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People v. King





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Peoria County; the Hon. STEPHEN J. COVEY, Judge, presiding.


The defendant, Kevin King, initiated this appeal following his conviction for burglary in the Circuit Court of Peoria County. As a result of being found guilty by a jury, the defendant was sentenced to a determinate term of imprisonment of three years.

In this appeal, the defendant raises two issues. The first is whether he was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The second is whether the trial court erred by instructing the jury on a theory of accountability where the evidence, according to the defendant, does not support such a theory. To determine the merit of the defendant's contentions, the facts established at the trial must be examined.

For the State, Leroy Mack testified that he previously was a jailer at the Peoria County Sheriff's Department. On October 30, 1975, Mack took a set of the defendant's fingerprints, and People's exhibit No. 1 was the set of fingerprints he took from the defendant.

Mary Jo Watson testified that she resided at 2123 S. Griswold, Peoria, and had lived there since April 1979. On October 3, 1979, Watson left her home at 2:45 p.m. to go to work. When she left, both her front and rear doors were locked, and her kitchen windows were closed and secured by a coat hanger which was twisted through the latches.

When Watson returned home at 11:15 that night, she entered through the front door which she unlocked with the key. She noticed, however, that the kitchen light, which she had left off, was on and that four window panes in her kitchen windows were broken. The curtains on the kitchen window were half off. The shade was pulled completely down and ripped half way off the rod. After observing this, Watson asked Brenda Yates, her next door neighbor, to call the police. Ms. Yates lived in the next apartment with her mother, Myrts Yates, and her seven brothers and sisters.

In a few minutes a police officer arrived. Watson asked the officer to accompany her to the second floor of her apartment. Upstairs in her bedroom, Watson observed that the bedspread and mattress were pulled off the bed, the dresser drawers were pulled out, and clothes were scattered all around the room.

While the police officer was still in the apartment, the defendant and someone named Joe came by. Watson testified that she knew the defendant because she had seen him almost every day at the Yates' apartment.

On direct examination, Watson stated that the defendant had been in her apartment only once prior to the night of the incident. At that time, Watson was playing cards with some people, and the defendant came inside her front door but did not go into the kitchen. Watson also stated that the defendant had never been in her kitchen in her presence. On cross-examination, Watson recalled that the defendant had also been in her apartment during the summer of 1979 to fix her stereo, but although she did not believe the defendant entered the kitchen, she could not state for certain that the defendant had not entered her kitchen during that visit because it had been so long ago. She did recall that on that occasion she got a knife for him from the kitchen.

Watson testified that she did not give the defendant permission to enter her house on October 3, 1979. The only item which Watson noticed was missing after the break-in was her television set, which she had left on a portable stand in the living room. When she arrived home, the television was gone and the stand was in the kitchen. The day following the break-in, the television set was returned by Larry Yates, who also lived next door.

Peoria Police Officer Jeffrey Adams testified that on the night of October 3, 1979, he investigated the break-in at Ms. Watson's apartment. Inside the kitchen, Adams noticed that two panes had been broken out of the kitchen window. Adams described the window as four feet by four feet. It is divided into four sections, each having three panes of glass. Two of the sections swing open into the house. Adams noticed that a coat hanger was wrapped around one of the handles on the window. The screen and blinds were on the floor.

Adams also noticed what looked like latent fingerprints and smudges on the window. He secured the area and called for a "lab man" to come to the scene. No one touched the glass after Adams arrived in the apartment.

While Adams was there, a neighbor, Larry Yates, came into the house and spoke with Ms. Watson. Several minutes later, Henry Joe Pittman and the defendant came into Watson's apartment and stepped inside the kitchen, but they did not go near the window. Officer Adams spoke with Yates and Pittman while the defendant stood next to Pittman. Adams stated to them that he had found fingerprints on the window. The defendant, Yates and Pittman stayed approximately two minutes and left.

In the upstairs bedroom, Adams observed that the room had been ransacked. All the dresser drawers were open and the mattress was pulled off the box spring. Adams remained in the ...

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