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People v. Stokes

OPINION FILED AUGUST 24, 1979.

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

v.

JOHN ALBERT STOKES, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. RUDOLPH L. JANEGA, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 18-2) and sentenced to a term of 6 to 18 years imprisonment. On appeal, he contends that (1) the trial court denied him his right to present a defense, (2) the prosecutor's closing argument denied him a fair trial, and (3) he was improperly sentenced.

The following pertinent evidence was adduced at trial.

For the State

Josephine Lenardi

On March 2, 1976, she worked as the cashier in a record store known as "Val's Halla," located at 723 1/2 South Boulevard in Oak Park. The store is owned by Val Camilletti. The store is "well lit" by spotlights and fluorescent lights, including two spotlights over the cash register and counter. At approximately 6:30 p.m., a man whom she identified in court as the defendant entered the store. After looking at records for about 15 minutes, defendant brought a used record up to the counter and asked her if she would play it for him. She told him they did not play records for customers, and defendant returned it to the used record room. A few minutes later, defendant brought up a box of "Genie" incense, paid for it, and left the store. She next saw defendant exit from an orange "Karmann Ghia" automobile which was parked on the street in front of the store. He came up to the cash register and said, "Hi." He had a small black gun in his hand, and had nothing over his face. He said "give me money." When she gave him the "fives" and "tens," he told her to give him the "ones" too. She said, "don't shoot me," and gave him all of the one-dollar bills, including 25 bills which were wrapped in an orange paper band. Defendant then ran out of the store, got back into the orange Karmann Ghia, and drove east on South Boulevard. Val Camilletti and a customer then walked in, and Val called the police. She described the offender to Val and the police as a black male in his 20's, about six feet tall, wearing a brown jacket, brown hat, blue jeans and a short beard, and driving an orange Karmann Ghia. At 8:30 or 9 that night, she viewed a six-man lineup at the Oak Park Police Station, and identified defendant as the offender.

On cross-examination, she acknowledged that although defendant faced her directly across the two or three feet wide counter for a total of five to six minutes, she did not notice whether or not he had any scars on his face. She acknowledged that she did not count the money in the cash register, and did not know the amount that was there when she gave it to defendant.

Val Camilletti

She is the owner of "Val's Halla, Inc." a record store and the scene of the robbery. The store is lit by spotlights and fluorescent lights. On March 2, 1976, at about 6:30 p.m., she saw defendant, who apparently was a customer, in the store. She went to the rear of the store's used record room, and was using the phone to make some long distance calls. At approximately 7 p.m. she heard Jo Lenardi, who was working as the cashier, say "Oh no, please don't shoot me." She told the person on the phone that she thought they were being robbed, and rushed to the front of the store. She saw an orange Karmann Ghia pulling away. Lenardi told her that the man in the car had just robbed her. She called the police and relayed Lenardi's description of the offender to them. She inventoried the cash register, and found that $162 was missing. She identified a brown and orange money wrapper as the type of wrapper they would use to wrap $25 worth of single dollar bills.

On cross-examination, she estimated that defendant was two or three feet away from her when she saw him in the store. She acknowledged that her store does not sell "Genie" incense now, and that she could not find any records indicating that she purchased that incense in 1975 or 1976.

Bernard Buckholz, Oak Park Police Officer

On March 2, 1978, he and his partner Jan Stachura were patrolmen working in plain clothes and an unmarked car. At approximately 7 p.m., pursuant to a radio call, they drove to Elmwood and Madison, which is approximately one-half mile southeast of the "Val's Halla" record store. They had been informed that the store had been robbed, and had received a description of the offender and his vehicle. After spotting an orange Karmann Ghia going east on Madison, they turned on their emergency lights and followed it. After about four blocks, the car stopped. Defendant was driving the car, and they ordered him to get out. Stachura frisked defendant, and found that he was wearing a shoulder holster. He also found a wad of money in defendant's pocket, and a loaded "Llama" .22-caliber pistol under the driver's seat. At the police station the money, which was in 10-, 5-, and 1-dollar bills, was found to total $162. Included in this was 25 one-dollar bills wrapped in a brown money wrapper with orange printing on it. They later found more ammunition for the gun under the driver's seat of the Karmann Ghia, and a box of "Genie" incense on the front passenger seat. A six-man lineup was held about one hour after defendant was arrested, and Jo Lenardi picked out defendant as the man who committed the robbery.

On cross-examination, he acknowledged that defendant was not violating any laws when first observed, and he did not attempt to flee. Defendant never complained that his large right ...


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