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People v. Hannah

MAY 9, 1973.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Rock Island County; the Hon. RICHARD STENGEL, Judge, presiding.


On May 4, 1971 Robert Booker Hannah Jr., the defendant was charged with robbery and aggravated battery. After a bench trial the defendant was found guilty of aggravated battery in the Circuit Court of Rock Island County. On Sept. 28, 1971 the defendant was sentenced to a term of 3 to 10 years, to be served concurrently with a 1 to 5 given for violation of probation.

On April 22, 1971 at about 8:30 P.M. Jerry Licata, went to the Sheraton Motor Inn, Rock Island, Illinois, to meet some friends. He remained there until about 1:30 A.M., during which time he drank an estimated eight glasses of beer. About 1:30 A.M., he went across the street to the Tiger's Den to have one more drink with his friends. His friends left about 1:45 A.M., and he walked back to a pool table area in the rear of the Tiger's Den. This area was illuminated by a light over the pool table and by floor lights. He remained there for about one-half hour watching and betting on several games. He testified that the defendant played in all the games (he thought four); and that defendant was wearing a T-shirt and levis.

After about one-half hour in the pool area, Mr. Licata went back to the bar and got a rum and coke. He remained at the bar until closing time at 3:00 A.M. He was one of the last ones to leave the bar. The defendant and his friends left just a few minutes before Mr. Licata.

Janice Daniels testified that Licata did not appear drunk when he left. She also testified that it was like daylight outside the Tiger's Den. Licata testified that the street lights were quite bright.

Licata testified that he left the Tiger's Den, turned east, took several steps and was attacked by a man who hit him, knocking him down and kicked him into a state of shock. He stated he first saw his assailant when the assailant said, "Hey man, how about my five or ten". Licata testified that he could clearly see his assailant prior to being attacked and positively identified him as the same person who had been playing pool earlier. He identified the defendant as being the assailant. He also got a full body view of the assailant as he fled.

Licata refused to go to the hospital and was taken home. He was in shock after the beating. He was in great pain the rest of the morning and finally went to the hospital that afternoon by ambulance. He was treated for lacerations and underwent surgery for the removal of a ruptured spleen.

Two days later, while still in the hospital, Licata was shown five or six pictures by police, and told that defendant might be among them. Licata positively identified the third picture he looked at as being the assailant. All of the pictures were of black males of the approximate age of 24 to 28.

Licata testified that his identification of the defendant was based on his recollection of the event and not the pictures he was shown in hospital. He also testified that his assailant wore levis and a T-shirt and had facial and head hair not much different than the defendant did in court.

The defendant testified that he went straight from the Tiger's Den to his brother's house with one Virgil Mayberry who was no longer in the area; that his head was shaved bald and that he never wears levis and T-shirts; that he left the community the next day but returned on June 2 after his mother told him the police wanted him.

The defendant's testimony regarding his hair was supported by his mother, and a minister who could recall how the defendant looked in April but was unable to recall any details about defendant's appearance in March, May, June or July.

In addition to the complaining witness three occurrence witnesses testified for the State. Knute Rodland testified that he was not positive but could make a 99% sure identification of the defendant as the assailant. Caroline Day and Caroline Serale could not positively identify the assailant. All three witnesses gave consistent testimony that the assailant was: Negro; stocky; in his 20's; short cropped hair; wearing levis and T-shirt or tight sweater.

In rebuttal Ray Barnhart was called to impeach Mrs. Hannah, the defendant's mother and a prior conviction of the defendant was admitted for impeachment.

The defendant first contends that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because the identification testimony of Licata was tainted by the police statement at the photographic identification, that Licata was in shock after the first punch, that he was under the influence of alcohol and that ...

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