Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. Marvin
Dunn, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE HOPF DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
The defendant, Marvin Reed, was found guilty of felony theft (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 16-1(d)(1)) and conspiracy (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 8-2) after a jury trial in Kane County. He was sentenced on the theft conviction to 24 months' probation and ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $8,500 plus costs.
Defendant was initially charged by an 11-count indictment filed in Kane County on June 24, 1980. Prior to trial the circuit court dismissed three of the conspiracy counts. Subsequently, this court reversed the order dismissing those counts. (People v. Rodgers (1981), 98 Ill. App.3d 999, 424 N.E.2d 1312, appeal allowed (1981), 85 Ill.2d 580.) The State ultimately chose to proceed only with three counts of the indictment. Defendant was found not guilty of theft of a motor vehicle.
On appeal defendant contends that certain exhibits, as well as certain statements of the State's key witness, were inadmissible hearsay. The fact that these were admitted into evidence, he contends, was reversible error. Additionally, defendant argues that the trial court erred when it denied his motion to discharge the petit jury panel and that the prosecutor made prejudicial statements in the closing arguments.
The key witness for the State was Sandra Mister, who testified under a grant of immunity. At the time of the trial she had criminal charges pending against her in Cook County. She testified that she had worked for a man named Donald Lawson. Her task was to meet with prospective buyers and collect money from them at the time the cars were delivered. She indicated that she had sold 15 cars for Lawson. She met the defendant in August of 1978 for the purpose of delivering a stolen car to him. She and defendant went into a bar and defendant signed a title application form with the name Cynthia Nelson, explaining that this was the name of a close friend of his wife. She indicated that defendant paid $3,500 or $4,000 and she gave defendant back $200 as a commission for the sale. Over objection, she testified that she was making the sale for Lawson and that Lawson had requested that the $200 be given to defendant. She testified that Donald Lawson was murdered on July 21, 1979.
Mister testified that at a second meeting with defendant she discussed the sale of another vehicle. This vehicle was to be sold to an individual named William Gilmore or Gilmore Williams. Later, Mister learned that the buyer of the vehicle was named Lowell Gilmore. She delivered the vehicle to Gilmore, who paid $6,000 or $6,500 for it, and she gave a $200 commission to defendant. The defendant objected to this testimony. She also indicated that she had a third meeting with defendant which concerned a problem he was having with the license plates on the first car that was purchased.
A number of other witnesses testified, both for the State and the defense. The State called numerous police officers from Aurora and Chicago to testify as to various stolen vehicles, altered titles, altered or removed V.I.N. numbers and the results of a search of the residence of Donald Lawson. Prior to the Lawson murder, Investigator Cardinale had searched the Lawson residence and removed various car titles and documents from the residence. He testified that he had seen Lawson driving a blue Lincoln, a vehicle which he searched after Lawson was murdered. The results of his search of that auto included a phone and address book that he found in the glove compartment. This address book was admitted into evidence over the defendant's objections. The address book included the defendant's name, Marvin, followed by his phone number 898-8973. It also contained the name of Lowell Gilmore and a phone number. Gilmore was the named co-conspirator in this cause.
There was testimony from a Bloomington policeman about a stolen 1977 Lincoln which matched the identification numbers of a stolen vehicle and which also matched the description of the vehicle that witness Sandra Mister testified she delivered to defendant and Lowell Gilmore.
A secretary for the Cook County State's Attorney's office testified concerning a photostat of subpoenaed telephone records of Donald Lawson. These records were admitted as evidence. Over objection there was testimony concerning statements defendant had made before the grand jury. Defendant admitted to having purchased a Lincoln Mark V at a private sale and having paid cash for it. He indicated his wife had since sold the car.
The keeper of records at Illinois Bell offered a billing record dated August 28, 1978, as evidence. These telephone records indicated that three calls were made from the Lawson number to defendant. The records were admitted as evidence. A representative of the Secretary of State's office testified as to the titles and registration history of the vehicle in issue as well as two other stolen vehicles.
Defendant had five people testify as character witnesses. Gerry Gilmore, a named co-conspirator against whom charges had been dropped, testified that neither he nor his brother, Lowell Gilmore, knew either Donald Lawson or defendant, Marvin Reed.
The defendant took the stand and testified that he had only met Sandra Mister on one occasion but that she was a co-worker of his wife. He stated that they had struck up a conversation at the bar and that Mister had made reference to dealing with repossessed cars. She attempted to interest him in buying a Mercedes but defendant indicated he wasn't interested. Defendant denied being present when a car was delivered to Lowell Gilmore.
Defendant's first contention on appeal is that the trial court erred in allowing certain exhibits into evidence. The first was a hand written address and telephone book found in a car that had been driven by Donald Lawson, a named unindicted co-conspirator. The address book was recovered by the Chicago police from the Lawson vehicle after his demise. As indicated, the book contained defendant's name and phone number as well as that of Lowell Gilmore.
Defendant urges that because there was no testimony as to the ownership of the book, who had written in it, who had put defendant's name in it or how it had gotten into the Lawson vehicle, it was a hearsay document that lacked authentication. Therefore, he contends it was error for the court to allow it in as evidence. The parties both agree that the book was used to corroborate Mister's testimony. The ...