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People v. Leverson

OPINION FILED MARCH 20, 1979.

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

v.

LEMOYE LEVERSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS R. FITZGERALD, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE PERLIN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

After a bench trial LeMoye Leverson *fn1 and Alfred Walker *fn2 were found guilty of aggravated battery, aggravated kidnapping and deviate sexual assault. Defendant Leverson was sentenced to serve concurrent prison terms of three to 10 years for aggravated battery and 15 to 30 years for both aggravated kidnapping and deviate sexual assault. Defendant appeals.

The issues presented for review are (1) whether the State failed to prove defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and (2) whether the trial court abused its discretion in imposing allegedly excessive sentences.

We affirm.

At trial Claude Ellis, identified as Mary Evans' boyfriend, testified to the following: On the evening of November 2, 1975, Ellis was with Mary Evans, his sister Claudia and the latter's son in Claudia's apartment at 2915 West Lexington in Chicago. At 7:30 p.m. and again at 8:30 p.m. Levar Longstreet (a friend) came to the apartment to warn Ellis that Mary Evans' former "pimp," Alfred Walker, "was looking for us." Ellis left the apartment "to check on some tires" but returned at 8 p.m. Before leaving the apartment for the second time at 8:45 p.m., Ellis warned Ms. Evans not to open the door, stating that he had left for her a gun hidden under the mattress in the bedroom.

Ellis returned to the apartment approximately 10 minutes later and found Mary Evans was missing. Ellis observed Ms. Evans' watch on the floor, but he found the gun still under the mattress.

Mary Evans testified at trial to the following: Until October 1975 she had occasionally worked for Alfred Walker as a prostitute. On November 2, 1975, Mary Evans was "staying with" her boyfriend Claude Ellis at his sister's apartment. Ellis left the apartment at 8:20 p.m., but before leaving he told her he left a gun under a mattress. He warned her not to open the doors. Approximately five minutes after Ellis had left, Ms. Evans heard a knock at the back door. She opened the rear door and "a hand holding a gun" was thrust through the door opening. As she attempted to close the door, a man with a gun came through the front door of the apartment and ordered her to open the rear door.

Mary Evans identified defendant Leverson as one of the two gunmen, but she could not remember through which door he had entered the apartment. Leverson and the other gunman ordered her to accompany them outside to a car parked in the alley. They forced her into the back seat of a car which was occupied by Alfred Walker and an unidentified man in the front seat. Walker accused her of "making his woman run off" and he then struck her on the nose with his gun. The four men remained with her in the car and "they" continually beat her during the drive to an apartment at 1020 West 77th Street. The four men and Ms. Evans were admitted into a first floor apartment by Theodore Johnson. Walker forced her into a bedroom and ordered her to undress and lie "face down" on the bed. She was then tied to the bed and "gagged" with a pair of socks. Johnson went into the living room, but the four men remained with her in the bedroom. Walker then beat her with a coat hanger for approximately 20 minutes while Leverson and the two unidentified men watched. Walker untied her and poured cologne over her back and buttocks. He then ordered her to go into the bedroom closet. He told her she was to do whatever Leverson wanted her to do.

When she was released from the closet by Leverson, Walker and the two other men had left the apartment. Leverson ordered her to "perform oral sex on him," which she did for approximately 20 minutes. She then requested to go to the bathroom and Leverson agreed, ordering her "to come right back." Observing that Theodore Johnson was alone in the living room, she locked the bathroom door, raised the window and jumped into the alley. She ran until she located a marked police car.

Chicago police officer Wilkins testified that at 11:30 p.m. on November 2, 1975, he was parked in his squad car at 76th and Morgan and saw a naked woman running from an alley. He observed that she had two socks tied around her neck and described her as "hysterical and sobbing." He also observed multiple cuts and lacerations on her buttocks and back.

Officer Wilkins testified that Ms. Evans led him to an open bathroom window at the rear of a building at 1020 West 77th Street. He heard "a commotion" as he entered through the window and unlocked the bathroom door, but he found no one in the apartment. In the bedroom Wilkins found a "hanger wire with an extension cord wrapped around it," a "blood stained" bedspread and a "starter pistol." Leverson and Johnson were stopped by officers as they exited the front door of the apartment building. Ms. Evans identified Leverson as one of her assailants.

Defense witness Theodore Johnson testified to the following: On the evening of November 2, 1975, four men with whom he was not acquainted forced a woman at gunpoint into his apartment. Leverson was not one of these men. Johnson remained in the living room watching television as the men went into the bedroom, forced the woman to strip and beat her with a coat hanger "for five to ten minutes." The men ordered the woman to go into the closet and then left the apartment. Johnson stated that he never saw cologne poured over the woman's back nor did he see her gagged.

Johnson testified that he had asked his neighbor, Lynn Harris, if she could pick up some grocery items for him. Ms. Harris told Johnson that Leverson would deliver them. When Leverson arrived, the "woman" was still in Johnson's closet. When Johnson told Leverson about the woman, Leverson helped Ms. Evans out of the closet and wiped blood off her back. The woman went into the bathroom and Johnson heard two gunshots. He and Leverson then fled the apartment but were stopped outside the building by police.

LeMoye Leverson testified that on November 2, 1975, the following occurred: Leverson left his girlfriend's apartment at 6:30 p.m. and took a cab to Lynn Harris' apartment at 77th and Carpenter. He remained with Ms. Harris at her apartment until 10 p.m.; then they proceeded to a party at 125th and Halsted Streets. Leverson and Ms. Harris remained at the party for only 20 minutes and then returned to Ms. Harris' apartment at 10:55 p.m. Leverson bought groceries for Theodore Johnson and delivered them to Johnson at 11:05 p.m. Johnson told him about the "woman" in the closet, and Leverson attempted to help her. He did wipe some blood from her back, but he testified that he did not ...


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