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People v. Talasch

JUNE 12, 1974.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. LOUIS B. GARIPPO, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE BURMAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT: The defendant, Richard Talasch, was charged by an indictment with burglary and rape. Following a bench trial, he was found guilty of both offenses and sentenced to two concurrent terms of 20 to 40 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary. He appeals from this judgment, contending that he was deprived of adequate representation by competent counsel, that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and that his sentences are excessive.

We direct our attention first to the contention that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. With respect to the charge of rape, the State was required to prove that the accused had sexual intercourse with the complainant by force and against her will. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 11-1.) Susan Goodridge, the complainant, testified that on February 9, 1972, she was ill and stayed home from work. She lived with her parents in a two-story house at 642 South East Avenue in Oak Park. At about 12:30 in the afternoon, she was talking on the telephone to a friend, Mrs. Ryczek, when she heard a noise downstairs. She put down the phone and went downstairs to investigate, where she encountered the defendant. She had never seen him before. She asked who he was and what he wanted, and he stated that he had entered the house because someone was chasing him.

He grabbed her and forced her into the kitchen. She asked him how he had gotten into the house and he showed her where he had broken the glass in the back door. In the kitchen she saw a second man who she identified in court as Thomas Haymes, the co-defendant. She broke away from the defendant and ran into the dining room, but he followed her and knocked her down. He told Haymes to look around the first floor and forced her up the stairs.

Upstairs, he dragged her into her sister's bedroom and told her to take off her clothes. When she refused, he pushed her down on the bed, pulled down her underpants, and lifted up her nightgown. He then took off his trousers and had sexual intercourse with her. During this time she was screaming and fighting him, and he stuffed part of a blanket into her mouth to quiet her.

When he finished having intercourse with her, he demanded money. She gave him a handful of change from her purse, but he wanted more. She said there was more in the kitchen, and he forced her downstairs. In the kitchen, he threw her down on the floor. She looked through the glass in the back door and saw a police officer. She screamed for help, and the officer ran in and chased the defendant out the front door.

A neighbor came over, and she told the neighbor that she had been raped. The police officer returned with the defendant in handcuffs, and she told the officer that the defendant had raped her. She was taken to West Suburban Hospital, where a smear test for the presence of sperm proved positive. She was also treated for a cut, and it was discovered that her leg was bruised. It was stipulated at trial that a police laboratory report revealed the presence of blood on the defendant's jockey shorts and blood and sperm on the complainant's nightgown.

Mrs. Rose Ryczek testified that about 12:30 P.M. on February 9, 1972, she was talking to Susan Goodridge on the telephone. While they were talking Susan said she heard something in the house downstairs. They had been talking on the phone about 15 minutes and she thought Susan was imagining things. Susan again said she thought she heard something. Susan told her to stay on the phone, and she was going to look. The next thing she heard her yelling and screaming "Who are you, who are you?" She then called the Oak Park Police.

Officer Joseph Ferraro testified that on February 9, 1972, at about 1:30 P.M., he went to 642 South East Avenue in response to a radio call concerning a burglary in progress. He found that the window in the back door had been broken. He looked in and saw the defendant holding Susan Goodridge around the neck. She screamed that the defendant had raped her, and he went in. As he did so, the defendant ran out the front door. He chased the defendant into a gangway and arrested him.

Patricia Talasch, the defendant's wife, testified for the defense. She stated that in January, 1972, she was going through her husband's pockets preparing his clothes for the laundry when she found a piece of paper with Susan Goodridge's name, address and telephone number on it. She drove by Susan's house once, but did not see anyone, and later she threw the paper away. In March of 1973, she showed a picture of the defendant to five or six persons in the Cherry Lounge and to the bartender at the Atlantic Lounge. One of the people in the Cherry Lounge was Ethel Buckley, who agreed to testify at the trial.

Ethel Buckley testified that she was in the Cherry Lounge in March of 1973 when Mrs. Talasch came in with the defendant's picture. Mrs. Talasch was pregnant and was crying. She told her that her husband was involved with another woman and was facing a rape charge. She felt sorry for Mrs. Talasch and agreed to testify at her husband's trial.

She further testified that in late January, 1972, she was in the Atlantic Lounge with her boyfriend, whose name she recalled, with some hesitation, as John Brown. She saw the defendant in the company of a tall blond woman, who she identified at trial as Susan Goodridge. She stated that she was in the lounge for about an hour, during which she looked at Miss Goodridge for about 5 minutes while Miss Goodridge's back was facing her. She had "three or four drinks during this period, and the lighting in the lounge was dim. She had never been to the Atlantic Lounge before the night that she saw the defendant and has not been there since, although it is just around the corner from the Cherry Lounge. She had never been to the Cherry Lounge before the day that she encountered Mrs. Talasch.

The defendant testified in his own behalf. He stated that he met Susan Goodridge for the first time at the Atlantic Lounge in late January, 1972. They talked for a while and he drove her home. She wrote down her name, address and telephone number on a piece of paper and gave it to him. Two days later he found the paper on his dresser and called her for a date the following week-end. On that occasion they returned to the Atlantic Lounge and also went to the Cherry Lounge. They drove to her house, where they kissed a few times in the car before he dropped her off.

On February 9, 1972, he telephoned her around 8 A.M. and she told him to stop by that afternoon if he wasn't doing anything. He stayed home from work that day to look for a better job. He went out job hunting with his friend, Thomas Haymes. They went to several places, but around noon the defendant became discouraged when a former employer told him that he could not be rehired and decided not to look further. Since he was in the vicinity of Susan Goodridge's house, he decided to go there.

When he arrived at the house, Susan came to the door in her nightgown and invited him in. After a discussion, Haymes decided to continue looking for a job and left. Susan took the defendant on a tour of the house, and while they were in one of the upstairs bedrooms they began kissing. They both undressed and had intercourse, after which he took a shower. They had a conversation in which he revealed that he was married, and Susan became very upset and began screaming and crying. They went back downstairs into the kitchen, and he put his arms around Susan's neck to kiss her. At this time he saw Officer Ferraro through the back door. He became frightened ...

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