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People v. Castillo





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EARL ARKISS, Judge, presiding.


Defendant Robert Castillo, a/k/a John Mercado, was indicted for the rape and armed robbery of Sheila Hindsley and the armed robbery of Leo Hindsley and Mary Hindsley. Following a jury trial, defendant was found guilty on all counts and was sentenced by the trial court to 15 to 25 years imprisonment for rape and 5 to 10 years for each count of armed robbery, all sentences to run concurrently. Thereafter, defendant brought this appeal and contends: (1) that the prosecutor's cross-examination of defendant was prejudicial, (2) that the prosecutor's final argument was prejudicial, (3) that the admission of the composite drawing was prejudicial error, (4) that defendant was denied his constitutional right to present evidence, (5) that the microanalyst's report was erroneously admitted, and (6) that the evidence was not so overwhelming as to prevent the conviction from being the result of the above-mentioned errors. The facts pertinent to this appeal are as follows:

On August 22, 1972, Leo and Mary Hindsley and their 17-year-old daughter were staying in Room 1155 at the Palmer House Hotel in downtown Chicago while vacationing in Chicago. At approximately 11 p.m. Sheila, who was alone in the room writing postcards, heard a knock at the door. Sheila went to the door and asked who was there. She was told that it was the hotel security guard and that he wished to be admitted. She took the chain off the door and opened it and was confronted by defendant who held a gun which he pointed at her. He entered, shut the door, and replaced the night chain.

Defendant tried to open a locked cosmetic case and when he failed he demanded money from Sheila. She gave him $5 from her wallet. He then made her take off her clothes and raped her. At this point Mrs. Hindsley arrived at Room 1155, used her key to unlock the door, but was unable to enter the room because of the night chain which was in the locked position. Sheila screamed to her mother to hurry and knocked the chain loose. Mrs. Hindsley then entered the room, and defendant took her wallet at gunpoint. Mr. Hindsley arrived moments later and his wallet was taken. Defendant ripped the phone from the wall and left, warning the Hindsleys not to leave the room for five minutes or be killed.

A few minutes later Mr. Hindsley called hotel security from another room on the 11th floor and Chicago police officers arrived shortly thereafter. Sheila described defendant as a male, Puerto Rican, 5'7" or 5'8", weighing 130 pounds, wearing gold wire-rimmed glasses with a rose tint, and having long sideburns. Each of the Hindsleys included facial blemishes such as pock marks or large pores under the eyes as part of their description.

Sheila was taken to Henrotin Hospital where tests were taken which resulted in a smear specimen being transported to the Crime Lab. A blanket from Room 1155 was also transported to the Crime Lab in the early morning hours of August 23. A department microanalyst testified that the slide and blanket possessed human spermatozoa of recent origin but the samples were too minute for further testing. One month prior to trial defendant submitted to biological testing but no positive identification could be made by comparing his body fluids with the traces in the slide and blanket.

At 12:50 a.m. on August 23, Room 1115 was processed for latent fingerprints. However, no prints were found which failed to match the fingerprints of the Hindsley family. Later that day the Hindsleys were unable to identify any mug shots from the albums which they viewed. During a 1- to 2-hour session the Hindsleys separately described defendant to a police artist until a final sketch was made.

During the last week of August, 1972, a Chicago police investigator showed a copy of the artist's sketch to Jack Moran. He operates the Moran Detective Agency which provides security to industrial and commercial property. Moran gave the investigator a photo of defendant which was affixed to an employment record. Defendant had been employed as a security guard for the Moran Agency in 1971. Moran testified that defendant had worked at the Sherman House Hotel in Chicago. Defendant denied that he ever worked at that hotel.

Detective Edward Pickett of the Criminal Justice Division, State of Connecticut, received six photographs from the Chicago Police Department in the mail on September 21, 1972. This group included a blow-up of the photo of defendant obtained from Moran. On that date, Detective Pickett went to the Hindsley home in Baltic, Connecticut. He showed the photographs to Mrs. Hindsley who selected defendant's photograph and signed the back as instructed. Shortly thereafter Mr. Hindsley arrived home, later followed by Sheila. Each was shown the group of six pictures and each independently of the others selected defendant's photograph and signed the reverse side of the photograph.

On November 17, 1972, Detective Pickett returned to the Hindsley residence, this time with a group of 19 photographs which had been sent to him by the Chicago Police Department. In defendant's employment photo he had been dressed in a suit and had been wearing glasses but in this set of 19 photos defendant was dressed casually and was not wearing glasses. Again each of the Hindsleys independently of each other selected defendant's photograph.

On February 23, 1973, the Hindsleys returned to Chicago. They went to the courtroom for Branch 44 of the Circuit Court of Cook County and were placed in rooms just off of the courtroom by Assistant State's Attorney Charles Leary. At that time, defendant was seated in the courtroom with his attorney, Mr. Kadish.

There were well over 100 people in the courtroom at the time and Mr. Leary and Mr. Kadish escorted each of the Hindsleys, one at a time, into the courtroom. There, each of the Hindsleys, independently of each other and with no influence from the attorneys, selected defendant as the assailant of August 22.

For the defense Clarence Monroe, an optician, testified that he fits eyeglasses, grinding the glass according to the optomologist's prescription. He had made several pairs of glasses for defendant, the last of which being made in April, 1972. The glasses according to prescription were described as "myopic" indicating the condition of nearsightedness. He demonstrated that a lens as thick as defendant's would protrude noticeably from wire-rimmed frames. He stated that defendant always purchased plastic frames similar to those which he wore in court and that he had never made a pair of rose tinted glasses for defendant.

During the defense case, defendant requested permission to amend his list of witnesses to include his mother who would testify concerning defendant's name, the glasses he wore, and his national origin. This motion was denied.

Three witnesses testified that defendant always wore thick glasses with plastic frames rather than wire-rimmed frames, and that defendant never had pock marks under his eyes. In addition, Michael Kennedy, a longtime friend of defendant, and Nancy Healy, in whose home defendant resided during August of 1972, testified that defendant did not have a maroon jacket. All Hindsleys had testified that defendant wore such a jacket. ...

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