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People v. Gunderson

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 8, 1978.

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

v.

MONTE GUNDERSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. WARREN WOLFSON, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE BROWN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a bench trial, defendant, Monte Gunderson, was found guilty of armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 18-2) and sentenced to a term of five to seven years. On appeal he contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion to quash the arrest and suppress the seized evidence and in finding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Co-defendants, Stephanie Crawford and John Kelly are not involved in this appeal.

Prior to trial, the court heard evidence on defendant's motion to quash the arrest and to suppress a paper bag with money recovered at the time of the arrest. A summary of the pertinent testimony presented during that hearing follows.

Officer Carl Bergman testified that he was a sergeant with the Evergreen Park Police Department and was so employed on October 14, 1974. About 10:30 p.m. on that date, he was present in the Evergreen Park police station at 94th and Kedzie Avenue when he was informed that an armed robbery of the White Hen Pantry at 85th and St. Louis Avenue in Evergreen Park had just been committed by two white males. Officer Bergman and his partner left the station house in an unmarked squad car and proceeded north on Kedzie Avenue to 91st Street and then west on 91st Street. While traveling, they received a radio dispatch message that one of the males was tall, thin, with a mustache, a goatee, and long dark hair, and that the other one was short with a mustache and shorter dark brown hair. They also learned that a sum of money had been taken.

When they came to 91st and Trumbull, the officers saw a vehicle traveling north on Trumbull away from the White Hen Pantry with one headlight out. They had seen only one other car in the vicinity at that time. The officers saw two people in the vehicle and observed that the passenger resembled the description of one of the armed robbers. Making a U-turn, they followed the vehicle for approximately five blocks before they stopped it four blocks north and one block east of the White Hen Pantry.

Bergman further testified that they approached the car with their guns drawn, and ordered the driver and passenger out of the car. It was at this point that Officer Bergman first realized that the driver was a woman. He noted that the passenger was white, tall, with long brown hair, a small goatee, and a mustache. After the passenger got out of the car, the officers at that time saw a third person sit up in the back seat and ordered him out of the car. This third person was a shorter white male with brown hair and a mustache. It was later learned that his name was Monte Gunderson. As he got out of the car, Gunderson said, "Leave the girl out of it, she has nothing to do with it." They then placed all three persons under arrest.

Officer Bergman then proceeded to the passenger side of the car where he observed, through the open door, a paper bag with money "coming out of it." He retrieved the bag and money and the three individuals were taken to the police station.

The testimony of Stephanie Crawford, the driver of the vehicle, corroborated most of the testimony of Officer Bergman pertaining to the stop. She testified that she was pulled over by the officer who had activated his Mars light and spotlight. The officer did not ask for her name or her driver's license at that time. She further testified that both Kelly and Gunderson matched the descriptions given in court.

Following Crawford's testimony, the parties rested. The trial court denied defendant's motion to quash the arrest and suppress the evidence seized.

At the trial, the following pertinent testimony was presented.

Diane Johnson testified that on October 14, 1974, she worked from 6 to 11 p.m. at the White Hen Pantry at 3440 West 95th Street in Evergreen Park. Nancy Shraaf was also working there that evening. The store had bright flourescent lighting, a U-shaped counter with two cash registers and a safe. There were no customers in the store at approximately 10:30 p.m., when a man, whom Johnson later identified as the defendant, walked into the premises. The man was approximately five feet seven inches tall, medium size in weight with a mustache and short to medium length hair. He appeared to be in his middle twenties.

He looked in the dairy coolers and then proceeded to the ice cream coolers which were located directly in front of the cash registers. At that time he told Johnson that it was difficult to decide what flavor to buy because "they didn't know what they wanted." He also said something about children eating ice cream in cold weather.

A short time later, a tall, skinny man in his early twenties with a goatee and mustache entered the store, whom Johnson later identified as John Kelly. Kelly walked to the back cooler and then approached the defendant, who asked him if lemon custard was "fine." They then proceeded to Johnson's counter to pay for the ice cream. Johnson rang up the sale, turned away to look at the tax chart, and as she looked up, defendant had a gun aimed at her, chest level. Defendant then said, "This is a hold-up, give me your money." Kelly was on the left hand side of defendant. Johnson turned to Shraaf to tell her that defendant had a gun. When she turned back, Kelly held the gun and had moved to the right hand side of defendant.

Both defendant and Kelly told her to hurry up, at which point Shraaf obtained a brown paper bag from under the counter and held the bag while Johnson put the money from her register into it. The women were then directed to go to the back of the store. Johnson believed defendant picked up the bag of money since his hand was last seen on it and he was ...


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