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People v. Klausing





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Tazewell County; the Hon. CALVIN R. STONE, Judge, presiding.


Following a jury trial defendant was found guilty of burglary and sentenced to a term of imprisonment for not less than 2 1/2 years nor more than 8 years. On appeal, defendant contends that his guilt was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt and that the trial court erred in denying a motion to quash a search warrant and suppress evidence.

Evidence on behalf of the People showed that Mr. Edwards and his wife had been vacationing in Florida during the latter part of December 1973 and, returning to their home in Washington, Illinois, on January 5, 1974, discovered that the house was in disarray and several items of personal property were missing. Marla Dexheimer had been baby-sitting across from the Edwards' residence on January 3, 1974, and saw an old black automobile park on the street and two people emerge. Sometime later the car drove off.

Officer Marshall, assigned to investigate the burglary, observed bootprints at an apparent point of entry. The officer testified that these prints were similar to bootprints found at the other recent burglaries and seemed to match prints on the boots of a co-defendant, Randall Huddleston.

On January 12, 1974, Officer Marshall went to an intersection in Washington with regards to a stalled car and there was a 1965 black Oldsmobile with defendant as the driver and Debra Huddleston as a passenger. Defendant told the officer that the address on his driver's license was incorrect and that he was staying with the Huddlestons at 2161 Washington Road, Washington, Illinois.

Officer Marshall then conducted intermittent surveillance of the residence at 2161 Washington Road between January 12, 1974, and January 16, 1974. During cross-examination, this officer stated that he had formed an opinion based on his surveillance that defendant resided at this address and occupied the southeast bedroom.

During the early morning hours of January 16, 1974, Officer Marshall seized trash bags which had been placed at curbside in front of this residence and, upon inspecting the contents of the bags, found a prescription label made out to Mr. Edwards. A search warrant was obtained and, when executed that same day, defendant answered the door and admitted the police. In the southeast bedroom were found numerous papers addressed to defendant, an envelope addressed to defendant at 2161 Washington Road and men's clothing. Property taken during the Edwards' burglary was found in other rooms of the house.

Defendant, as the sole witness for the defense, testified that he lived with his mother in East Peoria and was an occasional visitor at the Huddleston house, staying there on weekends. Defendant explained that he had given the Huddleston address as his when the car was stalled because the car belonged to the Huddlestons and that was where the repair bill was to be sent.

Defendant now contends that the evidence fails to establish that he was in possession of recently stolen goods, and also contends that since proof of guilt was circumstantial, his testimony offered a reasonable hypothesis of innocence, entitling him to acquittal.

• 1 Evidence of recent, exclusive and unexplained possession of stolen property by an accused, either singly or jointly with others, may, of itself, raise an inference of guilt and support a conviction for burglary. (People v. Reynolds (1963), 27 Ill.2d 523, 190 N.E.2d 301.) Possession is a question of fact for the jury's determination, and that determination will not be disturbed unless there are facts and circumstances which justify a reasonable doubt of defendant's guilt. People v. Harris (1972), 53 Ill.2d 83, 288 N.E.2d 873.

In the instant case defendant was using the Huddleston automobile and told Officer Marshall that his correct address was 2161 Washington Road. See People v. Inman (5th Dist. 1976), 38 Ill. App.3d 752, 348 N.E.2d 510, where admissions by the defendant to the police that he lived at an apartment where heroin was subsequently found were held to support defendant's conviction for possession of heroin.

The fact that numerous correspondence addressed to defendant and men's clothing were found in the southeast bedroom during the course of the search corroborated Officer Marshall's testimony regarding his observations while conducting surveillance of the residence and contradicted defendant's version that he was an occasional visitor who stayed with the Huddlestons on weekends. Defendant's testimony is further contradicted by the fact that when the search warrant was executed on Wednesday, defendant answered the door and admitted the police.

• 2 From the evidence in this case and reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom, the jury could reasonably find that defendant lived at 2161 Washington Road with the Huddlestons and was in joint possession of recently stolen property. See People v. Christeson (4th Dist. 1970), 122 Ill. App.2d 192, 258 N.E.2d 142.

• 3 The general rule concerning possession is well stated in People v. Galloway (1963), 28 Ill.2d 355, 358, 192 N.E.2d 370, 372, cert. denied, 376 ...

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