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People v. Gomez

OPINION FILED JANUARY 14, 1980.

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

v.

JOHN R. GOMEZ, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. DANIEL J. WHITE, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE GOLDBERG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

After a jury trial, John R. Gomez (defendant) was found guilty of armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 18-2) and sentenced to 8 years. Defendant appeals.

Joseph Bradtke and Steven Treskow testified that on March 17, 1977, they were employed at Meier's Standard Gas Station. At approximately 11:30 p.m., defendant entered the station and asked where the washroom was located. Defendant left the lobby of the station and returned minutes later. Defendant asked Mr. Treskow for some change. Mr. Treskow told defendant to speak with Mr. Bradtke who was in the bay area of the station.

Defendant approached Mr. Bradtke and requested change for a $5 bill. Defendant received the change, turned away from Mr. Bradtke and then turned toward him holding a gun. Defendant ordered Mr. Bradtke into the back room and pushed him against some lockers.

Mr. Treskow entered the back room and was ordered to stand over near Mr. Bradtke. Defendant then demanded money from the complainants. Complainants gave defendant the money they carried in their pockets, approximately $400. Defendant then ran out of the station.

Mr. Bradtke picked up a broom and started chasing defendant. Mr. Bradtke caught up with defendant as defendant ran down a side street and attempted to hide in a blue and white Mustang automobile. Mr. Bradtke threw a bottle at the car but defendant drove away. The incident was reported to the police.

Both complaining witnesses testified all areas of the gas station were brightly lighted with fluorescent tubing and they viewed defendant's face for several seconds.

On April 5, 1977, both complainants identified defendant from a lineup photograph shown to them by police officer Moreth. On April 6, 1977, Mr. Bradtke viewed a lineup and positively identified defendant as the armed robber. Both complainants made positive in-court identifications of the defendant.

On direct examination Mr. Bradtke testified defendant called him the night before trial and told complainant not to testify. Defendant said that it (the robbery) was a small crime and he could be sent to jail for 5 to 6 years. Defendant offered to give the complainants a ride to court the next day. When Mr. Bradtke refused to accept the invitation, defendant asked the complainant to meet him in the cafeteria before trial. Mr. Bradtke did not respond and defendant told him to "think it over and we'll talk about it tomorrow in court."

Mr. Bradtke testified that when he and Mr. Treskow arrived at the State's Attorney's office next morning, Mr. Bradtke told the prosecutors about this phone conversation with the defendant. Mr. Bradtke further testified that the State's Attorney told the complainants to stand in the hall before trial began and see if defendant approached them. They did so.

Defendant approached the complainants and asked what they had decided to do. He told complainants about "another station he had robbed and he got caught in the act." Complainants told defendant they intended to testify against him.

Police officer Konior testified that on March 22, 1977, he stopped the defendant while driving a white and blue Mustang automobile and arrested him.

Joseph Leone, Jr., testified he and defendant had attended a Jethro Tull concert on March 17, 1979. He testified that after the concert was over, he and defendant went to two bars and he dropped defendant off at his house at about 2 a.m. He stated defendant was never out of his sight during the evening. Another friend of the defendant, Robert Sipusich, testified he saw defendant and Mr. Leone at the concert at approximately 11 p.m.

Defendant testified to substantially these same facts. He denied any connection with the armed robbery. He further testified he owned a blue and white Mustang automobile. He denied having a conversation with Mr. Bradtke the night before the trial. He admitted speaking to the ...


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