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People v. Sanford





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


The defendant, John W. Sanford, and Raymond Nesbitt were charged with three counts of armed robbery and one count of attempt murder. Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of three counts of armed robbery. He was subsequently sentenced to 30 to 90 years' imprisonment.

Defendant appeals the trial court judgment and sentence contending: (1) the court erred in denying his motion to quash his arrest; (2) the State's closing argument denied him a fair trial; and (3) his sentence is excessive. Because defendant does not contest the sufficiency of the evidence, only a brief statement of the facts is necessary.

The State's evidence indicated that on February 3, 1976, at about 1:20 p.m., two men entered Delaney's Pharmacy in Oak Park, Illinois. Mrs. Delaney, owner of the pharmacy, and Mr. Schaefer, the pharmacist, were the only people present. The shorter man, later identified as Nesbitt, asked Delaney for peanuts and whether the pharmacist was present. The taller man, subsequently identified as the defendant, was using the telephone located in the front of the store.

Defendant approached Delaney, who had moved toward the front of the store. He pulled a gun out of a camera case he was carrying on his shoulder and directed her to the back. There, he made her lie face down on the floor. Meanwhile, Nesbitt approached the pharmacist, talked to him briefly and then ordered him to the back and made him lie down. Nesbitt took Schaefer's wallet and two checks from his coat. The men also emptied the contents of the cash register, took Delaney's purse and took various drugs.

At about 1:30 p.m., Officer Nicholas Maffei of the Forest Park police department entered the pharmacy to purchase cigarettes. Maffei was off duty and not in uniform. He observed Nesbitt emptying the contents of the cash register into a purse. Nesbitt reached into his coat pocket indicating he had a gun and said, "This is a stick-up." He ordered Maffei to the back of the store. There, Maffei encountered defendant who, at gunpoint, ordered him to lie on the floor.

Defendant knelt down on Maffei's back, placed a gun to his head, and removed his wallet and watch. Defendant ordered the victims to count to a thousand before they moved.

As the assailants were leaving the pharmacy, Maffei took out his weapon, announced his office, and ordered the men to stop. Defendant spun around, gun in hand, and Maffei fired twice, hitting no one. The assailants ran out the door, entered a car and drove off. Maffei commandeered a car and caught up to them when their car stalled. Both men left the car and ran down an alley. Maffei pursued on foot. According to Maffei, defendant turned around and twice attempted to fire his gun, but it misfired. Maffei apprehended the short man, but defendant fled northbound in the alley.

Officer Douglas Watterson of the Oak Park police department was in a patrol car near the pharmacy at about 1:30 p.m. He received a radio message concerning the robbery in progress and observed a man running who fit the description of the robber. In court, Watterson identified defendant as that man. Watterson identified himself and told defendant to halt. Defendant continued to run and Watterson pursued him and apprehended him in front of a 7-11 Food Store. Defendant possessed a weapon and various items from the pharmacy. Maffei, Delaney and Schaefer also identified defendant as the tall armed robber.

Defendant called his accomplice, Raymond Nesbitt, to testify in his behalf. Prior to trial, Nesbitt had pleaded guilty to the armed robbery charges. Defendant's attorney and the court admonished defendant that Nesbitt's testimony might be harmful to his case. The court also ascertained that Nesbitt did not want to testify. Nevertheless, defendant called Nesbitt as a witness. Nesbitt testified as to his name and address and stated that he pleaded guilty to the armed robbery in question. When questioned about the armed robbery, Nesbitt refused to answer, asserting the fifth amendment.

Defendant's first contention, raised in his pro se supplemental brief, is that the trial court erred in denying his motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence. At the hearing on this motion, the State presented evidence substantially in accord with the facts recounted above. Moreover, on review of the trial court's ruling we may rely upon additional testimony adduced at trial. (People v. Turner (1976), 35 Ill. App.3d 550, 342 N.E.2d 158.) Defendant testified at the hearing on the motion that on February 3, 1977, at about 2 p.m., he was arrested while he stood outside a 7-11 Food Store in Oak Park, Illinois. He stated that at the time of his arrest he was not violating any law.

An arrest without a warrant is lawful where a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe a person is committing or has committed an offense. (People v. Marino (1970), 44 Ill.2d 562, 256 N.E.2d 770; Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 107-2(c).) A police officer has probable cause to arrest when the facts and circumstances within his knowledge are sufficient to warrant a man of reasonable caution in believing an offense has been committed by the prospective arrestee. (People v. Robinson (1976), 62 Ill.2d 273, 342 N.E.2d 356.) Probable cause to arrest may be based on knowledge received from a police radio call. (People v. Taylor (1974), 58 Ill.2d 69, 317 N.E.2d 97.) A reviewing court will affirm the trial court's determination unless it is manifestly erroneous. People v. Connor (1978), 57 Ill. App.3d 607, 373 N.E.2d 684, cert. denied (1978), 439 U.S. 1005, 58 L.Ed.2d 681, 99 S.Ct. 617.

Officer Watterson was present in the vicinity of the armed robbery minutes after its occurrence. He received a radio call informing him of the robbery and providing a description of the robbers. Watterson saw defendant running near the scene of the robbery. Defendant matched the description provided. Defendant continued to run after Watterson announced his office and commanded that he stop.

• 1 Under these facts probable cause for arrest is apparent. Since the arrest was proper, the search and seizure of defendant's gun and items from the pharmacy was also proper. (People v. Connor.) Accordingly, the ...

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