APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Tazewell County; the Hon.
JAMES D. HEIPLE, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE SCOTT DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
This is an appeal from an order of conviction entered by the Circuit Court of Tazewell County after jury trial. Defendant had been charged with robbery and theft from the person. He was found guilty of robbery and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. The sentencing order does not show entry of judgment on the theft from the person charge.
On August 17, 1978, at 10:15 a.m., Evelyn Blankenship, co-owner of Pete and Mary's Tavern in East Peoria, returned to her establishment from the bank. She carried a bag containing $10,000. A lone man, dressed like a woman and later identified as Scott Koch, approached her, grabbed the bag, shoved her against the side of a garage, and ran away with the money.
Koch, Gerald Sherman and the defendant were indicted for robbery and theft from the person of Evelyn Blankenship. The public defender was appointed to represent all three defendants, but he withdrew because Koch's defense was antagonistic to those of defendant and Sherman. After several changes of counsel, Daniel Lampitt was retained by the defendant to represent him.
Three days later Lampitt filed a written motion for a continuance, alleging he needed more time to prepare a defense because some of the State's witnesses had moved and because certain photographs had not been furnished in discovery. His motion was denied and the cause ordered to trial without delay.
At trial Koch testified that defendant and Sherman approached him on Friday or Saturday of the previous week and asked him to rob Mrs. Blankenship because they were frequent patrons of Pete and Mary's Tavern and would be recognized. On Sunday or Monday, Koch, Sherman and the defendant scouted the area looking for possible escape routes. They rode in defendant's Ranchero. This was corroborated by witnesses who saw Koch and two white males in defendant's Ranchero. Witnesses later identified photographs of defendant's Ranchero.
Koch testified that they cut a hole in the fence near the Cedar Street tunnel and marked the place defendant would pick him up after the robbery. A witness saw three men working on the fence and saw them place a stick near the roadway. Detective Duke testified that on the day of the robbery he saw a stick located near the westbound lane of the Cedar Street overpass. The weeds on the hillside leading to the roadway were broken down and there was a hole cut in the fence along the roadway.
On the day of the robbery Koch, dressed as a girl, went to the defendant's house and defendant, driving a Cutlass, took Koch to a parking lot next to the tavern. After the robbery Koch ran through the tunnel and was picked up by defendant. Defendant, Sherman and Koch divided the money, with Koch getting almost $3,000.
Koch testified that no promises were made to him in return for his testimony. He was, however, released on his own recognizance after his testimony before the grand jury. His defense attorney testified that no agreement had been made but Koch hoped for probation.
Koch had testified before the grand jury that he received $2,000 rather than $3,000. After the robbery Koch went to California where he rented an apartment for a month, purchased a car, and made a trip to Las Vegas where he gambled quite a bit.
Detective Paul Fischer testified that he spoke to an elderly stroke victim who saw Koch walk toward the tavern and about 15 minutes later come back wearing a costume.
Judy Cornelison testified that she saw three men engaged in unusual activity in the vicinity of the tunnel near the Cedar Street bridge. She identified Koch as one of the men. She also identified defendant's Ranchero, although she first said it was a station wagon. There was some variance between her description of the two men with Koch and the descriptions of defendant and Sherman.
Defendant did not testify on his own behalf, but he did present several witnesses. One witness, James St. Clair, testified that the Ranchero was borrowed on August 13, 1978, and not returned until late on August 15. The Ranchero was borrowed again on August 16 until August 22. It was not in running condition during the latter period. During cross-examination St. Clair was asked if he told Koch he was a "dead man." St. Clair denied it but said he was arrested for using a vulgar word. A witness seated next to St. Clair at the time of the alleged threat did not hear it. Three friends of Koch testified they did not hear the threat.
Defendant's girl friend testified that she owned a Cutlass but did not let defendant use it. The woman who lives with defendant's father testified that defendant had ...