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People v. Carpenter





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS J. FITZGERALD, Judge, presiding.


Defendants, Arthur Stovall and Lorenzo Carpenter, were concurrently tried, respectively by judge and jury, and convicted of armed robbery. The court sentenced Stovall to 6 years' imprisonment and sentenced Carpenter to a term of 30 years. The issues raised by Stovall are whether there was probable cause for his warrantless arrest and whether the evidence is sufficient to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Carpenter's appeal presents the issue of whether it was proper for the trial court to admit evidence of other offenses at the hearing on aggravation and mitigation. The pertinent facts follow.

The defendants were charged with the armed robbery of R.M. Danley, an employee of O.B. Masco Drapery Hardware Company at 1737 South Michigan in Chicago. Jack Schnitz, the store manager, testified that on March 7, 1978, at 9:50 in the morning, he was in the work area at the back of the store when he heard the buzzer attached to the front door. There were two aisles that ran to the front of the store. As Schnitz walked down one of the aisles, he encountered Carpenter. Schnitz asked if he could help, but Carpenter just kept on walking to the work area. When Schnitz saw another man walking down the other aisle he ran out of the store.

Danley testified that he heard Schnitz ask, "Can I help you," and "What are you looking for?" but he did not hear a reply. Then Danley saw two men standing near some merchandise bins. One of the men opened his coat, pulled out a shotgun, and yelled "Freeze m____ f____."

The front door buzzer sounded again. When the man with the shotgun turned toward the front of the store, Danley ran into the washroom and locked the door.

Maude Noflin, a receptionist who worked across the street, testified that she saw Schnitz run out of the store followed, a short time later, by another man.

Schnitz testified that he saw Stovall run out of the store, while carrying the company cash box, and yet into Yellow Cab No. 1146.

Police Officer Steven Glynn testified that he was on patrol with his partner when they received a message that there had been an armed robbery at 1737 S. Michigan and that the robbers fled in Yellow Cab No. 1146. Ten to 14 minutes later they saw the cab and they questioned the driver, Kenneth Wardlaw. According to Wardlaw he had been parked at a cab stand on 18th near Michigan, about 20 minutes earlier, when two men got into his cab and ordered him to drive them to a building at 22nd and State. He said he dropped them off at the front of the building.

Officer Glynn testified that Wardlaw appeared nervous. The officers took Wardlaw back to the area of the robbery and asked him to show them the cab stand. There was no cab stand, and Wardlaw's new story was that he had been waiting for someone to come out of a nearby union office. Then Wardlaw told the officers that the two men had flagged him down at 23d and State, ordered him to drive to 18th and Michigan, left the cab for a few minutes, returned, and ordered him to drive back to 22d and State.

Glynn also testified that Schnitz, Danley, and Noflin gave descriptions of the robbers. The officers then asked Wardlaw to show them where he dropped off the two men. Wardlaw showed them the rear of the building at 2250 S. State, even though he originally told the police he dropped the two men off at the front of the building.

The officers arrested Wardlaw and took him to the station at 51st and Wentworth. When he was questioned at the station Wardlaw said, "I may as well tell you the truth," and he informed the police that he participated in the robbery. Officer Glynn testified that Wardlaw said he had been visiting Apartment 502 in the building at 2250 S. State. Stovall and Carpenter were there and they discussed robbing a currency exchange at 18th and Indiana. After driving around the block several times, they told Wardlaw to park on 18th near Michigan. Stovall and Carpenter left. When they returned a few minutes later, they had a cash box. Wardlaw drove them back to 2250 S. State and they all went to Apartment 502 where they split the loot. A few minutes after Wardlaw left, he was stopped by the police.

Acting on the information supplied by Wardlaw, and the descriptions obtained by the eyewitnesses, several officers went to Apartment 502 at 2250 S. State, knocked on the door and announced their office. When Gloria Perkins opened the door for the police they went into the apartment and arrested the defendants. A window in the apartment was open and a sawed-off shotgun was found on the ground below. Besides this, there were shotgun shells in Carpenter's coat pocket.

Gloria Perkins testified that she lived in Apartment 502 and that Wardlaw, Carpenter, and Stovall left the apartment with a shotgun about 9 in the morning on the day of the robbery. They returned about an hour and a half later with the shotgun and a cash box.

At the hearing on aggravation and mitigation, a jail employee who had been guarding Carpenter at the jail hospital testified that, before he was arrested on the robbery charge, Carpenter had escaped from custody. The prosecutor also called a woman who ...

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