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People v. Macklin

OPINION FILED APRIL 1, 1976.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

GEORGE MACKLIN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. JOHN J. HOBAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE EBERSPACHER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is an appeal by the defendant, George Macklin, from judgments of conviction entered by the circuit court of St. Clair County on jury verdicts of guilty to the charges of murder and armed robbery and the respective sentences of 50 to 100 years and 4 to 6 years, to be served concurrently, imposed thereunder.

Before the defendant's trial, defendant's privately retained counsel filed a motion to suppress identification. A hearing on this motion was conducted and the motion was denied. No contentions are raised by the defendant on appeal with respect to the denial of this motion. On appeal defendant contends that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because the testimony of two identification witnesses was contradictory.

The first witness to testify at defendant's trial was Leo Guccione. He stated that he was the owner of Guccione's Supermarket located in St. Clair County. He further stated that at approximately 5:30 on the 12th day of March, "a group of robbers came in masked, and one of them scaled the entrance to my office where we cash checks and have a safe * * *." This individual "brandished * * * a silvery pistol" towards the witness and exclaimed that this was a holdup. After the witness personally gave this individual the money he had demanded, the witness was ordered to lie on the floor. The witness identified the defendant as this individual. The witness also testified that later during the course of the robbery this individual returned to the office and "led" the witness to one of the cash registers. The witness then complied with a demand to open the cash register. While at this register the witness saw "four robbers all together." The witness testified that all of the robbers were armed with guns of one type or another. During the course of the robbery the witness heard "quite a few shots." After the robbery the witness found Charles Doty, a security guard, lying on the floor between two check-out counters. The witness stated that he was positive that the defendant was one of the robbers. He stated that at one point during the course of the robbery he was only 11 or 12 inches from the defendant. He also stated that he viewed the defendant "from two to three minutes" during the robbery.

On cross-examination the witness testified that the defendant had "clipped me with the butt of his pistol." While the witness admitted that he had been hurt by the blow, he claimed that he had retained his "mental acuity at all times." The witness also admitted that he had told the police that the robber who had accosted him had gray hair and was in his late thirties. The witness testified that he had not seen anyone shoot Doty. The witness also testified that he had identified the defendant in a lineup.

On redirect examination, the witness explained that the reason he had initially described the defendant as "gray-headed" was that the "panty hose" that the defendant had placed over his head was "silvery." On recross examination, the witness stated all of the "stocking" was "silvery." The witness testified that despite the stocking he "could see and observe his features." He stated that "the closeness of him gave me the opportunity to identify him later."

The next witness called by the State was Nathanial McCoy, a former employee of Guccione. McCoy was located at the rear of the supermarket when the robbers entered the store. While he observed one of the robbers scale the office wall he could not identify this robber as the defendant. On cross-examination the witness testified that he had initially described this individual as "one Negro male, medium complexion, gray-headed, possibly in his middle forties." The witness explained that "after they told me that they had on masks", the "only thing really that I [he] knew was that he [this robber] was short." The witness denied that anyone requested that he change his initial description. The witness testified that the defendant appeared taller than he pictured the robber to be. The witness noted that he had observed the robber from the "back room" and that the robber was "bending over" to go in the office.

The State's next witness was Curtis Hill, an employee of Guccione. He testified that he was working on the day of the robbery in question. He testified that Charles Doty had been shot during the robbery. The witness testified that the defendant was the robber who had accosted him. The witness testified that he had identified the defendant during a lineup that had been conducted earlier.

On cross-examination Hill testified that he had caught "a glimpse" of the man who had escorted Guccione to one of the cash registers. He stated that this was not the same robber who had accosted him. He reiterated that the robber who had accosted him was the defendant. The witness did not remember what type of mask the defendant was wearing on the day of the robbery.

The State also called Herman Wenos, a pawnbroker. He testified that he had sold one Smith & Wesson .357 magnum hand gun, Serial Number N108054, to Charles Doty on March 11, 1974. He identified People's Exhibit No. 15 as the gun he had sold Charles Doty. No objection was raised to this testimony.

The State next called Richard Stone, a detective with the East St. Louis Police Department. The witness testified that he went to the home of Mr. Sheret, the defendant's stepfather, to locate the defendant. The witness stated that he found the defendant in the basement "hiding behind an old refrigerator." The defendant was placed under arrest.

On cross-examination the witness was asked if the arrest of the defendant occurred after the police had arrested Ronnie Macklin. The State's Attorney objected to this question as being beyond the scope of direct examination. The objection was overruled. The witness answered that Ronnie Macklin had been arrested the night before the defendant had been arrested. No guns, large sums of money, nor masks were recovered at the time of the defendant's arrest.

The following witness was Robert White, a sergeant with the East St. Louis Police Department. Over objection of defense counsel, he related the events surrounding the arrest of Aaron Donnald and a description of the weapons recovered at such time. One weapon recovered was People's Exhibit No. 15. Other weapons recovered included a derringer, a sawed-off shotgun, and a five-shot "chief special." A .410-gauge shotgun was later recovered from the residence of Darnell Carpenter.

The State next called Dr. Roman Patrick, a pathologist, to the stand. He testified that Charles Doty died as a result of "abdominal hemorrhage and abdominal ...


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