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People v. Leckrone





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Logan County; the Hon. John T. McCullough, Judge, presiding.


The defendant, Vayne E. Leckrone, was found guilty by a jury of theft, armed robbery, and rape. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, pars. 16-1, 18-2, and 11-1, respectively.) Convictions were entered on the Class X felonies of armed robbery and rape. The court sentenced the defendant to concurrent terms of 30 years' imprisonment on the two convictions. The defendant appeals, arguing that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; that the sentencing court considered an improper factor in aggravation; and that his sentence was an abuse of discretion. We affirm.

The parties stipulated to several of the facts basic to this case. According to the stipulated facts, shortly before midnight on October 3, 1983, the defendant had sexual intercourse with the female victim in the victim's Lincoln, Illinois, apartment. The parties further stipulated that while the defendant was in the victim's apartment, he possessed a two-blade knife. That knife, the victim's piggy bank, and large amounts of change were in the defendant's possession when, shortly before 1 a.m. on October 4, 1983, police officers stopped him in his car.

There was lengthy testimony at the defendant's trial. We will only briefly set out the major testimony presented. The victim testified that she arrived home from her work as a newspaper reporter at 11 p.m. on October 3. At about 11:30 p.m. she was watching television when she heard and answered a knock at her door. The man at the the door was unknown to her. In response to his request, the victim allowed the man to enter her apartment to use her telephone.

According to the victim, after the man entered the apartment he forced her at knifepoint to have sexual intercourse with him. Also at knifepoint he took from her $25 and her piggy bank. The victim identified the defendant as the man in question.

On cross-examination the victim admitted that when she first spoke to the police concerning the instant occurrences she untruthfully told them, inter alia, that her attacker had forced his way into her apartment.

The defendant testified in his own behalf. According to the defendant, at 10:30 p.m. on October 3 he was sitting outside a tavern located near the victim's office. When the victim walked past him, she and he had a conversation. Just before the victim walked on, according to the defendant, she invited him to her apartment.

According to the defendant's testimony, later that night he decided to go to the victim's apartment for the night. There, the defendant and the victim engaged in consensual sexual intercourse. According to the defendant, as he was removing his trousers at the victim's apartment, his knife fell from his pocket. The knife's unique design attracted the victim's attention, but the knife remained on the floor. He never used it.

The defendant further testified that when he decided to leave, despite the victim's protests, the two exchanged angry words. The defendant took the victim's piggy bank, instructed her that he was charging her for their sex, and left.

On appeal, the defendant's first argument is that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Specifically, the defendant argues that as the evidence was consistent with the intercourse having been consensual and as the victim admitted having lied to the police, the evidence was insufficient to prove his guilt. In his argument, the defendant asserts that the conviction depended upon the victim's testimony, which was impeached by her own admissions. The defendant also points out that much of the testimony other than the victim's was consistent with his testimony on consent.

In its counterargument the State correctly observes that resolution of the facts in this case required primarily an examination of the credibility of the witnesses.

Weighing credibility of witnesses and otherwise assessing evidence presented are matters for the trier of fact. (People v. Reese (1973), 54 Ill.2d 51, 294 N.E.2d 288.) The existence of conflicting evidence is insufficient grounds for reversal of the finding of the trier of fact. (People v. Springs (1972), 51 Ill.2d 418, 283 N.E.2d 225.) A court of review will not set aside a finding of guilty unless the evidence is so palpably contrary to the verdict or so unreasonable, improbable, or unsatisfactory as to raise a reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt. People v. Sumner (1969), 43 Ill.2d 228, 252 N.E.2d 534.

• 1 We do not consider that the record reveals a reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt. The victim's testimony was clear and unhesitating. She satisfactorily explained her prior inconsistent statements to the police both by her unsettled mental state immediately following the defendant's visit to her apartment and by her concern at the time for how she, a young, single woman living alone, would explain to her parents that she had voluntarily allowed the defendant into her apartment. Neither the defendant's own nor any other testimony presented raises a reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt.

• 2 The defendant's second argument is that the sentencing court erred in considering the ...

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