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People v. Edwards

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 25, 1973.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE,

v.

TERRY R. EDWARDS, APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. FRANK WILSON, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, Terry Edwards, was found guilty by a jury in the circuit court of Cook County of the offenses of murder and robbery and sentenced to concurrent terms of not less than 100 nor more than 150 years on the murder conviction and not less than 19 nor more than 20 years on the robbery conviction. The record shows that Sidney J. Salkin, the victim, age 68, died on September 8, 1968, as the result of having been severely beaten on September 3, 1968.

Elvis Eddmonds, age 14, testified that on September 3, 1968, he resided at 3525 West Douglas Street in Chicago. On that morning, at approximately 10:30 A.M., he and six other boys were sitting on a basement-level window ledge at 3525 W. Douglas when he heard someone in the hallway of the building call out "Help!" He saw two men run from the hallway through the east gangway of the building and described one of them as wearing a yellow knit sweater and dark pants, and as having a small goatee or beard and a hairstyle known as a "process." He identified defendant as that man although at the time of trial defendant was wearing his hair in a "natural" style. He testified that prior to trial he had identified defendant in a lineup of seven persons.

He testified that after the two men had run out of the gangway he looked into the hallway and saw Sidney Salkin, whom he had known "since I was born." Salkin came to the building at 10:00 A.M. every Saturday morning. He stated that "there was blood all over" Salkin's face, that Salkin "staggered" to his car, drove away and returned with the police. The witness picked up what he described as Salkin's "bills" and cigars, and gave them to his father.

James Wilson, age 16, testified that he was sitting on the window ledge with Eddmonds and that his two brothers, Willie and Larry, and Michael Marks, were also there. John Griffin was coming across the street from the park, where they had all been playing ball earlier. Wilson heard someone yelling for help, and saw two boys running out of a hallway and through the gangway between 3521 and 3523 Douglas. He looked in and saw Salkin lying on the floor of the hallway. He was bleeding about the face. Salkin then staggered to his car, drove away and returned with the police. The witness identified defendant in court as one of the two boys whom he had seen running away and testified he had also identified him at a lineup of seven persons. He stated that when he saw defendant running from the building he had a light moustache and a "little bit of hair on his chin," "process" hair, and was wearing a yellow knit sweater and dark pants. He testified that defendant had a white handkerchief wrapped around the knuckles of one hand and the other boy had brass knuckles.

John Griffin, age 13, testified that at approximately 10:00 A.M. on the morning of September 3 he was in a park across the street from 3525 West Douglas when he heard a man call for help. He went to the hallway, where he saw Salkin being beaten. He stated that he saw the beating both from there and from the window ledge where the other boys were sitting. He saw Salkin being hit about the face and stomach and being kicked. He identified defendant as one of the assailants and described him as having a slight moustache, a little beard under his chin and a "process." He remembered defendant was wearing a yellow knit sweater. He also testified that he saw defendant pick up a wallet from the floor just before the two assailants ran away.

Michael Marks, age 15, testified that he was with Eddmonds, James Wilson and James' brother and saw two persons beating Salkin. He identified defendant as one of the assailants and described defendant's clothing and his "process" hair. He had also identified defendant at the police lineup.

Willie Wilson, age 13, and Larry Wilson, age 10, testified that they had seen Salkin being beaten but could not identify defendant as an assailant. Neither had viewed the police lineup. Both testified that one of the assailants wore a yellow knit sweater and had a "process" and that the other had brass knuckles.

John McGown, who had lived in the neighborhood for about 35 years and had done janitorial work at 3525 West Douglas testified that about 10:30 A.M. on September 3, 1968, he was in the alley behind the building when he saw defendant, whom he had known for several years, and another man, exit from the gangway between 3521 and 3525 West Douglas into the alley. They ran past McGown, and he heard the other man comment to defendant about hitting someone. This individual had something across his knuckles, but the witness could not say what it was. He had seen Salkin that day but did not see anyone strike or beat him.

James Sample and Robert Campbell, called by defendant, testified that they were with defendant in Arkansas during the last few days of August of 1968 and until September 2, when defendant returned to Chicago.

Defendant, age 22, testified that he arrived home from Arkansas about 7:00 A.M. on September 3, 1968. He remained at home talking with his mother until about 11:30 A.M. and then went to bed. He denied any participation in the beating or robbery of Salkin, denied seeing anyone do this, and denied having been in the vicinity of 3525 West Douglas on September 3, 1968. Jean Edwards, defendant's mother, testified that he returned home at 7:30 or 8:00 A.M. on September 3, talked to her until 11:00 or 11:30 A.M. and then went to bed.

Defendant, as grounds for reversal, contends that the circuit court committed reversible error when it denied his motion to suppress the identification testimony of the People's witnesses. He argues that the identifications were based upon a lineup which was conducted in a prejudicially suggestive manner. The circuit court conducted a hearing on the motion to suppress and it appears from the testimony that the lineup was not conducted in a manner which was violative of defendant's right to due process or which would lead to a mistaken identification. There were seven individuals in the lineup, all of whom were approximately the same age as defendant, two of whom were the same height, and the participants changed their positions in the lineup a number of times. The testimony shows that the witnesses were kept separate and there is no showing that any of them had an opportunity to suggest the identity of the defendant to the others. Defendant's principal complaint with respect to the lineup is that he was the only man in the lineup with process hair but it appears from the testimony of one of the police officers that at least one other participant in the lineup wore what he described as a "short process." We note, parenthetically, that in the hearing on the motion to suppress, the witnesses referred to a photograph of the lineup which was marked as an exhibit, but for reasons not explained the photograph is not included in the record. From our review of the testimony we conclude that the manner in which the lineup was conducted was not so conducive to improper or erroneous identification as to violate defendant's right to due process. Furthermore, although he had changed his hair style, the witnesses identified the defendant in court and the testimony supports the conclusion that there was a basis independent of the lineup for the in-court identifications. The trial court did not err in denying the motion to suppress.

Defendant contends next that the evidence does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed the murder, and although, admittedly, the victim was beaten, there is no evidence that he was robbed. He argues that the conviction rests upon the testimony of alleged occurrence witnesses who were very young and that there are so many inconsistencies, contradictions and improbabilities in their testimony that the convictions cannot stand. In our opinion there is sufficient evidence to support the conviction for the offense of robbery. There was testimony that defendant was seen picking up a wallet after the beating, and Darby Salzman, the deceased's brother-in-law, testified, without objection, that the deceased was robbed and beaten on September 3. Although hearsay and excludable on proper objection, Salzman's testimony was of probative value, and together with the testimony concerning defendant's picking up a wallet, and the presence of the decedent's "bills" on the floor following the occurrence, is sufficient to support the conviction for robbery. Although there are minor ...


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