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People v. King

OPINION FILED JUNE 23, 1978.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

CLARENCE KING, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Champaign County; the Hon. HAROLD L. JENSEN, Judge, presiding. MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied July 21, 1978.

A bizarre case!

Rape, burglary, robbery.

Jury: guilty.

Concurrent sentences: 10-30 (rape); 3-9 (burglary); 3-9 (robbery).

This court affirms.

The home of Clark Chamberlain (aged 88) was broken into in the early morning hours of June 12, 1976, and Chamberlain's 69-year-old niece, Reba Corray, was raped. The residence had previously been a target of a number of breakins in May and early June of 1976, and, after the June break-in it was discovered that the prowler had defecated on the floor of the garage attached to the house.

On July 3, 1976, at about 1:30 a.m., Ms. Corray was lying in bed when she heard a noise as though someone had pushed on the door to her bedroom. She got up, turned on her bedroom light and opened the door. She saw a black man standing in the doorway who turned and ran out of the house.

Clarence King was later charged with one count of rape, one count of robbery, and two counts of burglary stemming from the June 12 incident and two counts of burglary pertaining to the July 3 incident. At trial, Ms. Corray testified that she had not been able to see the man who raped her because the man had held a pillow over her face during the attack. As to the July 3 incident, Ms. Corray could not identify the prowler but did state that it was a black man wearing a jersey sweatshirt and long pants of an orange color. She testified that the person could have had another shirt on underneath the jersey as the sweatshirt was rather bulky. Although she could not see the intruder's face, she did have a view of his jaw and chin and stated that she did not see a beard on the man.

An officer who investigated the July 3 break-in testified that Ms. Corray had told him that the man was approximately 5'7" and weighed 140 pounds and that she believed she could recognize the prowler if she saw him again. This testimony, however, was contradicted by Ms. Corray who declared she had never made such a statement because she had not been able to obtain an adequate view of the intruder's face.

As to the earlier rape episode, an examining physician testified that Ms. Corray had guessed the assailant to be thin and strong. Furthermore, Ms. Corray told a policewoman that the man had a "slight build." It was later brought out at trial that the defendant was actually about 5'11" and 200 pounds. In fact, Ms. Corray admitted at trial that King did not have a "slight build."

Physical evidence was very important to the State's case. Black hair fragments of "Negroid origin" were found in the sheets from the victim's bed after the rape and Ms. Corray testified that she had never had a Negro individual in her bedroom.

After the rape incident, further investigation by police discovered human defecation on the side of the Corray house and on the ground next to the house. This discovery correlated to the defecation in the Corray garage after an earlier attempted break-in.

But the lynchpin of the prosecution's case was the fact that King's fingerprints were found at the point of entry for the breakins. The defendant's palm print and fingerprint were found on the inside of a window frame and on the screen which had been on the window on June 12, the day of the first break-in. Defendant's fingerprint was also found on a pane of glass which had been in a window on July 3, the day of the second break-in.

The jury returned guilty verdicts on rape, robbery and one count of burglary. King was subsequently sentenced to concurrent terms of 10 to 30 years for the rape and 3 to 9 years each for burglary and robbery.

On appeal, King argues that: (1) he was denied due process by the trial court's refusal to allow him to call witnesses to testify in support of defendant's theory that another individual committed the offense charged; and (2) the trial court erred in failing to hold a hearing on a motion to suppress an ...


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