinner Park at about 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. on May 16, 1966; before that time they had never met. They eventually went to Porter's apartment where some homosexual activity took place. According to Porter's testimony, when the homosexual act was completed, defendant put on his shorts and produced a pocket knife. Defendant asked Porter for money; and when Porter explained that he had none and that he was on social security, defendant came at him with the pocket knife. Defendant then went into the closet and came out with a butcher knife and cut Porter. Porter began to scream and defendant cut him again. Defendant then got an instrument that looked like a cake turner and cut him under the neck. Porter then lost consciousness.

Willie Plump testified that he resides in the building next to Porter. At about 3:15 a.m. on May 17 he heard Porter scream for help and he then proceeded to Porter's apartment. When he arrived at Porter's door, defendant came running out with a knife in his hand. Plump grappled with defendant and was able to disarm him. Defendant attempted to get dressed while holding Plump off with a chair. Defendant was unable to dress and fled through a window wearing only his shorts. Throughout the struggle, Porter was lying on the floor. The police arrived ten or fifteen minutes after defendant fled.

James Watkins testified that he lives in the same building as Porter and that about 3:15 a.m. on May 17 he heard voices and went to investigate. When he arrived at Porter's room he observed Porter lying on the floor bleeding; Plump was pushing defendant back. Both Plump and defendant were bleeding.

Officer Jack Johnson testified that he responded to a call and arrived at Porter's apartment at about 3:30 a.m. on May 17. He observed a man lying in a pool of blood. He had the man transported to the hospital.

Detective Donald Masnjak went to Porter's room at about 3:15 a.m. on May 17. The room was splattered with blood. He found some papers which had the name of the victim. He also found a wallet that contained a social security card with defendant's name on it.


Defendant's first argument is that the indictments are fatally defective. One alleged defect is that the indictments were issued by the April 1967 grand jury but charge defendant with crimes allegedly committed on May 17, 1967. This defect is not fatal, however, because the evidence disclosed that the crimes were actually committed on May 17, 1966, and the placing of the "1967" date on the indictment was a mere clerical error and did not, in any way, hamper the preparation of a defense or prejudice defendant. See People v. Bradley, 70 Ill. App.2d 281, 287-288, 217 N.E.2d 434.

Defendant next urges that Count 1 of Indictment No. 67-1376 fails to charge defendant with any offense. That count recites that defendant: . . . committed the offense of aggravated battery, in that he, intentionally and knowingly, without legal justification, committed a battery upon Mance Porter which caused great bodily harm to said Mance Porter in violation of Chapter 38, Section 12-4, of the Amended Illinois Revised Statutes 1965, contrary to the Statute, and against the peace and dignity of the same People of the State of Illinois.

Defendant's contention is that this count does not charge defendant with any offense since section 12-4 by itself without any further designation is no crime and does not inform the defendant of any specific charge against him. Defendant goes no further than to simply state this proposition; and we find it without merit. The aggravated battery statute, Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 38, § 12-4(a), defines the crime as follows:

A person who, in committing a battery, intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement commits aggravated battery and shall be imprisoned in a penal institution other than the penitentiary not ...

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