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03/05/87 the People of the State of v. Frank Ranola

March 5, 1987





505 N.E.2d 1191, 153 Ill. App. 3d 92, 106 Ill. Dec. 400 1987.IL.261

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Paul A. O'Malley, Judge, presiding.


Justice Linn delivered the opinion of the court. McMorrow, P.J., and Johnson, J., concur.


The incident giving rise to the charges against defendant occurred on March 13, 1984, in the Gemstone Jewelry Store located in the lower level arcade at 444 West Fullerton in Chicago. On that date the store was owned and operated by the victim, Chanan Mandel, who activated his electronic buzzer and admitted defendant to the store about 2:20 p.m. Although Mandel did not know his name at the time, he recognized defendant as a person who had previously been in the store; Mandel recalled that he had repaired some jewelry for the girl who accompanied defendant on his first visit to the store.

On the afternoon in question, defendant asked to see some jewelry and Mandel showed him several pieces. Defendant then asked about some earrings which were in another case, and after looking them over, expressed an interest in one pair. Mandel leaned over to put the other two pairs back into the case, and as he got up, he felt a blow to his head. When he looked up, he saw defendant about to strike him in the face with a hammer. Mandel attempted to stop defendant, but he was hit above his right eye, and his face and eyes became covered with blood.

Mandel then moved back to the wall and pushed defendant with his body. Both men fell to the floor and in the process knocked one of the cases onto the wall. Then defendant got up and repeatedly struck Mandel on the head with the hammer; Mandel stated that defendant struck him about 10 times in this manner, but that Mandel did not have anything in his hands. At this point Mandel was afraid that defendant was going to kill him, so he told defendant to take the gold and that he would buzz him out. At that, defendant picked up his jacket and walked toward the door, screaming for Mandel to open it. Mandel activated his release mechanism and defendant left.

Mandel, meanwhile, was taken to Grant Hospital, where he received 52 stitches to close the lacerations in his head and also received medication to relieve his pain. He declined admission to the hospital, however, and exercised his option to go home with a friend who promised to watch for any further symptoms which might develop from the beating. Mandel testified that since the incident he has suffered from terrible pains in his head and his eye twitches; he also reported that his head is sensitive to pressure such as that experienced from running water in the shower.

On the day after the incident, Mandel viewed a lineup at the police station and positively identified defendant as the assailant. On cross-examination he stated that he was visually acquainted with defendant and permitted his entry into the store on that basis, but acknowledged that he had told Detective Gildea that the offender was unknown. He explained that he had seen defendant in the store with a woman a few months before and recognized them together, but when he came in alone on subsequent dates, he was not sure if defendant was the same person. He denied striking defendant, but admitted that he might have scratched defendant's eyes when they were scuffling on the floor, and was unaware that he had inflicted any injuries on him. He also stated that he carries only fine jewelry in his store rather than costume jewelry and that none of his money or merchandise was taken during the incident.

Michael Thomas testified that on the date and time in question he was working in the popcorn shop next door to Gemstone when he heard yelling and noise coming from the jewelry store. When he investigated the disturbance, he saw defendant standing over Mandel, hitting him on the back of the head with a hammer. He then alerted the members of a construction crew who were working nearby and called the police. He and some other men went to the door of the store but could not enter because it was locked, and when Mandel buzzed defendant out, he saw defendant wrap the hammer inside of his jacket, then run up the stairs to Clark Street and west on Fullerton through an alley. Thomas and another man followed him through the alley and across several courtyards to a building located at 629 West Demming. At that point, two police officers arrived on the scene; Thomas advised them of the situation, then accompanied them in a search of the building. Thomas located defendant hiding behind some washing machines in the laundry room and notified the police. Defendant was then apprehended and Thomas identified him as he passed through the vestibule of the building. When he returned to the jewelry shop, Thomas observed that two of the cases had been knocked over and that there was blood on the wall and on the carpet.

Detective Gene Harris testified that he and his partner responded to the scene after receiving radio communications concerning a man with a hammer at 444 West Fullerton and a battery in progress. When they arrived, a man directed them to the alley where the offender had fled and as they proceeded in that direction, they received a third radio communication advising them that the offender was a white male in his twenties who had curly hair, was covered with blood, and was carrying a gray jacket. They were also advised that this person had been sighted at 629 West Demming. When they arrived at that location, they conversed with Thomas and the manager of the building, then searched the premises. Thomas spotted defendant in the laundry room, and the police officers found him there hiding behind the washing machines. They also recovered a gray jacket from the area which was covered with blood and placed defendant under arrest. As they passed through the vestibule, Thomas spontaneously identified him as the man whom he had been chasing.

Harris then proceeded to the hospital but was unable to speak with the victim, then returned to the jewelry store where he observed that the display cases had been knocked over, that jewelry was strewn about, and that the store was covered with broken glass and blood. He and his partner also combed the alley and areas leading to the premises where defendant was apprehended, but were unable to find a hammer. On the following day, Harris was present when Mandel identified defendant in a lineup, and at trial Harris identified pictures of defendant which were taken after his arrest showing that he had a cracked lip, bruises on his face, and a scratch on his left eye.

Defendant testified that he had been in Mandel's store on prior occasions and a week before had told him that he was looking for a gift for his girlfriend. He did not see anything he liked at that time and Mandel told him to come back in a week. When he returned on the afternoon of March 13, 1984, he asked about the earrings, and Mandel displayed several pairs from the jewelry case located near the front window. After Mandel informed defendant of the price of the earrings, defendant told him that it was too much for the merchandise and asked if he could lower it. Mandel declined, and defendant then told him that he could get a better deal with his sister who sells costume jewelry. At that, Mandel told defendant that he could look elsewhere, and defendant responded that he might go to another place which did not sell "junk like this." ...

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