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People v. Morris

APRIL 8, 1970.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

EARL MORRIS, JR. AND CHARLES MCELRATH, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. L. SHELDON BROWN, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE ENGLISH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

OFFENSE CHARGED

Armed robbery. Ill Rev Stats 1967, c 38, § 18-2.

JUDGMENT

After a bench trial, these two defendants were found guilty of armed robbery and sentenced to terms of 4 to 12 years (Morris) and 2 years to 2 years and one day (McElrath). A third defendant, Emerson Naugher, was also found guilty and admitted to probation. He has not appealed.

CONTENTION ON APPEAL

Defendants contend that the State failed to prove them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

EVIDENCE

Filipi Espinosa, complaining witness for the State:

On December 21, 1967, at approximately 5:30 a.m., he was in the vicinity of 677 N. Clark Street when three men "came upon" him, hit him over the head, kicked him, and put a knife to his throat. He identified defendants in court as his assailants (along with the third defendant not a party to this appeal) and also identified the knife they held to his throat. He had seen defendants on several occasions in the afternoon for about a week before, around the 900 block on La Salle. About an hour prior to the occurrence, he had three beers and then went to a nearby restaurant where he spent $2 from a twenty dollar bill. He was not intoxicated "too much." He saw defendants walking together down the street. They first hit him from behind and took $18 from his pocket. They were still hitting him as he lay on the sidewalk when the police arrived. The police placed the defendants against the wall. Defendant McElrath was holding the money in his hand.

Leslie Foy, for the State:

He was a policeman, and at about 5:30 a.m., on December 21, 1967, while patrolling the 700 block of North Clark Street, he saw three male Negroes knocking a Puerto Rican to the ground. The three men, whom he identified in court as the defendants, dragged the victim into a hallway at 677 N. Clark. The witness and his partner got out of their vehicle and proceeded to the hallway, where he saw defendants holding the victim down on the stairs. McElrath was holding a knife to the victim's throat while Morris was taking money from his pocket. When the police entered, McElrath dropped the knife to the floor. The witness recovered both the money ($18) and the knife, which he identified in court, and they were introduced into evidence. He noticed other people loitering around the street, including two or three inside the vestibule at 677 N. Clark, one "sleeping off in a corner." As he arrested defendants, he also placed two other men against the wall to search them, but did not arrest them.

In his opinion, the victim had been drinking but was coherent and not completely under ...


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