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05/14/87 the People of the State of v. A. R. Rooseveltause

May 14, 1987





509 N.E.2d 521, 156 Ill. App. 3d 288, 108 Ill. Dec. 825 1987.IL.624

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Frank W. Meekins, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE JOHNSON delivered the opinion of the court. McMORROW, P.J., and JIGANTI, J., concur.


Defendant, A. R. Rooseveltause, was convicted of rape (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 11-1) following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County. The trial Judge sentenced defendant to the penitentiary for a term of 30 years. On appeal, defendant contends that (1) the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crime of rape, (2) his prison sentence of 30 years was excessive, and (3) the State used its peremptory challenges during voir dire to exclude black venirepersons from the jury.

We affirm in part and remand with directions.

Since defendant contends that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, we must recite the testimony at trial in detail. The testimony adduced the following facts. On the night of March 5, 1984, the victim was a patient at Oak Forest Hospital, located at 15900 South Cicero Avenue, in Oak Forest, Illinois. She had been a patient at the hospital for five years. She suffered from an aneurysm in her brain, which was a weakening in one of the blood vessels in her brain; the vessel bled into her brain and became infected. As a result, she was, and still is, semi-comatose and, at times, completely comatose. On that night, she was unresponsive and unable to communicate. She was paralyzed and unable to make any voluntary movements or responses.

On the night of March 5, 1984, defendant was also a patient at Oak Forest Hospital. He had been a patient there for approximately four to five months as a result of a stroke. Ruthie Merrill, a nursing attendant at the hospital, was working the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift at the hospital that night. At approximately 10:50 p.m., on her way to the staff meeting for the shift, she saw defendant sitting in a wheelchair in front of the door to the victim's room.

The staff meeting lasted approximately five minutes. Merrill and Kathleen McFadden, another nursing attendant, proceeded to their work area. Merrill noticed an empty bed as they passed the victim's room. Because no one notified them of any reason why the bed would be vacant, they entered the victim's room to investigate. Defendant was no longer sitting in front of the door.

Merrill and McFadden testified that upon entering the victim's room, they noticed that the curtain around the victim's bed was closed, although normally it was not. They further testified that while Merrill investigated the empty bed, McFadden pulled back the curtain. Merrill and McFadden did not then see the victim, but rather another head. McFadden then pulled back the sheet covering the person. The attendants then recognized defendant, lying on the victim, with his pants down and moving his buttocks in an "up and down" manner. The victim's gown was pulled up around her neck and part of the gown was in her mouth. The plastic diaper that the victim wore, due to her incontinence, was torn on each side, exposing her.

McFadden left the room to seek help. Merrill then asked defendant what he was doing, reached through the bed rails, and pushed defendant up 7 or 8 inches. Merrill testified that she saw 1 1/2 to 2 inches of defendant's sex organ and that it was erect and in the sex organ of the victim. Defendant then rolled back on the victim and continued the attack. Merrill testified that she did not wrestle with defendant for fear of further harming the victim.

Less than a minute later, nursing attendants Parker and Brooks entered the room. Parker ordered defendant to get off of the victim and tried unsuccessfully to push defendant away. Parker testified that she saw defendant's sex organ and that it was flaccid and touching the outside of the victim. Defendant ignored Parker's command and continued the attack.

Juanita Love, L.P.N., and Lorena Anastacio, R.N., next entered the room. Anastacio ordered defendant three times to get out of the bed. Anastacio testified that after her third order, defendant stared at her and then continued the attack. Anastacio then told defendant that she was going to call security, referring to the hospital's public safety staff. Anastacio then left the room to make the call. The other medical staff members left the room with her, but Merrill and Love stood by the door and watched defendant.

Merrill then testified that after the nurses left the room, she saw defendant sit on his knees, pull up his pants, raise one leg over the bed rail and then the other. Standing, he buttoned and zipped his pants, buttoned his shirt, sat in his wheelchair, and rolled to the door. Security personnel arrived approximately 30 ...

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