APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT
516 N.E.2d 1364, 163 Ill. App. 3d 1023, 115 Ill. Dec. 8 1987.IL.1827
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Champaign County; the Hon. Robert J. Steigmann, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court. McCULLOUGH and KNECHT, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LUND
On appeal, defendant raises four arguments: (1) the State failed to sustain its burden of proving him guilty of armed robbery; (2) the court erred in allowing an expert witness to give statistical testimony regarding a specimen of hair found in a piece of clothing linked to the robbery; (3) defense counsel was incompetent for not realizing the nature of the statistical evidence and seeking to strike the testimony; and (4) the court erred in failing to give the proper jury instruction after the jury had indicated it was deadlocked. Because of the first argument raised by defendant, we must recite in detail the evidence as shown by the record.
On September 11, 1986, a robbery took place at Willie's Pizza in Champaign, Illinois. At approximately 2 a.m., Wesley Morrison, the night manager, was working alone when he noticed someone standing behind him. At trial, Morrison described the man as a black man about 6 feet 2 inches tall, 170 to 180 pounds, thin, wearing a hood or mask, and holding a gun. The gunman asked him if anyone else was in the building. Morrison said no. The gunman then stated he wanted the money out of the cash drawers. The gunman also asked Morrison where in the building the safe was located and told Morrison not to lie to him. The gunman then told Morrison to take all of the money and put it in a bag. Morrison placed the money, consisting of checks, currency, and coin rolls, into two bank bags used by Willie's Pizza. The gunman then asked Morrison to show him a place where he could lock Morrison up. The gunman took a carton of Kool cigarettes and a jacket before locking Morrison in the safe. Morrison stated the man spoke slowly and deliberately when talking to him. Morrison noticed nothing unusual about the gunman's speech.
Robbie Williams, defendant's ex-girlfriend, testified about a domestic dispute between defendant and herself. On December 2, 1986, she and defendant had a fight, and she wanted him arrested. She stated at trial that defendant was charged with hitting her, but she thought that the charges had been dropped.
Detective Michael Smith of the Champaign police responded to Williams' call. Williams testified that she gave Smith a brown paper bag which she had gotten from her bedroom closet. At the time, she shared that room with her daughter and defendant. She stated she did not know what was in the paper bag. All she had seen was clothing, but she thought the bag would contain evidence of a robbery. Smith opened the bag in her presence and showed her a mask or hood and some bank bags. She testified that she had not put those items in her closet, and she had never seen the mask before. She stated that while defendant lived with her he had a gun. She also testified that Detective Smith took a small plastic bag containing several bullets from the top of a dresser.
Williams admitted to prior convictions of burglary and theft. She also stated that the Champaign police were investigating a check forgery matter in which she was involved. In elaborating on this, she stated that two or three men had used defendant's driver's license to cash forged checks. Defendant's name had been put on the checks once or twice after he had been arrested for the armed robbery.
Detective Smith testified that he went to Robbie Williams' home on December 2. According to Smith, Williams gave him three bags, not just one. She handed him two bank bags -- one marked "Willie's" and the other marked "Willie's Pizza." One bag contained a mask or hood and some checks. The other contained some coin wrappers that had been torn open. The third bag was a paper sack containing some men's clothing and shoes. Detective Smith testified the bullets in the plastic bag were found inside the bank bag containing the checks and masks.
A gun was recovered that belonged to defendant.
Morrison identified several of the items recovered by Detective Smith. He identified the bank bags as those belonging to Willie's Pizza. He recognized some of the recovered checks as ones received by the pizza store the night of the robbery. He stated the coin wrappers were for the same denomination of coins as were taken by the gunman. The mask looked like the mask the gunman was wearing except that Morrison thought that certain marks on the mask were more reddish and the area around the eyes seemed different. He also thought the mask used in the robbery was made of a heavier material, like that used in making backpacks. He stated the gun looked like the weapon used in the robbery except that he thought the gun had been a lighter shade of gray.
Andrew Pedolak, a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, testified for the State concerning his scientific analysis of a hair sample obtained from defendant and a hair found in the hood recovered from the bank bag at the Williams' home. Pedolak was certified as an expert in the examination, identification, and comparison of hair and textile fibers. He testified that hair has many characteristics which can be examined through microscopes. Most important to hair examination is the arrangement of all the characteristics to each other. Pedolak testified that this association gives uniqueness to the hair and allows him to make an association to a particular individual. He stated that the dark brown head hair of Negroid origin, which he removed from the hood, exhibited the exact same microscopic characteristics as the known head hair sample of defendant.
Larry Harper testified he was a fingerprint examiner for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He recovered a latent palm print from a coin wrapper found in one of the bank bags. He compared it to defendant's palm print and determined that the palm prints were made by the same palm. The latent palm print could not have been made by any other palm.
Defendant testified in his own behalf. He stated that he had lived with Robbie Williams off and on for 10 months. He left her home the first part of December 1986. He stated that he was between 6 feet 5 inches and 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighed between 215 and 217 pounds. He claimed that in September 1986 he ...