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People v. Wright

OPINION FILED AUGUST 29, 1986.

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

v.

LARRY WRIGHT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas R. Fitzgerald, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE PINCHAM DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a bench trial the defendant, Larry Wright, was found guilty of rape, robbery and unlawful restraint. He was sentenced to concurrent imprisonment terms of 14 years for rape, 7 years for robbery and 3 years for unlawful restraint. Defendant's sole contention on appeal is that the evidence did not prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and that his convictions must therefore be reversed. We set forth in detail the evidence as it was presented at trial.

THE STATE'S EVIDENCE

PAMELA McCULLOUGH

DIRECT-EXAMINATION

Pamela McCullough testified on direct-examination that she was 29 years of age. On Saturday, April 9, 1983, at about 3:30 in the afternoon, she was in Chicago on a bus en route to see a girlfriend. She got off the bus at Roosevelt Road and St. Louis Avenue. She had not gone far from the bus stop when a man, who she identified as the defendant, came behind her and grabbed her. She was asked to show the court how the defendant grabbed her and she indicated with her arms crossed in front of her body. McCullough testified as follows:

"Q. What did you do when the man grabbed you from behind?

A. We were having an argument * * * I told him to let me go.

Q. What did he say?

A. He said b____, I'm not going to let you go, you go with me.

Q. How long did this argument last?

A. For a long time.

Q. [D]id you do anything physically in your argument?

A. Yes, I was trying to struggle.

Q. How were you struggling, what were you doing?

A. Pushing."

McCullough was unsuccessful in breaking away from the defendant. She was 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighed 112 pounds. The defendant was much taller.

A second bus came and McCullough asked the driver, "Will you contact the police because this man just grabbed me and I don't know who is he." The bus driver did not respond. The defendant told the bus driver that she was his girlfriend and that she was going with him. The bus driver drove away.

The defendant held McCullough by her left wrist and he pushed and pulled her. She struggled to get away but was unable to do so as the defendant pulled her down Roosevelt Road. McCullough saw a man coming across the street and asked him, "Would you please call the police because this man just grabbed me and I don't know who he is." The man did not help her. The defendant said, "This is my girlfriend, you go mind your own business." McCullough testified that the defendant said that he was going to "bust my head and shoot me." She said she never saw a gun. The defendant took her down St. Louis Avenue. McCullough said she did not see anybody on that street whom she could ask to help her.

The two then went down Central Park Avenue to a building with two blue doors. The doors were open and the defendant pushed McCullough through the doors into the building and down about three stairs. The defendant pushed her onto her back on the stairs and lay on top of her. She was unable to get up. He unzipped her coat and took it off. He then unzipped her blue-jean pants, took her leg out of her pants and put his penis into her vagina. McCullough was not married to the defendant, she was not there of her own free will and she did not consent to this act of intercourse.

The defendant then took her out of the building by holding her by her wrist. He took her down 16th Street and stated to her, "B____, I'm going to kick your ass and I'm still going to bust your head and you're going to be mine."

They walked down 16th Street. The defendant still had her by her wrist. He asked her if she had any money. She told him no, but that she had $6 in her back pants pocket. The defendant put his hand in her pocket and took her money. They walked to a liquor store and went inside, where, McCullough testified, she tried to whisper to the female clerk:

"Q. What did you try to whisper to her, Pam?

A. Will she contact the police because this man just raped me."

The clerk was behind the counter. McCullough was on the outside of the counter, across the counter from the clerk. The defendant was standing next to McCullough when she tried to whisper to the clerk. The clerk did not respond when she whispered but walked to the other end of the counter. Somebody knocked on the window. The clerk did not come back and ask McCullough what she was trying to say to her. The defendant used McCullough's money to pay for beer.

The defendant and McCullough left the liquor store. The defendant was holding her by her wrist. They again walked down Central Park Avenue to the same building with the two blue doors. The defendant forced McCullough to drink some of the beer. He put the bottle up to her mouth and held the bottle as the beer went down her throat. The defendant then pulled and pushed McCullough by her wrist, throat and collar through the doors. She and the defendant again went to the stairway where the defendant again unzipped her coat, again pulled down her pants and again put his penis into her vagina. This second act of intercourse was also without her consent.

After this second act of intercourse, the defendant held McCullough by her wrist and they again walked down 16th Street to another liquor store. There was a lady in this liquor store also.

Testifying further on direct-examination, McCullough stated:

"Q. Alright, what did he say.

A. He told the lady that I was his girlfriend.

Q. And did you say anything?

A. I said, no, I was shaking my head no.

Q. Did he say or do anything?

A. He pulled me out the store."

When the defendant pulled McCullough out of the second liquor store, she and the defendant went down 16th Street to a playground. She testified that she did not remember where the playground was or how far it was from the second liquor store. It was getting dark outside and there were children on the playground playing basketball. McCullough testified:

"Q. Was there any conversation between the defendant and any of the kids?

A. Yes.

Q. Tell the judge about that.

A. The kids were saying `Man let that lady go, you, know, why are you beating her up. Leave her alone.'

Q. And what did he say?

A. You mind your own business.

Q. Before the kids started saying that, what was the defendant doing over there by the wall with you?

A. He was drinking some wine."

The defendant did not let her go. About 20 minutes later, a marked police car with two uniformed policemen arrived. The defendant let McCullough go and she walked around him to the police car. She testified:

"Q. What did you say to the police?

A. I told them could you please help me, this man just kidnapped me.

Q. Okay, what did the police do?

A. They got out of the car and they put the handcuffs on him.

Q. Now did you identify Larry Wright as a man who had kidnapped you?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you tell the police about any other crimes that he had committed against you?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you tell them?

A. I told them he raped me."

That night, McCullough was taken by the police officers to Mt. Sinai Hospital and had a full physical examination, including a pelvic examination. She then went with the police to the building with the two blue doors.

CROSS-EXAMINATION

Testifying on cross-examination about when she and the defendant were in the playground before the police arrived, McCullough stated:

"Q. And you had been fighting, is that right?

A. Yes."

The boys who were playing basketball in the playground asked the defendant what he was doing to McCullough. The defendant told them that they should mind their own business. McCullough testified:

"Q. Now you didn't call out to those boys playing basketball did you?

A. No.

Q. You didn't tell them that this man had just raped you did you?

A. No.

Q. And you stated that you had been in the playground about 20 minutes before the police ...


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