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The People v. Knowles

OCTOBER 1, 1970.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

MICHAEL KNOWLES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. HARRY S. STARK, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE DEMPSEY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Michael Knowles was found guilty of rape in a non-jury trial and sentenced to the penitentiary for a term of five to ten years. In this court he contends that the procedure leading to his identification was improper, that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and that his motion for a new trial or acquittal should not have been denied.

The prosecutrix testified that she was employed as a receptionist in an office in downtown Chicago. After leaving work at 5:00 p.m. on January 18, 1967, and shopping for an hour, she took a train and a State Street bus to her southside home. As she left the bus at 95th and Lafayette Streets about 7:00 p.m., she noticed two men conversing near the rear door. She surmised that one of them — whom she later identified as Knowles — followed her off the bus. She walked west on the south side of 95th Street toward her home which was approximately three blocks from the bus stop. The evening was dark and extremely cold.

As she neared a boarded-up tavern on the southwest corner of 95th and Perry, the attacker approached her from behind, put his hands over her eyes, and then slid them down over her mouth. He told her to drop her shopping bag and to turn around and follow him. She pulled one of his hands from her mouth and he threatened to kill her. She screamed and he placed his hands back over her mouth. She fought with him as he dragged her behind the tavern to the alley off Perry Avenue.

He told her to lie down on the ground. He pushed her coat and dress up and ordered her to remove her underclothing. When she refused, he ripped those garments off. She refused to unzip his trousers and he used one hand for this purpose. She jerked his other hand from her mouth and screamed again. He again placed his hands over her mouth and said, "I am going to kill you for sure now." He started to choke her and then sexually attacked her.

The prosecutrix estimated that he lay on top of her for about twenty minutes. She described the alley as dark, but illuminated by a small light inside a converted garage that bordered the alley. She stated that she gained a clear view of her assailant's face. She particularly noticed that he had a gold crown on one of his front teeth, that he smelled strongly of cigarette smoke, and that he wore a black poplin, three-quarter length coat and a round hat with a narrow brim and flat top. Later in the trial, she described the crown on the rapist's center tooth as white gold.

After the attack, the assailant disappeared down the alley. She went back to 95th Street, picking up her purse on the way. She entered a nearby beauty salon, called her mother and the police. The police took her to a hospital where she was treated for abrasions on her face and legs. A vaginal smear test for the presence of sperm was positive.

On the following day she went to the police station, where she was shown approximately 700 photographs. She also viewed pictures on a movie screen. From these she picked the photograph of Michael Knowles as that of her assailant. She testified that she may have told a police officer that some of the other pictures resembled that of her assailant but that she only identified one. After she identified Knowles' picture, the police took her to his home, which was about a mile from the scene of the attack. Upon entering the house, she recognized him as her attacker. He opened his mouth at her request and she recognized the crown on one of his teeth. When she repeated this identification in court, the assistant State's attorney indicated that the tooth in the upper left center of the defendant's mouth had a silvery plating covering its entire outer area.

Testifying on his own behalf, Knowles said that he left work on Wednesday, January 18, 1967, at 5:00 p.m. and met a friend, Alexander Webb, on a bus at 35th and State Streets. Knowles got off the bus at 93rd and State; he did not know where or when Webb got off. After attempting to visit another friend, Knowles returned home. He said that he had told his mother, with whom he lived, not to cook dinner that night because, since he was paid on Wednesday, he would send out for dinner. He arrived home after 6:00 p.m. and placed an order with a pizza parlor at 6:30 p.m. He and his mother then watched television. At 7:00 p.m. Webb dropped by to visit and left some fifteen or twenty minutes later. The dinners arrived around 7:30 p.m.; Knowles reported that he held a conversation with the delivery man concerning his difficulty in finding the Knowles' address. He also testified that he did not smoke and that he had never seen the prosecutrix until she came to his house.

The defendant's mother offered a description of the events of the evening of January 18th substantially similar to that of her son. She also said that he did not smoke.

Webb, the defendant's friend, testified that he had been to visit a doctor at 29th and Wells Street on January 18, 1967. He left the clinic about 5:00 p.m. and boarded a State Street bus. In his testimony he did not mention meeting Knowles during the bus ride. Webb left the bus at 93rd and State to go to a friend's house, to buy cigarettes, and to visit the Knowles' home at 91st and Harvard. He arrived there at 7:00 p.m. and saw that Knowles and his mother were watching television. After a short visit he left at 7:15.

Norman Lee, an employee of a restaurant, testified that on January 18, 1967, at 6:50 p.m. he had an order to deliver pizza to 9161 South Harvard, the Knowles' address. He left the restaurant at 7:00 p.m. and arrived at the Knowles' home around 7:30 p.m. He recalled seeing the defendant on that occasion because, after Knowles paid him, they had a conversation regarding Lee's difficulty in locating the address. Adolph Gary of the Chicago Police Department testified that his check of the records of the restaurant showed that Lee left there with the Knowles' order about 7:00 p.m. Gary also said that when he went to the Knowles' home with the prosecutrix the day after the rape the defendant informed him that he was home at the time of the attack and had received an order of pizza about 7:30 p.m.

The defendant contends that the method used by the police to obtain his identification as the perpetrator of the crime violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel and that, as a result, the in-court ...


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