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People v. Williams





APPEAL from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES J. MAJDA, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE WARD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT: A jury in the circuit court of Cook County found the defendant, Anthony Williams, guilty of attempted aggravated kidnapping of a nine-year-old girl. He was sentenced to a term of 7 to 20 years in the penitentiary. The conviction was affirmed by the appellate court (131 Ill. App.2d 280), and we granted leave to appeal.

On February 26, 1968, Annette Ambrose left for school ahead of the normal time to perform some classroom chores for her teacher. Annette, who was nine years old at the time of her kidnapping, testified that at seven o'clock that morning she was walking north on Rockwell Street in Chicago when a man seized her by the waist from behind and began carrying her across the street towards a parked car. Before they had crossed the street, Annette testified, the man released her when a motorist pulled behind them and sounded his horn.

She identified the defendant in court as the man who had seized her and she also testified that she had picked the defendant from a pretrial lineup which was held on March 1, 1968. The lineup was composed of six or seven men, and she made her identification by walking with an officer towards the lineup and then tapping the defendant. She testified that no one had told her whom to identify, or had otherwise influenced her in this regard.

Annette testified that while being taken to the police station by Officer Richard Bedran of the Chicago police department, she was shown a likeness (which was a police sketch) of someone by the officer. She did not identify the picture as one of her attacker.

The witness said that although she did not see the man when he seized her and when he was carrying her across the street, she did turn around and observe him after he had released her. She testified also that she had seen the defendant driving past her on the street before the incident, but she had not seen him park or alight from his car.

Donald Schimek testified that at 7:00 A.M. on February 26, 1968, he was driving north on Rockwell Street near 45th Street in Chicago when he observed a man with a girl in his arms crossing the street. The witness stopped his car because he became suspicious that something was irregular when he noticed that the girl appeared to be Caucasian and the man a light-skinned Negro. When he stopped, the man dropped the girl, who ran north to 45th Street and turned west. The man ran across the street, stopped momentarily, and then got in an auto which had been parked there with its door open. At this time Schimek mentally noted the license number of the car. Schimek followed the car for a very short distance but when he saw the girl, who had been taken up by a woman in her arms, he stopped his car. When told by the woman that someone had attempted to pull the girl into a car, he wrote down the license number he had noted on paper the woman gave him. He testified that the car he had seen was a late-model Oldsmobile and was dark in color.

Schimek identified the defendant in the courtroom as the man he had seen carrying Annette across the street, and he testified also that he had identified the defendant at a pretrial lineup of six or seven men held on March 1, 1968. In the room where the lineup was held were Annette Ambrose and two other children.

Schimek testified on cross-examination that when he first saw the defendant and the girl he was approximately one-half block away, and that when he stopped his car he was about one car length from them. He testified that the incident happened "pretty fast," but insisted that "the person did stop momentarily and I did look at his face." He said that when he first saw the man carrying the girl he was not certain that a kidnapping was taking place, and thought for a moment that it might be a father taking his daughter to school. When examined about the description he had given the police two or three hours after the incident, he said he recalled only that he had told the officer that the assailant "could have been a Negro, Mexican, Puerto Rican, light in color, curly hair, may have had a light, slight mustache."

In the week preceding the lineup, Schimek testified, he had been asked to assist a police artist in the preparation of a sketch of the man who had seized Annette. When he came to the police station to meet with the artist, there were two children, Catherine and Eldon Urbikas, who were assisting the artist in making a drawing. When the artist finished with the children, he brought a completed sketch to Schimek who testified that he was unable to say it was a good likeness of the man he had seen. He could not remember the differences he had suggested, except that he said he thought the "square" chin drawn by the artist was an inaccurate portrayal of the chin of the man he had seen carrying Annette.

Sergeant William Evans of the Robbins Police Department gave testimony that on March 1, 1968, at 2:00 A.M. he had arrested the defendant in front of a lounge at 137th and Clare Boulevard. He had found the defendant asleep behind the wheel of a 1968 Oldsmobile bearing license number 911 508, which was the number noted by Schimek at the scene of the crime. The witness told the court and jury that when he had awakened the defendant, the defendant first asked where he was and then told Evans that the car belonged to a friend in the lounge whom he was unable to name. The defendant, accompanied by the officer, was unable to locate the unidentified friend in the lounge.

The defendant did not take the stand to testify. The only evidence offered by the defense was the testimony of the officer who investigated the case, Richard Bedran. He testified that he interviewed Annette Ambrose a few hours after the attack upon her, and that she had given him a description of her assailant. The officer said that Annette had described the man as six feet tall, 180 pounds, very thin, and having short black hair. At the time Annette gave this description, the witness said she had told him that she was not certain that she could identify her attacker.

Officer Bedran also stated that he had interviewed Donald Schimek on the day of the incident, and that Schimek had estimated the assailant's age to be between 28 and 30 years, his build as thin, and his hair as black, kinky and short.

Officer Bedran also told of having interviewed Catherine and Eldon Urbikas, two children who lived in the neighborhood where Annette had been seized. They had not witnessed the attack on Annette, but had been interviewed because earlier on the morning of Annette's experience they had seen and been frightened by a man near the location where Annette was carried off.

The officer was also questioned about the lineup in which the defendant had been identified by Annette and Donald Schimek. Annette, Schimek and the two Urbikas children were present, he testified, but ...

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