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People v. Stokes





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. LEONARD R. GRAZIAN, Judge, presiding.


Following a bench trial, defendant was convicted of two counts of aggravated battery and one count of armed violence, and sentenced to six years in the penitentiary. He raises the following issues on appeal: (1) the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to quash his arrest and suppress the evidence; (2) the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not act in self-defense; (3) his conviction for armed violence should be vacated since it is based upon aggravated battery and is thus "doubly enhanced" in violation of his constitutional rights; and (4) the armed violence statute violates his right to equal protection.

The following testimony was adduced at trial.

Naomi Mixon testified that on January 5, 1980, she had dinner with her son at their home and later visited her sister on South Christiana Avenue in Chicago. Then she went to a lounge at 3700 West Roosevelt Road. At about 9 p.m., defendant, one of the patrons at the lounge, offered to give her a ride to her home. The two left the lounge and stopped at defendant's home so that he could change his shoes. While there, Mixon telephoned her son. After she got off the phone, defendant struck her on the arm with his fists, causing her to fall on his bed. He continued to strike her with his fists and then cut her on the foot, hands and head with a machete. Defendant forced her to have oral and vaginal intercourse with him.

The next thing Mixon remembered was being at home. After initially refusing medical treatment that evening, she was taken to the hospital and was treated for her injuries. Later, she was met by police officers who brought her to the police station.

On cross-examination, Mixon admitted to having seen defendant on several occasions at the store she frequented, but denied visiting his apartment in the rear of the store or drinking beer while in the store. At trial, she stated that she took off her clothes after being struck and cut by defendant. However, at the preliminary hearing, her testimony was that she disrobed before he hit her with the machete.

Kerry Harris, Mixon's 15-year-old son, testified that at about 9 p.m. on January 5, 1980, his mother called him. He did not see her until 4 a.m. the next morning. When she arrived home, her pants were bloody, her head was wrapped in a towel, and she was cut "from head to toe."

Doctor Jurg Tauber testified that he treated Mixon at the emergency room of the University of Illinois Hospital on January 6, 1980. She had two deep lacerations: one on the scalp which was down to the bone and one on the left heel. The woman also had superficial lacerations on the left thumb and right hand, and numerous bruises over her entire back, the lower extremities, the buttocks and the left shoulder.

Investigator Fred Stone of the Chicago Police Department testified that at about 1 on the morning of January 6, 1980, he arrived at defendant's apartment with two other police officers. As they approached the building, Stone noticed that the apartment lights were on, and saw a person peering out of the window. Red stains resembling blood were on the stairs near the entrance to the apartment. With guns drawn, the police officers knocked on the door and announced their office. Defendant answered the door and identified himself. He was placed under arrest, handcuffed and put on a chair in the kitchen. After Stone gave defendant Miranda admonishments, he saw blood on the floor and on the sheets of a bed in a bedroom adjacent to the kitchen.

Stone asked defendant about the blood, and the latter responded that no one was injured and that he had been alone for the last 24 hours. A trail of blood stretched from the kitchen to the bedroom. Poking his head into the bedroom, Stone saw a blood-stained machete hanging "in plain view" in a closet without doors. Evidence technicians were called in to "process the scene." When defendant was told that the blood was to be tested to determine whether it was human, defendant initially stated that the blood came from an animal slaughtered pursuant to his job as a part-time butcher, but then said that some of the blood could be his own, due to an injury he suffered. The bloody machete and bedsheets were confiscated and defendant was taken to the police station.

At the police station, defendant was readmonished of his Miranda rights. He then gave the following story: on the night in question he met Mixon, went to his apartment and had sex with her. Before taking her home, he noticed that money was missing from his wallet. He confronted her and demanded his money back, but she refused. A fight ensued during which she was injured.

After the parties entered into a number of stipulations concerning physical evidence and tests conducted thereon, the State rested its case in chief.

Defendant testified on his own behalf that he lived in an apartment at the rear of a store at 1801 W. 13th Street in Chicago. He had known Mixon for about nine months and had sex with her on four occasions. On one occasion, he caught Mixon attempting to steal food from the store and he ejected her from his apartment.

On January 5, 1980, at around 7 p.m., defendant went to Mixon's apartment for a visit. When she asked for a beer, the two got into his car and bought a couple of six packs. Then they returned to her apartment and drank the beer. Mixon told him that she wanted to go dancing. Before doing so, the couple stopped at the home of Sterling Monroe, a friend of defendant. They arrived at Monroe's at 8 p.m., and defendant engaged in a dice game with some of the people there. Later, the two returned to his apartment so that ...

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