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05/12/87 the People of the State of v. Brian K. Williams

May 12, 1987





508 N.E.2d 444, 155 Ill. App. 3d 332, 108 Ill. Dec. 283 1987.IL.615

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. John J. Bowman, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE NASH delivered the opinion of the court. REINHARD and UNVERZAGT, JJ., concur.


Defendant, Brian K. Williams, was charged by information with the offenses of attempted murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 8-4(a)), armed violence (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 33A-2), and two counts of aggravated battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, pars. 12-4(a), 12-4(b)(1)). Following a bench trial, he was found guilty of armed violence and two counts of aggravated battery, but not guilty of attempted murder, and was sentenced, on the armed violence conviction only, to 12 years' imprisonment. On appeal, the defendant contends, first, that the trial court erred when it convicted him of armed violence and the predicate offense of aggravated battery, and, also, that the court abused its discretion when it sentenced him to a 12-year term of imprisonment.

The following evidence was adduced at trial. Officer Senneke of the Naperville police department testified that on May 16, 1985, while on patrol and responding to a call, he and his partner saw and followed the subject vehicle, a Spring Green lawn maintenance truck. The truck stopped, and a man identified as the defendant alighted and asked the plainclothes officers for directions to the police station because "he just committed a crime . . . that . . . he just hurt some lady." At that time the police officers handcuffed the defendant, read him his Miranda rights, and transported him to the station house.

At the police station, the officers removed the handcuffs and again admonished the defendant of his Miranda rights. Officer Senneke testified that the defendant related the following account: The defendant had reported to work and then drove to a jobsite, where he discovered that one of the lawnkeeping machines did not work properly. When defendant returned the machine to the repair shop and called his office, he was told to continue working despite the rain and then drove to 604 Ticonderoga in Naperville, intending to work on the Reynolds' lawn. When he found no one at home, he walked to the home of a neighbor, Mrs. Mary Glover, the complainant, in order to call Mrs. Reynolds.

Mrs. Glover accompanied the defendant across the street to the Reynolds' residence, where she indicated areas on the lawn that needed to be serviced. When she had bent over to show him these areas, their shoulders apparently bumped. At this time Mrs. Glover "got very angry with him and started yelling . . . and cussing him . . . and begin to flail . . . her arms [at him] for what he thought was no reason." The defendant told Officer Senneke that he remembered striking Mrs. Glover; he also realized that he had a screwdriver in his hand and that his hands were suddenly sore. The defendant stated that he became very scared, ran to his truck, returned the aerating machine to the flatbed trailer, and drove away. Two blocks from the Reynolds' home the defendant threw the screwdriver away, and it was later recovered.

Officer Senneke testified further concerning additional interviews with the defendant at the station house, in one of which defendant remembered that he had poked Mrs. Glover in the back with the screwdriver. Senneke related that at a third interview the defendant stated that he had not been provoked and could not explain why he struck Mrs. Glover.

On cross-examination Officer Senneke testified that the defendant had stopped his own vehicle, without police intervention, at approximately 11:45 a.m. Senneke also identified defendant's exhibit No. 1 as the defendant's first statement wherein he described that he wanted to help the victim, but that she ran away. Senneke also related that the defendant had informed him that he had been very tense and under pressure and that defendant had stated that he thought that Glover had hit him and that he had hit her back, realizing that the screwdriver was in his hand, and that he ran to the truck to get help.

Mary Glover, the complainant, substantially corroborated Officer Senneke's account. On the day in question, at approximately 11 a.m., the defendant, dressed in a Spring Green uniform, had rung her bell and related his problem. Glover testified that when she bent down to look at the flower beds, she first felt the defendant grab her shoulder and then the blow in the middle of her back. She also described the blows to her face and that the defendant grabbed her throat. She fell to the ground, screamed, and called him an obscene name. While on the ground she also felt blows to her legs. Glover called for assistance, and the police arrived a few minutes later. She was hospitalized for approximately five days.

Dr. Terrence Lemberger, an emergency medical doctor, testified that he observed Mrs. Glover on the day in question and described her injuries -- cuts on her face, a bruise to her eye, and a puncture wound to the chest as well as to the back. X rays revealed that Glover sustained a 20% collapsed left lung. Dr. Lemberger opined that the wound to Glover's chest had been potentially fatal. Dr. William Thatcher, a specialist in cardiovascular surgery, substantially corroborated Dr. Lemberger's observations with regard to Glover's injuries. Thatcher could not offer an opinion on the depth of the chest wound, although he testified that the wound was three or four millimeters in length.

On cross-examination, Dr. Thatcher testified that plastic surgery had been carried out and, furthermore, that Mrs. Glover had been kept in intensive care because she had vomited blood. Dr. Thatcher stated that no facial bones had ...

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