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People v. Putney

JULY 13, 1971.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Peoria County; the Hon. CHARLES W. IBEN, Judge, presiding.


This is an appeal from convictions of rape and offenses relating to motor vehicles after a jury trial in the circuit court of Peoria County, Illinois. The defendant was sentenced to serve eight to twenty years in the penitentiary for the offense of rape and two to three years in the penitentiary for the offenses relating to motor vehicles.

Certain uncontradicted facts adduced during the trial of the defendant, Hubert Putney, are as follows. On the evening of June 30, 1969, Eugenia Jackson was living in a rural home near the edge of Peoria, Illinois, with her 18 month old son, Michael, and her 4 month old daughter, Chris. Mrs. Jackson was a widow, her husband having died just 28 days previously. Her home consisted of a living room, kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms.

At approximately 10:30 P.M. as Mrs. Jackson was preparing to wash her hair she heard a knock at the kitchen door. Upon answering the door she recognized the defendant, who stated that he wanted to offer his condolences in regard to her husband's death. Upon being invited into the home the defendant drank coffee while Mrs. Jackson washed her hair in the kitchen. While Mrs. Jackson dried her hair and sorted clothes she and the defendant watched television in the living room and discussed his recent trip to California.

Between 1:00 A.M. and 4:00 A.M. on July 1, 1969, two acts of sexual intercourse and two acts of oral copulation occurred between the parties. At 4:00 o'clock A.M. the defendant and Mrs. Jackson left the residence in a 1960 Rambler automobile which was the property of Mrs. Jackson. The two infant children were left alone in the house. After approximately four hours the defendant let Mrs. Jackson out of the car in front of her home and drove away in her automobile.

Immediately upon entering her home Mrs. Jackson called her sister requesting that she come right over because she was scared. Next she changed from the flannel nightgown which she had been wearing into street clothes, picked up her son, Michael, who was awake and then ran to a neighbor's home where she informed a Mrs. Joliff that she had been raped. The call to her sister and subsequent complaint to her neighbor occurred about 8:30 A.M. Approximately twenty minutes later a deputy sheriff responded to a call and he was told by Mrs. Jackson that she had been raped and that her car was stolen. Mrs. Jackson was then promptly taken to a hospital where she informed an examining physician that she had been raped. Tests taken at the hospital indicated recent sexual intercourse and the presence of male sperm.

On July 2, 1969, at about 5:00 o'clock P.M. a deputy sheriff spotted a red and white pickup truck which fitted the description of one wanted in connection with the defendant. The truck was occupied by two young men and was stopped by the officer approximately one block from the home of Mrs. Jackson. The defendant was a passenger in the truck and in response to questioning gave his name as George Benson and his address as the 1000 block on Blaine Street in Peoria. A set of car keys was taken from his trouser pocket and on a tab attached to the keys were written the words "1960 Rambler" and a serial number.

The Sheriff's deputies found a 1960 Rambler automobile in front of 1013 S. Blaine in Peoria. An inspection of the vehicle disclosed a license "applied for" sticker on the windshield bearing the words "Eugenia Jackson, Kickapoo Creek Road, Peoria, Illinois." On the car floor behind the driver's seat was a loaded Mossberg shotgun.

In addition to the uncontradicted facts which have been summarized there is some conflicting evidence. Mrs. Jackson testified that the defendant had been a friend of her deceased husband and had been in her home on several occasions. She stated that on one occasion the defendant had stayed all night after he had passed out from drinking and that he slept on the couch. On another occasion she related that the defendant came to her house between the hours of 11:30 P.M. and 12:00 A.M. after her husband had departed for work claiming that he had car trouble and that he again stayed all night, sleeping on the couch. On both of these occasions the complainant's husband was not present and the defendant would remain until his arrival home from work the next morning, at which time all parties would have breakfast together. Mrs. Jackson denies having any sexual intercourse with the defendant at any time prior to the night of the alleged rape.

Mrs. Jackson further testified that on the night of the crime in question at approximately 1:00 o'clock A.M. she asked the defendant to leave and upon his refusal attempted to call the police, but that he grabbed her around the neck, threatened her with a knife and said if she screamed he would kill her and the children. She further testified that she was bound and gagged and taken to the bathroom where the gag was removed from her mouth and at knife point she was forced to perform an act of oral copulation on the defendant. However, this act did not result in a climax.

The defendant next attempted to perform an act of sexual intercourse with the complainant lying on the bathroom floor. Prior to consummating this act he untied the complainant and forced her to remove her clothing and then completed the act of sexual intercourse on the couch in the living room. The defendant permitted the complainant to put on a nightgown and after an elapse of time he demanded that a second act of oral copulation take place. Mrs. Jackson submitted to this demand and the act was consummated with the defendant having a climax. After this act the defendant took a loaded shotgun from a closet and ordered Mrs. Jackson to start her car. At this time Mrs. Jackson accused the defendant of having planned his entire conduct of the night by hiding in her back yard until visitors had left her home, at which time he then made his presence known. This infuriated the defendant and he slapped Mrs. Jackson causing a cut on her mouth. The defendant then placed the shotgun behind the front seat of the car and with Mrs. Jackson as a passenger drove to Norwood Park, Edwards and Kickapoo, Illinois. On at least two occasions the defendant demanded further acts of oral copulation but these acts were not completed because of interference by approaching vehicles. On one occasion Mrs. Jackson unsuccessfully tried to escape by hitting defendant with a bottle which was in the car. Mrs. Jackson further testified that throughout the long drive the defendant threatened to kill her and her children.

The defendant took the witness stand in his own behalf and testified that he had stayed overnight in the Jackson home during the months of April and May, 1969, that on three of these occasions he engaged in sexual intercourse with Mrs. Jackson. On the night in question the defendant did not deny the circumstances which led to the sexual acts but claimed he engaged in two acts of sexual intercourse with complainant and that they both engaged in acts of genital contact and that everything was done not only with Mrs. Jackson's consent but at her initiation. He further stated that Mrs. Jackson asked to be taken for a ride in the automobile and that she later loaned the vehicle to him and requested that he deliver the shotgun to her deceased husband's parents.

It is regrettable that such sordid and revolting details thus revealed could not be permitted to remain buried in the record but of necessity we must recount them since they have a distinct bearing on the issues raised in this appeal.

It is the defendant's contention that his guilt was not established beyond all reasonable doubt since the evidence presented was improbable and unlikely and that the state failed to prove the acts ...

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