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People v. Brown

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 12, 1986.

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

v.

ALBERT E. BROWN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kankakee County; the Hon. Wayne P. Dyer, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE WOMBACHER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied January 27, 1987.

The defendant, Albert E. Brown, appeals his convictions for criminal trespass to residence and resisting a peace officer (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, pars. 19-4, 31-1). Although the indictment also charged him with home invasion (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 12-11(a)(1)), he was acquitted of that charge after the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

The defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support either conviction. Further, he complains of the trial court's refusal of the defendant's tendered jury instruction regarding self-defense and its rulings on the State's objections to the testimony of several witnesses. We affirm.

A detailed account of the evidence is necessary for a coherent analysis of whether the trespass offense was proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The following version of the facts is based on the testimony of the victim, Regina McDaniels.

The defendant had lived with the victim for about four or five weeks in the house as to which he was charged with trespass. Approximately five days before the incident in question, Regina had packed his belongings and left them on the front porch. Albert still had keys to the house, although, unbeknownst to him, Regina had had the front-door lock changed.

Regina testified that early in the morning of August 6, 1985, she was awakened abruptly by someone slapping her face. She saw the defendant standing by her bed holding a stick. Regina pulled out a hand gun which she slept with, and pointed it at Albert. They talked for awhile, with the defendant mainly trying to persuade Regina to put the gun down and "straighten this out."

The two then moved into the bathroom and had a conversation about "old matters" for about 10 or 20 minutes. Regina sat on the sink, pointing the gun at the defendant from beneath her leg while Albert held her by the arms.

Darroll McDaniels, age 10, testified that he awoke and heard his mother talking to someone in the bathroom. Without being noticed by Regina or the defendant, Darroll looked in the bathroom and saw his mother seated on the sink with Albert holding her by the wrists. He climbed out his bedroom window and went on foot to the home of his great-aunt, Henrietta Gibson, about a block away. His great-aunt called the police, and an officer arrived a few minutes later and accompanied Darroll back to his home.

When no one answered the officer's knock at the front door, the policeman asked Darroll to go in the house through a front window. Darroll testified that the window screen was open and the raised screen was torn, which it had not been earlier that day. He opened the door for the officers, who went in and spoke with Regina and Albert, took Albert's stick away and went outside. Regina testified that she told one of the officers that Albert had broken in, and that she "indicated" that she had a weapon. However, she told them that she and the defendant were talking, and apparently the officers were preparing to leave.

Before the officers left the premises, Henrietta Gibson arrived and an altercation ensued between her and Albert. Consequently, the police then escorted the defendant from the house and placed him under arrest for the alleged battery of Regina's aunt, an offense with which he was never charged.

The defendant testified as the sole witness in his defense. He maintained that he had moved out of the house in early July, but that Regina had allowed him to keep a set of keys so that he could come and go as he wished.

Albert testified that he did not return to the house from the day he moved out until August 6, at about 1 a.m. Besides just wanting to be with Regina, he said he needed to ask her for money to buy a prescription. Regina did not answer his knock at the front door or his call outside her bedroom window. He testified that since he had forgotten to bring his keys, he raised the screen on the living-room window, opened the window and climbed through.

The defendant claimed that he woke Regina by shaking her shoulder, and asked her to come and look at some stitches on his hand. They went into the bathroom where Regina sat on the sink and they "smooched" and talked about marriage for about 45 minutes.

• 1 The defendant contends that the State's evidence was insufficient to prove that he entered the house without authority. He places great emphasis on the fact that Regina permitted him to retain a set of keys after he moved out, as symbolizing an invitation to enter when he wished. See People v. Hudson (1983), 113 Ill. App.3d 1041, 448 N.E.2d 178.

According to Ms. McDaniels' testimony, however, the only reason that she allowed the defendant to keep the keys was that when she asked him to give them back, he insisted that she reimburse him for the expense of having had them duplicated. She didn't have the money at the time, and she testified that she knew that she could bolt lock the door to keep him out anyway, so ...


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