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12/21/87 the People of the State of v. Bryan Halstead

December 21, 1987





517 N.E.2d 667, 164 Ill. App. 3d 1, 115 Ill. Dec. 256 1987.IL.1899

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


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


Defendant, Bryan Halstead, was convicted after a bench trial of two counts of home invasion, eight counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, two counts of aggravated battery, five counts of unlawful restraint, and one count of armed violence. Defendant was sentenced to concurrent terms of 30 years' imprisonment for one count of home invasion, 30 years' imprisonment for one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault, and three years' imprisonment for each count of unlawful restraint. He was also sentenced to a 15-year term of imprisonment on the armed violence count, to be served consecutively to the 30-year sentences. Defendant appeals challenging the severity of the sentences and the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to reopen the case for introduction of evidence regarding defendant's mental condition at the time of the offenses. We affirm.

Although defendant does not argue that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, we must still examine the facts of the offenses to determine if the sentences imposed are proper. All of the offenses here arose from defendant's day-long terrorization of the Balchs, an Aurora family, on August 26, 1985. Defendant at that time had been married to one of the Balch daughters, Pamela, for approximately one month, but defendant had filed for divorce, and Pamela was living with her family. Peggy Balch, Pamela's 13-year-old sister, testified that she was at home alone at approximately 11 a.m. that day when the doorbell rang. She could not see anyone from inside, so she opened the door and saw defendant holding a bag. Defendant pulled a pistol from the bag and forced his way inside. Peggy ran through the house to a sliding glass door, when she heard a shot. She ran outside, but defendant caught her and forced her back inside. Peggy later found a bullet hole in the wall next to the glass door.

Defendant took Peggy through the house, making sure all the doors and windows were locked. During this time, defendant obtained a second pistol belonging to Peggy's father. A short time later, he took her to her bedroom where he sexually assaulted her, both orally and vaginally. Peggy testified that defendant had his pistol with him and that he had threatened to kill her. Defendant then took Peggy to the basement of the house, where he tied her up with rope he had brought with him in the bag.

Soon thereafter, Peggy's sister Wendy came home. She, too, was led to the basement at gunpoint and was likewise tied up. The girls' mother, Patricia Balch, was the next to return home. Like her daughters, she was taken to the basement and tied by defendant.

Pamela and her father, James Balch, arrived home at approximately 5:30 p.m. When they came inside, they were confronted by defendant, who pointed both pistols at Mr. Balch. Mr. Balch ordered defendant to leave, but instead, defendant shot Mr. Balch in the upper left arm. Pamela used her father's belt as a tourniquet for his arm, and defendant took them to the basement. Defendant allowed Mrs. Balch to be untied so she could help her husband, but defendant would not allow them to call an ambulance.

Defendant then took Pamela upstairs where they talked for several hours. During that time, defendant periodically checked on the family members in the basement. At approximately 9 p.m., defendant and Pamela returned to the basement. Defendant announced that he had decided to kill Pamela's family and pointed his gun at Mr. Balch. Mr. Balch asked that the family be allowed to pray together first. This led to defendant's eventually being convinced to let them call an ambulance. The Balchs agreed to tell the police the shooting was an accident in order to convince defendant to free them.

An ambulance finally arrived at the Balch residence at 10:30 p.m. When Mr. Balch was in the ambulance, he told a police officer that defendant had tried to kill him. Defendant was then arrested.

Defendant also testified to his version of the events of August 26, 1985. He testified that the sex acts committed with Peggy Balch were consensual and that he had shot Mr. Balch in self-defense. He testified that all he really wanted to do was to try to work out his marital problems with Pamela. Defendant was, nevertheless, convicted of the charges as set forth above, although he was acquitted of two counts of attempted murder.

At defendant's sentencing hearing, the State presented victim impact statements of James, Patricia, Peggy and Pamela Balch. The statements set forth the psychological anguish the family members continued to suffer, as well as the effects of considerable permanent physical damage to James Balch's arm. Defendant offered in mitigation testimony of a psychiatrist, Dr. Lyle Rossiter, testimony from defendant's father, and a statement by defendant himself.

Defendant first contends that the 30-year sentences for home invasion and aggravated criminal sexual assault are excessive. It is true that all penalties must be determined both according to the seriousness of the offense and with the objective of restoring the offender to useful citizenship. (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, ยง 11; People v. Crosser (1983), 117 Ill. App. 3d 24, 31.) It is equally true, though, that the prime responsibility for ...

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