Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. RICHARD
A. HAREWOOD, Judge, presiding. Reversed.
MR. JUSTICE ENGLISH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.
Rehearing denied November 14, 1969.
Attempt (robbery). Ill Rev Stats (1963), c 38, §§ 8-4 (a), 18-1(a).
After a trial by jury, Hammond and his two co-defendants were found guilty of attempted robbery, and Hammond the only appellant was sentenced to a term of 10 to 12 years.
(1) Testimony of alleged oral confessions by co-defendants was prejudicial to defendant.
(2) The State failed to prove defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
(3) Trial counsel for defendant was so incompetent as to deny him effective representation.
(4) The State's Attorney's improper conduct deprived defendant of a fair trial.
(5) The trial judge made remarks in front of the jury which were prejudicial to defendant.
George R. Hammond, Roscoe Nelson, and Hezekiah Jackson were indicted for attempting to rob William O'Brien on September 20, 1963. All three defendants were tried together and were represented by the same attorney.
William O'Brien, for the State:
He was a police officer on September 20, 1963, and was on duty with Officers Kodatt and Peebles. He was standing on 63rd Place and his partners were in a car, partially visible, parked around the corner. Three men walked toward him, and two continued by about 40 feet and sat on a railing. The third one (this defendant) walked 5 to 7 feet past, but then turned around and walked up to him, saying, "I would like to commit an act of oral copulation." The witness replied he was not interested, whereupon defendant threatened him by putting a knife to his throat and demanded his money. At that time the other two men were 30 to 40 feet away. They then ran toward him and started striking him, whereupon O'Brien declared he was a police officer and "went for his gun." He succeeded in getting it halfway out when defendant dropped the knife and they all fled. O'Brien pursued, firing two warning shots in the air and a third which hit defendant in the ear, knocking him to the ground where he was placed under arrest, handcuffed, and then taken away in a patrol wagon.
O'Brien returned to the scene of the assault and found a knife on the street. He proceeded to the hospital where stitches were administered for a hand cut received in warding off the knife wielded by defendant. He then went to the police station where he saw Nelson and Jackson in a room with Officers Kodatt and Peebles. Jackson stated, in O'Brien's presence, that he and Nelson, who had been in Chicago only two weeks, wanted money to return to Missouri; that they made an agreement with Hammond that same night to "stick up" someone.
Hammond was brought into the room with the two co-defendants, and they were asked if he was the man who had suggested the robbery. Jackson replied, "Yes, that is the man." Hammond denied it, stating that he was only trying to protect the witness.
The police have no record or memorandum of any confessions made by Jackson.
O'Brien put his own initials on the knife and had kept it in his personal custody during the ...