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People v. Blakes

OPINION FILED MAY 14, 1976.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,

v.

BOOKER BLAKES, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Third District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Peoria County; the Hon. Richard Eagleton, Judge, presiding.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendant, Booker Blakes, was found guilty of armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 38, par. 18-2) following a jury trial in the circuit court of Peoria County. He was sentenced to the penitentiary for a term of not less than 5 nor more than 20 years. The appellate court reversed the conviction and remanded for a new trial (27 Ill. App.3d 439), and we granted the People's petition for leave to appeal.

On the evening of January 29, 1973, Francis Stickelmaier and Edward Barborinas were employed at the Western Avenue Liquor Store in Peoria. At approximately 8:30 p.m. a man entered the store and, after describing two men whom he identified as friends, asked Stickelmaier if he had seen them. He left the store when Stickelmaier told him he had not seen the men. Shortly thereafter the man reentered the store brandishing a pistol. He approached the counter where Stickelmaier and Barborinas were standing and ordered Stickelmaier to hand over the money from the register. The robber then fled, after ordering both men to lie on the floor. A little over two weeks later, on February 14, 1973, Barborinas saw the defendant in the South Side Bank in Peoria, where Barborinas had gone to purchase license plates, and recognized him as the robber. He called the police, who arrested the defendant. Barborinas later picked out the defendant from a lineup. However, Stickelmaier was unable to do so, and he testified at trial that he was unable to identify the defendant as the robber.

On April 4, 1973, the State filed a discovery motion, which in part asked the defendant to inform it whether he was going to assert an alibi defense. The motion was that in the event the defendant would present a defense of alibi that he be ordered to inform the prosecution where he was and whom he would call as witnesses to support that defense.

The complaint filed against the defendant on February 15, 1973, stated the date of the robbery to have been January 25, 1973. At the preliminary hearing Barborinas testified that the robbery took place on that date. The indictment, returned on March 16, 1973, also alleged the robbery date to have been January 25. However, on the State's motion the indictment was amended to show January 29, 1973, as the date of the crime. The record does not show when the defendant was informed that the date first charged was in error, but his answer to the discovery motion was filed prior to April 20, the date the State's motion to amend was filed, and it named four persons who could establish his whereabouts on January 25 or January 29, 1973. One named was the manager of the Inman Hotel in Champaign, Illinois. The answer also stated that the defendant was going to introduce into evidence the registration and telephone message log book of the hotel.

Only two persons named in the answer, Dorothy Jackson, his sister, and John Fleming, were called by the defendant as witnesses. Dorothy Jackson testified that the defendant came to her home around 8:05 p.m. on January 29, 1973, and that he left 15 minutes later. Fleming said that he left Dorothy Jackson's house in the company of the defendant at about 8:15. He testified that he dropped off the defendant at Neal's Lounge at 8:20 and that the defendant was there when Fleming returned at nine o'clock. Neal's Lounge is approximately 2 1/2 miles from the Western Avenue Liquor Store.

The defendant denied the commission of the robbery. In his opening statement the defendant's attorney said the evidence would show that the defendant had been at another place some distance away at the time of the crime. When the defendant took the stand he testified simply that Fleming dropped him off at Neal's, which he said was a private club, and that he remained there more than five hours — until 1:30 a.m. The assistant State's Attorney brought out on cross-examination that the defendant had been a member of the club for two years and that he went there often (every week). The following was part of the cross-examination:

"Q. Okay, so you are pretty familiar with the place [Neal's Lounge] then?

A. Yes.

Q. And the people in the place and employees and so forth are pretty familiar to you, wouldn't that be true?

A. Yes.

Q. Who was in Neal's at the time you went there January 29, 1973?

A. There were quite a few people in there.

Q. Who, in particular that you knew?

A. George Johnson, Willie Cathrew, a guy by the name of Russell, Joe Moore, Herman Carter. There was a lot of others, but I can't remember everybody's name.

Q. Those names you happen to remember ...


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