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People v. Brooks





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Rock Island County; the Hon. JOSEPH G. CARPENTIER, Judge, presiding.


After a jury trial the defendant, Robert Brooks, was found guilty of the offenses of attempt murder and aggravated battery. The circuit court of Rock Island County entered judgments of conviction on each offense, but sentenced defendant only on the attempt murder conviction, namely, a term of from 10 to 30 years in the penitentiary.

On this appeal the defendant raises four issues. First, he argues the court erred in the instruction which it gave defining murder, the underlying offense in the attempt charge. Second, defendant contends evidence of an unrelated offense was erroneously admitted by the trial court. Third, defendant asserts that the offenses are based on the same act and therefore only one judgment of conviction and sentence is proper. Fourth, the trial court erred in determining the proper sentence to be imposed because it incorrectly believed a mandatory minimum sentence of 4 years was required.

The defendant and the complaining witness, Addie Edwards, were living together at 63 34th Street, Apartment 35, Rock Island, until the morning of March 1, 1975. On that morning according to Edwards, she drove with the defendant to the rental office to pay the rent. As the defendant got out to see if the landlord was in, Edwards told him, "don't be there [the apartment] when I get back," and she pulled away and left him. She then drove to 11th Street, where she arranged to get the locks and the chain on the doors to her apartment changed. She then went to visit friends in Davenport and did not return until approximately 8:30 that evening, leaving her children with her sister.

According to the defendant, in the meantime, he went to 9th Street after Edwards had driven off. He later went to the apartment to see if Addie was there and discovered that the locks had been changed. The defendant, however, was not upset at this fact stating that, "she done things like this before, you know," and went to look for Addie at her sister's apartment, which was in the same complex.

It was about 8 p.m. when the defendant called on Delores Nunn (Addie's sister). Delores stated that the defendant made a number of threats against Addie's life at this time. The defendant, however, denied having made any of those statements.

Upon leaving Delores Nunn's apartment, the defendant went to visit his mother and his brother. At around 10 p.m. the defendant left his brother's house, first stopping at the Clover Club and then proceeding to Jimmy's Rainbow Inn.

The defendant entered Jimmy's and saw Addie Edwards sitting at the bar. He walked up to her, touched her on the shoulder and said, "Can I talk to you a minute?", to which Edwards refused. It appears from the testimony that it was at this point the defendant pulled out a knife.

When Addie Edwards saw the knife she got up and ran, and the defendant ran behind her. Edwards testified that she saw the defendant's arm in the air with the knife in his hand. Although it was confirmed that the defendant ran behind the victim and that his arm was raised, all other eyewitnesses testified they never saw the knife in the defendant's hand at this point.

The defendant testified that he attempted to grab Edwards and that she stopped suddenly, causing him to crash into her body. She fell forward and the defendant, who was also falling, tried to prevent himself from hurting her. He stated that during his fall, his left hand fell across her left shoulder and the other hand with the knife hit her neck.

The defendant testified further that he had no intent to hurt Edwards in any way and that the reason he had the knife in the first place was only to threaten her so that she would talk to him.

Edwards testified that she remembers falling, but she was not sure if any one fell on top of her. She was, however, able to recollect that no one ran into her.

After the incident the defendant left the bar and went to his aunt's house, where he called the hospital. Discovering that Addie was in intensive care and could not talk to anyone, the defendant fell into shock and, amidst great mental confusion, ...

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