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People v. Lindsey





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


Defendant, John Lindsey, was indicted with Jerry Smith and Waverly Williams for armed robbery and rape. Following a bench trial in which defendant was tried separately he was found guilty of armed robbery but not guilty of rape and sentenced to the penitentiary for a term of 7 to 21 years. On appeal defendant questions whether the circumstantial evidence was sufficient to sustain the conviction.

At trial Donna Grill testified as follows: On August 24, 1974, she had been sleeping with her husband in their apartment at 6124 North Winthrop in Chicago. At approximately 6:45 a.m. she was awakened by a noise and saw three black men burst into the bedroom. An umbrella was quickly opened in the Grills' faces, obstructing their vision, and one of the men put a knife to Mr. Grill's throat. Complying with the intruders' instructions, the Grills got out of bed and faced the closet. Mrs. Grill was blindfolded, and Mr. Grill was covered with blankets. A search of the apartment produced about $10. Having found the Grills' bankbook, the men decided that Mrs. Grill was to go to the bank and would withdraw $1300. Mrs. Grill's blindfold was removed while she dressed and then was immediately replaced.

Mrs. Grill was taken to her car in the parking area underneath the building, and her blindfold was again removed. She noticed that a bowling ball and several other items were missing from the car. One of the men drove her to the bank where she withdrew 13 $100 bills. She came back to the car and waited for the driver to return. After the driver returned and was given the money, he put seven of the $100 bills in his sock. He told Mrs. Grill not to say anything to his friends because he wanted to keep the money. Mrs. Grill was again blindfolded for the drive back. The driver stopped the car at a service station during the trip, explaining that if he didn't keep calling the apartment, his friends would believe something was wrong and would kill her husband.

Still blindfolded, Mrs. Grill was taken back to the apartment where two men took off her clothes and had intercourse with her. She was then taken into the bedroom and tied up with her husband.

Various household items were taken from the apartment, including jewelry, linen and clothing. The Grills waited a few minutes after they believed that the men had gone, then attempted to untie themselves. One of the men had remained behind, however, and he tightened their bonds and left. The Grills again struggled to untie themselves. Approximately 10 minutes passed from the time the last man left the apartment until the Grills freed themselves and the police were called.

Mrs. Grill was subsequently taken to the police station where she identified most of the items taken from the apartment. Only $800 was recovered and returned. At trial Mrs. Grill identified her husband's wedding ring stating that their rings were not part of a matched set but were similar in design.

Stewart Grill corroborated his wife's testimony. In addition he testified that while he was blindfolded, one of the men removed his gold wedding ring, stated that it fit him, and that he wanted it and no one else was going to get the ring. Mr. Grill identified his ring at trial and placed it on his finger. When Mr. Grill telephoned the police after untying himself, he informed them of what had occurred and stated that his car had been taken and gave the license plate number.

Officer Marvin Shear of the Chicago Police Department testified that on the morning of August 24, 1974, he observed three black men in a vehicle which had been the subject of a radio bulletin about 10 minutes before. The car was proceeding southbound on Sheridan Road. After curbing the car at 5730 North Sheridan, Officer Shear arrested the driver, Jerry Smith, and the passengers, Waverly Williams and defendant. The vehicle contained the Grills' personal property. At the police station defendant was found to be wearing Mr. Grill's gold wedding ring. A search of Smith disclosed six $100 bills, four of which were discovered in his sock. Williams was searched and two $100 bills and $34 in smaller denominations was recovered.

Waverly Williams, who had previously entered pleas of guilty to the armed robbery and rape charges, testified for defendant. He stated that he entered the Grill apartment with Jerry Smith and Alvin Blake, and that it was not until Williams and Smith had left the apartment after the robbery that they saw defendant and allowed him into the car. Once inside the car Smith offered to sell defendant a ring for $20. After defendant replied that he had only $10, Williams, who had earlier taken the ring from Smith, took the money from defendant and handed him the ring. Williams stated that he gave the police the same account.

On cross-examination Williams testified that he lived at 6131 North Winthrop but that he had spent the night prior to the break-in at a friend's apartment located at 6145 North Winthrop. He did not know where Blake lived. Williams denied knowing anything about a rape or whether a knife was used during the robbery. He stated that after dividing the money, the Grills' property was put into boxes. All but two of the boxes were then taken downstairs and put into the Grills' car. He and Williams then drove away, leaving Blake with the remaining two boxes. They had driven south one block when they saw defendant and stopped briefly to talk to him. This was the only stop that was made. Defendant asked to be driven to his mother's house but when he was turned down accepted a ride to Bryn Mawr and Sheridan Road. En route the car was stopped and the occupants arrested. Williams admitted that he lied when he made a statement after his arrest that he and Smith were standing in front of 6145 North Winthrop when two Puerto Ricans drove up, told them that they were moving and offered them $50 to drive the car to their new address. Williams also admitted that he did not tell anyone that he had given the ring to defendant until the day of trial.

Defendant testified that on the day of his arrest he had left his home and walked to his friend's apartment at 6054 North Winthrop to ask for a ride to his mother's house. Although he had known this friend for 6 months, he did not know his last name. Since his friend was not at home, he left the building, soon met Williams and Smith and was given a ride. Defendant stated that he purchased the ring and had just put it on his finger when they were stopped by the police. He acknowledged that the ring fit him. Defendant denied making a statement after his arrest that the ring had been given to him.

In rebuttal assistant State's attorney Stephen Broahway testified that he interviewed defendant after his arrest, and that defendant told him that he had been given the ring after commenting that he liked it.

The trial judge stated that he did not believe the testimony given by Williams or defendant and found defendant guilty of armed robbery and not ...

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