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People v. Bynum

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 2, 1981.

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

v.

JONATHAN BYNUM ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. HOWARD MILLER, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE MCGILLICUDDY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This consolidated appeal concerns the armed robbery convictions of Jonathan Bynum and Eddie Watts, Jr., the defendants. After a jury trial, Bynum was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and Watts was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. Bynum contends that the trial court erred in sustaining the State's objections to his questions at the hearing on the motion to suppress identification testimony. He also contends that he was denied effective assistance of counsel. Both defendants argue that error occurred when evidence of other crimes was admitted against them.

The convictions in the instant case were for the armed robbery of Clifford Cooper on July 21, 1978, at 12:10 a.m., near 1600 South Homan Avenue, in Chicago, Illinois. Cooper's wallet and his mother's automobile were taken.

Prior to trial, a motion was made to suppress evidence of two robberies that occurred shortly before and after the Cooper robbery. These robberies occurred at the Skylark Lounge, located in the 2700 block of West 16th Street, and on the street in the vicinity of the 3500 block of 77th Street. The trial court ruled that evidence of other crimes would be admissible for the limited purpose of identification and placing the defendants in the vicinity of the armed robbery of Clifford Cooper. The court also ruled that the witnesses to the other crimes could testify that they had seen Watts with a gun.

At trial, Jerry Jagade testified that on July 20, 1978, at approximately 11 or 11:30 p.m., he was present at the Skylark Lounge. Three people, including Watts, entered the tavern. Watts had a revolver and another man was carrying a shotgun. Jagade identified People's exhibit No. 5 as a photograph of a shotgun similar to the one used at the tavern. He stated that he could see the third person only from the waist down because he was lying on the floor at the time.

Clifford Cooper testified that on July 21, 1978, at about 12:10 a.m., he was with Craig Saddler. Cooper was driving his mother's car, a brown, four-door, 1972 Delta 88, license plate number YD 8822. The car was stopped near the intersection of Homan and 16th Street under a street light. Additional lighting was given off by a liquor store which was approximately three to eight feet from the car. At that time a man approached the car on the passenger side and asked for a ride. The man, who was identified by Cooper as Watts, stood there for about three to five minutes. While Watts was offering them money, the rear door of the car was opened and another man jumped into the car behind Cooper and held a shotgun to Cooper's head. Watts and a third man entered the back seat. Watts sat in the middle and the third man sat behind Saddler.

Cooper testified that he was ordered to drive north on Homan, and turn west on Monroe Street. When the car was about one and one-half blocks west of Homan he was ordered to stop the car. Watts pulled Cooper out of the car; and after Saddler got out of the car, the car proceeded west on Monroe, south on Central Park and west on Jackson. Five minutes later, Cooper and Saddler stopped a squad car.

Cooper further testified that he gave the police a description of Watts and the third man. *fn1 At about 12 p.m. on July 21, he viewed a six-man lineup and identified two individuals, Watts and Smith. Cooper identified People's Exhibit No. 5 as a photograph of a shotgun that was the same or similar to the one held by the first man who entered the back seat of the car.

Craig Saddler gave testimony that was substantially similar to Cooper's. He identified Watts and Bynum and said that Bynum was the person who sat in the back seat of the car behind Cooper. Saddler testified that he saw Bynum's face when Bynum slid across the back seat of the car and when he handed Bynum a match. Saddler stated that he identified Watts, Bynum and Smith at a police lineup.

Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wollschlager testified that on July 21, 1978, at approximately 12:45 a.m., he observed an abandoned 1972 black and brown, four-door Oldsmobile, license plate number YD 8822, at 73rd Place and Central Park. The car was registered to Ada Cooper.

Donna Zorich testified that on July 21, 1978, at about 12:50 a.m., she was sitting with a friend in a 1974 white Pontiac automobile, license plate number EN 9889. The car was in the middle of the street in the 3500 block of 77th Street.

During a sidebar, the trial court stated that Zorich could not testify that she saw the defendants in the Pontiac, that she was in the car with the defendants, or that she called the police. The judge ruled that Zorich could only testify that she saw the defendants in a car that night.

When Zorich resumed testifying, she identified Watts as the person she saw in the vicinity of the car. She stated that she saw Watts' face after he got into the car and sat right next to her. Defense counsel's objection to this line of questioning was sustained. Zorich then stated that she observed Watts' face for 30 seconds.

Chicago Police Officer Michael Hughes testified that he received a radio message at about 12:50 a.m. on July 21, 1978, concerning a 1974 white Pontiac, license number EN 9889. He observed that car, occupied by two or three black males, travelling east on 79th Street and gave chase. The driver lost control of the car at approximately 2100 West 79th Street and the occupants exited. Officer Hughes testified that Watts and Smith ran into a prairie ...


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