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07/06/87 the People of the State of v. Dennabi Et Al.

July 6, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

ISMAR ABDENNABI ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION

511 N.E.2d 719, 157 Ill. App. 3d 979, 110 Ill. Dec. 542 1987.IL.959

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. James J. Heyda, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE BUCKLEY delivered the opinion of the court. CAMPBELL and O'CONNOR, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE BUCKLEY

Following a jury trial, defendant Ismar Abdennabi (Ismar) was found guilty of solicitation to commit aggravated arson (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 8-1(a)), conspiracy to commit aggravated arson (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 8-2(a)), conspiracy to commit arson (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 8-2(a)), attempted aggravated arson (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 8-4(a)), and attempted arson (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 8-4(a)). The jury also found Jose Abdennabi (Jose) guilty of conspiracy to commit aggravated arson (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 8-2(a)), conspiracy to commit arson (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 8-2(a)), attempted aggravated arson (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 8-4(a)), and attempted arson (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 8-4(a)). After a hearing in aggravation and mitigation, Ismar was sentenced to four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the offenses of solicitation to commit aggravated arson and attempted aggravated arson, and one year in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the offense of conspiracy to commit aggravated arson, all sentences to run concurrently. Jose was sentenced to four years' probation and six months in the Cook County House of Corrections for the offense of attempted aggravated arson, and 30 months' probation and six months in the Cook County Department of Corrections for conspiracy to commit aggravated arson, both sentences to run concurrently. Ismar and Jose now appeal their convictions. Jose also appeals his sentence.

The testimony at trial established that Ismar leased the bottom floor of a building located at 1158 West Marquette in Chicago. In this space Ismar ran S & Z Food Markets, a grocery store. During the time the grocery store was in business, the apartments above it were rented to other tenants. These apartments were occupied by at least eight people.

George Chandiles testified that he is the president of the Future Insurance Agency in Chicago. Ismar and S & Z Food Markets took out a fire insurance policy on the store in May 1983 that could pay a total of $75,300 for a loss by fire.

Sanford White testified that he lived at 1140 West Marquette, which was approximately one-half block from the grocery store. In May or June 1983, White went to work at the grocery store as a security guard. White worked at the store until October 1983.

In July or August 1983, Ismar told White that "business was bad, and he wanted to get rid of the store." Ismar asked White if he knew anyone that could burn the store down for him. White replied that he did not know of anyone who would burn the store down. Defendant asked White if he would burn the store down, but White refused. Defendant told White that he wanted to collect the fire insurance proceeds and buy a bigger store.

On September 18, 1983, Ismar again told White that he wanted to burn the store down to collect the fire insurance proceeds. Ismar again asked White if he or someone he knew would burn the store down. White again refused. Defendant offered him $500 to act as a "lookout." White told defendant he did not want to become involved.

On October 3, 1983, Ismar, with Jose present, told White "the time is right, my man . . . we are going to burn this shit." He further stated he and Jose were going to the suburbs to buy gasoline so no one would become suspicious.

The following morning, White noticed a heavy smell of gasoline in the store. Ismar told White the gasoline was in the back of the store. White observed two shopping bags with gasoline cans behind a produce counter.

At this time, White asked Ismar what about the people living above the grocery store. Ismar responded, "[Fuck] them people. [They] don't care ...


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