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People v. Bonds





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. FRED G. SURIA, JR., Judge, presiding.


The defendant, Michael Bonds, age 19, was indicted for the offenses of armed robbery and armed violence. After a jury trial he was found guilty of three counts of armed robbery and sentenced to a term of 14 years' imprisonment in the Illinois State Penitentiary. He appeals, contending:

(1) the defendant was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as the identification testimony of the State's main witness was contradictory, doubtful and unconvincing;

(2) the defendant was denied a fair trial since the principal witness' testimony was improperly bolstered by the admission of hearsay evidence;

(3) the court committed reversible error in giving the Prim instruction (People v. Prim (1972), 53 Ill.2d 62, 289 N.E.2d 601, cert. denied (1973), 412 U.S. 918, 37 L.Ed.2d 144, 93 S.Ct. 2731), to the venire;

(4) the sentence is excessive.

We find no error and affirm.

The judge made several comments to the venire prior to the selection of the jury. He introduced the parties involved in the trial to the prospective jurors, and informed them of the charges pending against defendant. The judge explained the functions and duties of the jury, informed them of their duty to be fair and impartial in reaching a verdict. He also stated the jury's verdict must be unanimous, that the jurors had a duty to consult with one another and to deliberate with a view toward reaching an agreement, that each juror must decide the case for himself after an impartial consideration of all the facts with fellow jurors. The jurors also were instructed they should not hesitate to re-examine their views and change their opinion if convinced it was erroneous; they were not under any circumstances to surrender an honest conviction as to the weight or the effect of the evidence solely because of the opinion of fellow jurors, or merely to return a verdict.

At trial, Bealy Reynolds, one of the victims, testified that he left the First Lady Disco Lounge at approximately 5 a.m., August 19, 1978. Outside the lounge he met Michael Bonds, whom he identified in court as the defendant, and a woman named Thelma. He had never seen either before. Bonds was wearing burgundy colored pants and a matching vest. The lighting conditions were good.

The three walked to the home of David Johnson and Emma Smiley where Bealy was staying. During the 10-minute walk, they passed a number of street lights. After the three reached the residence, Bealy went inside and got some money from David Johnson. He then returned to the others. Bonds asked if he could use the washroom before they left. Bealy opened the door, walked into the dining room, pointed down the hallway and told Bonds where the washroom was located. Bealy then returned to the porch and began to talk to Thelma for three to five minutes, after which he went to check on Bonds. He went into the house. Just as he stepped into the living room an unknown male voice told him to lie down on the floor. He obeyed and lay face down on the dining room floor in front of Johnson's bedroom. As he lay on the floor he heard the defendant, whose voice he recognized, tell Emma to shut up and tell David to give him the keys to the car. Bealy could see the speaker's trousers and shoes. He was wearing the same trousers Bealy had earlier observed on Bonds.

After this a man who had had his foot on Bealy's head told a young lady who was accompanying them to "take this and watch him." She then put her foot on the back of Bealy's neck and forced his face flat down (before his head had been facing towards the bedroom). Bealy then heard Bonds say, "Okay, we have got enough, we have got enough, Mickey, let's go." As the woman took her foot off the back of Bealy's head, Bonds came out of the bedroom and walked past Bealy. Again Bealy could see the trousers — they were the same ones Bonds had been wearing outside the lounge.

Bonds told everyone not to move and then fired a shot into the floor about three feet from where Bealy was lying. The bullet was later found in the basement.

The next time Bealy saw Bonds was at the police station when he identified him in a lineup.

Bealy testified on cross-examination that he did not see and could not describe the man who grabbed him. Moreover, he could not identify the female voice as belonging to Thelma. But he reiterated that he recognized Bonds' voice, clothing and shoes. Bealy also admitted that he was subpoenaed to testify and was arrested and brought by the police to testify. On redirect examination he explained that he had not known of the subpoena.

David Johnson testified that he had been asleep in bed with Emma Smiley, his common-law wife, when Bealy came in about 5 a.m. to get $20. A few minutes later David heard rubbing on the side of the wall. He looked up and saw a man standing with one hand against the wall and a gun in ...

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