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People v. Hunt

NOVEMBER 25, 1975.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. KENNETH R. WENDT, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied December 29, 1975.

Defendant, Robert S. Hunt, was indicted for the crime of rape. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 11-1.) After a bench trial, defendant was found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 4 to 12 years. On appeal defendant contends that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and, alternatively, that the trial court improperly imposed a maximum sentence of three times the mandatory minimum. The record reveals the following:

The complainant testified that on the evening of October 4, 1972, at approximately 11 p.m., she was walking north on Colfax Avenue to her home at 77th and Colfax. She noticed a man, whom she later identified as defendant, walking in the same direction on the other side of the street. When she crossed 78th Street, defendant crossed to complainant's side of the street and followed her to her door where he grabbed her from behind. Defendant placed an object to her head and cautioned her not to scream or he would kill her.

After blindfolding complainant with her head scarf, defendant dragged her to a gangway. While endeavoring to defend herself, she removed her blindfold and also a 6-inch switchblade from her pocket. Defendant took the knife from her, stating that he had already killed two women and wouldn't think anything of killing her if she "tried anything else."

Complainant was then taken to her apartment. On the way up the stairs to the apartment, defendant asked if anyone was home. When she answered "no," defendant warned her that she would be the "first one to get it" if she was lying. Defendant held the switchblade to her temple as she opened the door. Defendant then searched the apartment. The only light at this time was that which came from the living room television which had been left on. Defendant then took complainant into the bedroom, removed his jacket and pants and all of her clothes. He pushed her on the bed and demanded that she perform an act of fellatio. She refused, whereupon defendant raped her.

During the act, the telephone rang six or seven times. Finally, defendant permitted her to answer it while he stood behind her. Complainant pretended to carry on a conversation over the phone, even though the caller had already hung up. She informed defendant that the caller was her fiance and that he was coming over to her apartment. Defendant then began to put on his clothes. At this time, complainant flipped on the ceiling light and looked at her assailant. It was approximately 5 minutes from the time the light was turned on until defendant had finished dressing; the entire ordeal, from the moment defendant first grabbed her until he left her apartment, lasted for approximately 15 minutes.

After defendant departed, complainant dressed and called the police. Police Officer LeMar Thomas responded to the call at approximately 11:30 p.m. Complainant testified that she described the rapist to the policeman as being approximately 6 feet tall, between 23 and 25 years old, approximately 165 pounds with an unkept natural, dark skin and a prominent scar on his right cheek. After relating the incident to the police, she was taken to South Shore Hospital for an examination.

Approximately 4 months later on February 7, 1973, complainant testified that she and her fiance were at the White Castle restaurant at 79th and Essex. As they were about to depart, she observed defendant entering the restaurant. Defendant and complainant looked directly at each other whereupon defendant made a "u-turn" and got back into the Checker Cab he was driving. As defendant drove way, complainant took down his license number, 3664, and communicated it to the police.

On redirect examination, complainant reiterated that she had, on the night of the attack, related to police that her assailant had a prominent scar on his right cheek. After having left the witness stand to view defendant, complainant stated that the scar which defendant now had on his right cheek was not as prominent as the scar which she viewed on the night of October 4, 1972. Defendant's present scar was as long as, and running in the same direction as, the scar which she had earlier identified, but it was not as prominent. She speculated that it may have healed over or been removed.

Police Officer LeMar Thomas testified that on October 4, 1972, he interviewed complainant. She described the man who raped her as a male Negro, approximately 6 feet tall, 24 to 27 years old, and very dark complected. No other physical description was given. Officer Thomas then drove complainant around the immediate area in an attempt to spot the assailant. Failing in the attempt, the officer drove complainant to the South Shore Hospital where she was treated.

Police Officer John McCabe, assigned to the investigation of the case, testified that complainant described the rapist to him, 2 or 3 days after the rape, as a male Negro, 24 to 27 years old, 6 feet tall, 185 pounds, brown eyes, very dark complexion with black hair worn in a short natural. No mention of a scar was made in the description.

Officer McCabe was again contacted in February of 1973, after complainant had seen her assailant at a White Castle restaurant. He conducted an investigation at the Checker Cab garage where he was advised that Robert Hunt drove cab # 3664 on February 7, 1973. Referring to a report prepared on February 7, 1973, by Chicago Police Officer N. Smith, the witness stated that complainant described the cab driver's face as bearing a scar on his right cheek. Officer McCabe's supplemental report of March 6, 1973, however, reflected that the scar was on the cab driver's left cheek.

Frank Williams, a former co-employee of defendant, testified for the defense. He stated that on October 4, 1972, both he and defendant worked for Clark Service Station, 7710 Cottage Grove, as gas station attendants. They both arrived at the station that day at 2:30 p.m. and left work at 11:15 p.m. when the witness drove defendant home. During the entire period of time, defendant never left Williams' view. ...

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