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People v. Goodum

OPINION FILED JULY 30, 1984.

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

v.

DONELMO GOODUM, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Robert L. Massey, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE MCGLOON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

JUSTICE CAMPBELL delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a jury trial, defendant Donelmo Goodum was convicted of two counts of armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 18-2), two counts of unlawful restraint (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 10-3(a)), and two counts of armed violence (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 33A-2) based on the underlying felony of unlawful restraint. The trial court vacated the unlawful restraint convictions and sentenced him to concurrent terms of seven years on the armed robbery convictions and seven years on the armed violence convictions.

On appeal, defendant contends that (1) he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) his convictions for armed violence should be vacated because they are based on unlawful restraint; (3) he was denied his fourteenth amendment right to equal protection and his sixth amendment right to an impartial trial because the State used its peremptory challenges to exclude black jurors; and (4) his right to a fair trial was compromised by prosecutorial misconduct.

We affirm in part, reverse in part.

At trial, the crux of the State's case was the testimony of the complainants, Lendell Collier and Masseo Johnson. They testified that on March 18, 1981, at 10:30 p.m. they were with Michael Miller in C & J Liquors. As they left the tavern they were approached by defendant, who was holding what appeared to be a gun at his waist. Defendant directed them into an adjacent hallway. Once inside the hallway, defendant moved his gun from his waist to his jacket pocket. Thereafter, defendant's companion, Willie Robinson, entered the hallway. At defendant's command, Robinson searched the others' pockets, removed $33 and placed it on a bannister. Defendant seized the money from the bannister. Miller, oblivious to what was happening, entered the hallway and began joking with defendant. The owner of the building entered and ordered everyone to leave. Johnson, Collier and Miller ran out the door followed by defendant and Robinson. As they approached Collier's home, complainants and Miller noticed defendant and Robinson standing approximately 40 feet away in an alley. Defendant raised his arm and fired a shot in their direction. They then called police from Collier's home.

Officer Roger Vinge testified that he arrested defendant and Robinson near the alley where the shot was fired. Defendant attempted to discard a .38-caliber revolver which had one bullet discharged. However, Officer Vinge was able to recover it. At the police station, Collier, Johnson and Miller identified defendant and Robinson from three separate lineups.

Assistant State's Attorney Ditore interviewed all of those involved in the incident. At trial, he testified as to the contents of Robinson's post-arrest statement. According to Robinson, defendant approached Collier and Johnson with what appeared to be a gun in his pocket. After someone gave defendant marijuana, defendant and Robinson went to a nearby alley where defendant pulled out his gun and fired a shot.

Ditore further testified that defendant gave an oral statement in which he claimed Robinson pulled a gun on complainants and took some marijuana from them.

Defendant's testimony at trial was inconsistent with his post-arrest statement. At trial, defendant and Robinson testified that they encountered Johnson, Collier and Miller at C & J Liquors and went next door to buy marijuana. Robinson gave $3 to Johnson, who displayed several bags of marijuana. When defendant complained about the quality, he and Johnson began to argue. Eventually everyone left the hallway. In an alley near Robinson's home, defendant took out the gun he was carrying and fired it to prove that it was real. Defendant discarded the gun when police approached. A police department receipt for personal property introduced at trial indicated that defendant had $2.41 in his possession at the time of his arrest.

Michael Miller testified for the defense. Corroborating defendant and Robinson's testimony, he testified that no armed robbery occurred. Rather, the entire incident was a dispute over a marijuana transaction.

Defendant was found guilty on all charges.

First, defendant contends that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In support of this contention, defendant argues that the testimony of Michael Miller corroborated defendant and Robinson's testimony that no armed robbery occurred. He also relies on the fact that at the time of his arrest, he had only $2.41 in his possession.

• 1 Having thoroughly reviewed the record, we find that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict. It is well established that the testimony of one witness, if credible and positive, will sustain a conviction even though it is contradicted by the accused. (People v. Novotny (1968), 41 Ill.2d 401, 244 N.E.2d 182; People v. Flores (1979), 79 Ill. App.3d 869, 398 N.E.2d 1132.) Testimony may be credible despite minor inconsistencies. (People v. Lutz (1982), 103 Ill. App.3d 976, 431 N.E.2d 753.) Unless the evidence is so improbable as to raise a reasonable doubt of a defendant's guilt, a reviewing court will not ...


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