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05/12/87 the People of the State of v. Craig Neal

May 12, 1987





508 N.E.2d 452, 155 Ill. App. 3d 340, 108 Ill. Dec. 291 1987.IL.613

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County; the Hon. John C. Layng, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE DUNN delivered the opinion of the court. INGLIS and WOODWARD, JJ., concur.


Defendant, Craig Neal, was convicted of robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 18-1) following a jury trial in Winnebago County. On appeal, defendant argues that the in-court and out-of-court identifications by complainant should not have been admitted into evidence and he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We affirm.

On October 8, 1985, at approximately 7:50 p.m., the complainant, Marjorie Henderson, was walking home along Kishwaukee Avenue in Rockford when she was knocked down from behind and her purse was forcibly taken from her. Henderson immediately went across the street to a tavern and telephoned police. A tape recording of complainant's conversation with police officer Owens revealed that complainant told Owens she had been knocked down by two black teenagers, one of whom she had earlier observed, clad in a red sweatshirt, exiting a housing project. Henderson could not provide a description of the other perpetrator, although she did state that he might have been an individual she had previously observed walking alone down the other side of the street. Henderson then told Owens the direction in which the two men fled. Based on this information, Owens informed the patrol cars in the area that a robbery had occurred involving two black male teens, one wearing a red sweatshirt and the other description unknown.

Within five minutes of the telephone call, Officer Grennan arrived at the tavern and assisted the complainant. Meanwhile, other police officers proceeded to the area and shortly thereafter apprehended defendant. Grennan transported Henderson to the defendant's location, where she observed defendant in the backseat of a squad car and identified defendant as one of the perpetrators. The identification occurred within 15 minutes of the attack.

At the preliminary hearing, complainant testified that she did not see who knocked her down and was only able to observe her assailants from the rear as they ran away into a nearby alley. Complainant stated that the men were a few yards away when she first observed them, and she had them in sight for approximately three minutes before they disappeared into an alleyway. Complainant stated that the two people she had passed on the street prior to the attack were the culprits. Defendant was the person she had observed walking down the other side of the street approximately five minutes before the attack. Complainant stated that this individual was no taller than 5 feet 7 inches, dark-complexioned and wearing a black nylon jacket, reddish sweat pants and carrying a white bag across his shoulder. Complainant stated that when she identified defendant as one of her attackers she told the police officers that her identification was based on the similarity in the clothing worn by the suspect. At the hearing, complainant added that her identification was also based on the physiology of his face. Complainant stated on cross-examination that she was reasonably sure that the face she saw in the squad car was the same as the face she saw walking along the other side of the street prior to the incident.

Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion to suppress the showup identification alleging that the showup violated his due process rights because it was unnecessarily suggestive and resulted in an irreparable misidentification. At the hearing on the motion to suppress, complainant did not recall being unable to give a description of the second individual's clothing to the police during the telephone conversation immediately after the attack. Complainant added that she was not sure whether she provided police with a description of the clothing worn by defendant prior to identifying him, although she thought she did because she had a very good look at defendant when she passed him on the street prior to the attack. Complainant indicated that her memory lapses were attributable to the fact that the incident had occurred three months earlier and she was shocked and hurt at the time of the incident. Officer Grennan testified that when he first met complainant at the tavern, she told him one subject was wearing a black leather jacket, red sweatpants and was carrying a white gym bag. On cross-examination, Grennan stated that he did not relay this description to his fellow police officers prior to the defendant's being taken into custody because he did not have time to do so. The trial court denied the suppression motion on the basis that, when viewed in the totality of the circumstances, the identification procedure was proper.

At trial, complainant's testimony regarding the out-of-court identification was substantially similar to the testimony she provided at the preliminary hearing and the motion to suppress. Complainant added that she looked carefully at defendant a couple of times when she passed him on the street and was able to get a good look at his facial features. Complainant also stated at trial that when she observed her assailants running away she recognized that their clothing was the same as that worn by the two individuals she had observed a few blocks prior to the incident. Complainant further stated that she observed the white bag and her purse in the assailants' possession as they fled. Complainant identified defendant in-court as one of the robbers.

Officer Cloyd testified that in response to police communications concerning a robbery, he proceeded to the area to assist in searching for the suspects. As he drove down Christina Street, Cloyd observed a black male walking towards him carrying a white bag and wearing a black coat and red pants. As Cloyd stopped his car, he observed a purse in the street approximately 35 feet from the suspect. When Cloyd called out to the man, the subject immediately ran into a nearby park. After pursuing the suspect for a short distance, Cloyd lost sight of him and communicated via police radio the subject's disappearance into the park to other officers in the area.

Officer Yastrab testified that he and his partner, Officer Woody, received a description of a subject running into Blackhawk Park and proceeded to search for the suspect in the park area. Yastrab stated that he observed a young black male wearing a dark jacket, maroon jogging pants and carrying a white bag over his shoulder. Upon noticing the suspect, Yastrab and Woody confirmed over the radio that the suspect was carrying a white bag. Yastrab then called to the subject, identifying himself as a police officer. The subject ran away, and Yastrab chased after him on foot before losing sight of the subject in a tree area in the park. Yastrab continued to search for the suspect until he heard Woody radio that the subject was in his custody. Yastrab added that he later recovered the white bag carried by defendant. The bag was found within a block of Cloyd's patrol car.

Officer Woody testified that when Yastrab took off on foot after the suspect, he proceeded to the end of the street in the squad car. Within a few minutes, Woody observed the suspect walking towards him. Woody told the suspect to put his hands on the car, frisked him and placed him in the squad car. Woody identified the suspect as defendant. Defendant initially denied carrying a white bag, but later admitted to having the bag when it became apparent that Yastrab had found the bag. Defendant admitted that the bag ...

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