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People v. Williams

OPINION FILED JUNE 1, 1981.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

GEORGE WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. VINCENT BENTIVENGA, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE O'CONNOR DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

After a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant George Williams was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 10 years in the State penitentiary. He appeals.

The issues presented for review are: (1) whether defendant was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) whether the trial court erred in allowing a police officer to testify to the complainant's pretrial identification of defendant; (3) whether it was error to allow the State to present two rebuttal witnesses to defendant's testimony and to deny the defendant's motion for a continuance to bring in a surrebuttal witness; and (4) whether defendant was denied a proper sentencing hearing.

Shirley Calhoun testified that on May 6, 1977, she was returning home from work when she stopped at a currency exchange to cash some personal checks and purchase food stamps. While waiting her turn in line a man, later identified as defendant, came in and stood behind her and to the side.

After transacting her business, Mrs. Calhoun left the currency exchange with approximately $500 in cash, food stamps and money orders. She was walking in a westerly direction when she noticed defendant walking in the same direction, but on the other side of the street. Defendant then crossed in front of her and stopped her.

Mrs. Calhoun testified that defendant told her, "Miss, this is a stickup." Her initial reaction was one of disbelief. However, when defendant displayed a gun she handed over her purse and shopping bag. Mrs. Calhoun stated that the gun was pointed at her chest. It was stipulated that defendant was 14 to 16 inches from Mrs. Calhoun.

As the defendant fled down the street, Mrs. Calhoun attempted to chase him on foot. Because of traffic, she lost sight of defendant. She was told by a bystander that he saw defendant running with a purse and then get into a Cadillac. Mrs. Calhoun stated that all she saw was the back of the Cadillac and that she did not see defendant inside the car.

Mrs. Calhoun called the police. The police arrived and she told them what had happened, giving them a description of her assailant as being 5'6" to 5'8" tall, wearing blue jeans, a brown leather coat, a blue jeans hat and a beige looking shirt.

The day after the robbery a police officer went to Mrs. Calhoun's home with approximately 25 pictures. She testified that she looked through the pictures and recognized defendant's picture after viewing about half of the pile. On May 23, 1977, Mrs. Calhoun went to the police station to view a lineup. She stated that she identified the defendant in the lineup as the man who robbed her. She also identified defendant at trial.

A Chicago police officer testified that he took 25 photographs to Mrs. Calhoun's home on May 7, 1977. He said that she picked out a picture of defendant after looking at about 15 of the photographs. He also testified that he conducted a lineup on May 23, 1977, which Mrs. Calhoun attended. He stated that she again identified defendant as the man who robbed her.

Defendant testified in his own behalf. He stated that he had been employed at a gas station, working the midnight to 8 a.m. shift. On May 5, 1977, he went home early because he had the flu. He stayed in his mother-in-law's apartment, where he lived, from May 5 to May 7 because of the illness. Defendant testified that he had never seen Mrs. Calhoun until the court proceedings for this case.

Defendant also stated that at one time he co-owned a green Cadillac with his brother. However, he testified that the car had been totaled in an accident in March 1977. A copy of a police report detailed the accident in which the car was involved. Defendant also denied driving a green Cadillac after the accident, specifically denying that he had driven a green Cadillac on April 29, 1977.

Defendant's common-law wife testified that he was home on May 6, 1977, because of his illness. She stated that her husband was home for three days. She also admitted that her husband had owned a green Cadillac in 1977, but stated it had been totaled in an accident in March 1977.

After defendant closed his case in chief, the State called two rebuttal witnesses. These witnesses testified that they saw defendant get into a green Cadillac on April 29, 1977. Each witness further stated ...


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