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People v. Howard





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Fulton County; the Hon. Charles H. Wilhelm, Judge, presiding.


The defendant, Roger Howard, was charged with five counts of taking indecent liberties with a child, two counts of battery and one count of resisting a peace officer. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, pars. 11-4(a)(3), 12-3(a)(1), and 31-1, respectively.) After a jury trial in the circuit court of Fulton County, the defendant was convicted on all counts except one count of battery. He was sentenced to four-year terms of probation on each of the five indecent liberties convictions, with the first 120 days to be served in the county jail. The defendant was also sentenced to a one-year term of probation on each misdemeanor conviction, with the first 120 days in the county jail. All sentences were to run concurrently with one another.

The complaining witness for the State was the defendant's stepdaughter, Lisa Reedy. At the time of the trial she was 15 years old, having been 14 years old when the incidents occurred. Lisa testified that on Easter Sunday morning, April 19, 1981, she was in the front room of her house and the defendant was sitting in a nearby chair. He told Lisa to sit on his lap. When she complied, the defendant placed his hand inside her underpants. The defendant explained that he wanted to see if Lisa was "a good girl or a bad girl," and he fondled her vagina. Although Lisa told him no, he did not stop until Lisa's brother, Clifford Howard, entered the room. After this episode, the defendant went into his bedroom and told his wife, Lisa's mother, Delila Howard, what had occurred.

Lisa testified to a second incident on July 11, 1981. The defendant had awakened her at about 6:30 a.m. He picked Lisa up off the floor of her bedroom, which she shared with her three brothers and one sister, and then dropped Lisa on the floor when she tried to get free. The defendant left the room but returned. He told Lisa to take her younger brother to the bathroom, which she did. On her way back to the bedroom, the defendant stopped her in the kitchen. Once again he told Lisa to sit on his lap, and he fondled her vagina. When he finished, the defendant told his wife what happened.

On July 17, 1981, Lisa was outside of the house when the defendant asked her to come into the garage. The defendant leaned Lisa against some tires and began kissing her. He also rubbed the outside of her pants around the vagina area. Lisa broke away and went into the house. Lisa said that her younger brother, Carl Reedy, was around the garage at the time. However, when Carl Reedy testified for the defense, he claimed that he did not see the defendant doing anything to Lisa.

Lisa described a fourth incident with the defendant which occurred on July 19, 1981, at about 3:30 a.m. The defendant came into Lisa's bedroom and awakened her. He had been drinking. She was told to go into her parents' bedroom so her parents could talk to her. When Lisa was seated on their bed, the defendant asked her why she had been lying to her mother concerning the defendant's sexual advances. Lisa said she had not been lying. The defendant pushed Lisa and struck her. After some further conversation, the defendant told Lisa, "Well, I ought to just screw you and get it over with. It's what you want." Then he pulled off Lisa's underpants, tearing them in the process, and inserted his finger into her vagina. When Lisa's mother attempted to intervene, the defendant pushed her back on the bed. Afterwards, Lisa went to her room to go to sleep.

At approximately 7:30 a.m. on July 19, 1981, the defendant and Lisa were in the kitchen together. He fondled her and inserted his finger in her vagina. Lisa screamed and ran into her bedroom. She climbed into the upper bunk bed with her older brother, Jeff Reedy. The defendant came into the room and pulled her out of bed onto the floor. He told his wife to get Lisa out of the house. Jeff then ran outside the house, and the defendant sent his wife after him. Lisa joined her mother.

Lisa testified further that she and her mother went to a neighbors' house, the Sipes, to call the police. Lisa was telling her story to a police officer when the defendant arrived on the Sipes' porch. The defendant was telling his wife to come outside so that he could talk to her. Other police officers arrived and instructed the defendant to stay. The defendant, however, did not obey them and began to walk away. He had to be apprehended by both officers and handcuffed.

After returning home to change her clothing, Lisa went to a hospital where she was examined by a doctor. From the hospital, she went to make a statement to the police.

The complaining witness' older brother, Jeff Reedy, testified for the State. He corroborated Lisa's testimony as to some of the facts of July 11, 1981, and July 19, 1981. Jeff said that on July 11, 1981, he woke up and heard the defendant lifting Lisa off the floor. He heard her start to cry at which point the defendant dropped her. After Lisa took their brother to the bathroom, Jeff heard the defendant from the kitchen say "Do it," and heard Lisa say "No." He then heard a sound like a slap.

As to the events of July 19, 1981, Jeff testified that he was awakened when Lisa jumped into the upper bunk bed with him. She was crying and screaming. The defendant came into the room and pulled Lisa off the bed, dropping her to the floor. Jeff stated that the defendant was kicking her and telling Delila Howard to get Lisa out of the house before the defendant killed her.

The doctor who examined Lisa on July 19, 1981, Dr. Mohammed Dowlut, testified for the State. He explained that a total pelvic examination was not performed because there was no report of intercourse. However, he described the outer vaginal area as moderately red which could have been caused by various factors, including rubbing.

The State also submitted into evidence a pair of Lisa's underpants. These were torn and described as the pair Lisa wore on July 19, 1981.

The first witness for the defense was the complaining witness' mother, Delila Howard. She denied any knowledge of the defendant's sexual advances toward her daughter until July 18, 1981. Delila claimed that she never witnessed any such activity. Although she admitted that she had made previous statements to the police and the State's Attorney which confirmed Lisa's testimony, Delila said that she had lied then. She claimed to have fabricated the previous statements with Lisa because at first she believed her daughter. Delila also said she lied in order to send the defendant to jail and secure a ...

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