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04/17/87 the People of the State of v. Michael Washington

April 17, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

MICHAEL WASHINGTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. -- THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

ROBERT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

HARRIS, Defendant-Appellant

506 N.E.2d 1387, 154 Ill. App. 3d 648, 107 Ill. Dec. 332 1987.IL.523

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. Joseph M. McCarthy, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE UNVERZAGT delivered the opinion of the court. HOPF and INGLIS, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE UNVERZAGT

Nick Garris, the owner and manager of Grove Liquors in Elgin, testified at the trial. Elgin police informed him on the morning of June 27, 1984, that they expected his store to be the target of an armed robbery later that day. Garris was alone when Washington entered the store several hours later. Washington asked the price of an item and then left. Moments later, Washington returned with Harris, who was carrying a gun. Harris threatened to blow Garris' head off and ordered him to the floor. Harris then pressed the gun to Garris' head and took his wallet from his pocket. A customer, Phillip Christiano, then entered the store.

Christiano testified that Harris pointed the gun at his head, ordered him to the floor, and took his wallet. Christiano did not see Washington during the robbery.

Roy Fiske, an investigator with the Cook County sheriff's police, testified that Jerry Cotton, an informant, contacted him in June 1984 and told him that Robert Harris had asked him (Cotton) to participate in an armed robbery of Grove Liquors. Cotton and Fiske spoke frequently about the planned robbery over the next two weeks and agreed that Cotton should drive Harris to the store, but was not to go inside. According to Fiske, the robbery had originally been planned for June 14, and a surveillance team was waiting outside the store on that day. Fiske saw Cotton and Harris drive past the store, but they did not stop. Cotton later told Fiske that Harris had decided that he needed a second man to enter the store with him. Cotton had refused to do so.

Shortly thereafter, Cotton informed Fiske that the robbery was again set --this time for June 27. Cotton drove Harris and Washington to the store in his own car, which Fiske recognized, on that day. About 10 police officers were posted at various locations outside the liquor store when Harris and Washington went inside. As the defendants left the store, one of the officers approached them. Washington was carrying a cash box, which Nick Garris later identified as the one he kept under his counter. It contained approximately $200 in cash and a wallet belonging to Christiano. Both defendants ran, but were apprehended by other officers within a few minutes. Fiske paid Cotton $200 for his assistance. Cotton did not testify at the trial.

Both defendants testified at the trial. Harris stated that Cotton was a friend of his and had been living with Harris' sister in June 1984. He stated that Cotton repeatedly solicited Harris' help in a robbery he (Cotton) was planning. Harris stated that he repeatedly refused. Cotton later approached Harris with a different scheme. Cotton said that he knew the owner of a liquor store who wanted someone to rob his store by taking a cash box so that he could file a claim with his insurance company, reporting more money taken than actually had been, and "everybody would come out a winner." Harris did not agree to participate at first, but after further urging by Cotton, he agreed. Cotton supplied Harris with a gun and told him that he (Cotton) could not go into the store because someone might recognize him as an acquaintance of the owner and realize that the robbery was not authentic.

Washington testified that he had been staying with Harris and his family during June 1984. He first met Cotton the day before the robbery. On that day and on the following morning, he repeatedly refused Cotton's requests that he participate in the robbery. He finally agreed to take part, however, after Cotton repeatedly insisted that it was "fixed" with the owner, who intended to file a false insurance claim. Washington stated that Cotton supplied Harris with the gun used in the robbery.

Harris' sister also testified. She stated that she had been living with Jerry Cotton and that Cotton had called Harris more frequently than usual in June 1984. She recognized the gun used in the robbery as Cotton's.

Harris denied threatening anyone or pointing the gun at either Garris or Christiano. He stated that he merely displayed the gun. Washington admitted having taken the cash box. Both defendants denied having taken Christiano's wallet. Both defendants stated that they would not have participated in ...


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