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01/19/88 the People of the State of v. Nathan Beals Et Al.

January 19, 1988





520 N.E.2d 872, 165 Ill. App. 3d 955, 117 Ill. Dec. 521 1988.IL.32

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. John W. Crilly, Judge, presiding.


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


Following a bench trial, defendants Nathan Beals and Kenneth Mitts were convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. On appeal, they raise the following issues: (1) whether the prosecution failed to prove defendant Mitts guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) whether the trial court erred in refusing to allow the defense to impeach the prosecution's chief witness with respect to omissions in his prior statements to police; and (3) whether the trial court erred in admitting evidence of a lineup identification of Nathan Beals. We affirm.

At trial, the following evidence was adduced: Troy Moore, the codefendant who testified for the People in exchange for receiving a sentence of two years' probation for robbery, testified that defendants Mitts and Beals and he were at Beals' home prior to committing the robbery. At approximately 2 a.m. on the robbery date, the defendants left Beals' home to go "joyriding," after taking the keys to Beals' mother's automobile, a white Chevrolet Nova. Beals announced his plans for a robbery during the joyride, and Moore and Mitts agreed to participate. Moore was to be the lookout man for the police, while Mitts was to be the driver of the vehicle. Beals revealed he had a gun, a small .22 caliber pistol, to be used in the robbery. Beals also had a mask "like a Halloween mask" to be used. After completing the robbery, the defendants planned to meet approximately three blocks from the robbery site on 63rd Street and Oakley Avenue.

Moore testified that Nathan Beals was the original driver and that defendant Mitts exchanged seats with Beals behind an Earl Scheib body shop to prepare for the robbery. Mitts then drove the vehicle to the corner of Western Avenue where the Shell gas station was located and let Moore and Beals out of the vehicle. Moore took up his position as lookout at a telephone booth to watch for the police. Mitts drove the vehicle into the gas station, and Beals proceeded through an alley to the side of the gas station attendant's booth.

After defendant Mitts had pulled into the gas station, he started to pump gas. He turned the gas pump on, then switched it off and on again. The attendant left his locked booth in order to reset the pump. Defendant Beals, wearing the mask, came from the side of the gas station and held the gun on the attendant. After Beals took the money from the attendant, he ran down the alley. Defendant Mitts waited for his change before driving away. Moore stated that after the robbery, he and Beals met again and Mitts picked them up at 63rd and Oakley. They then returned to Beals' house, where they divided the money.

Carlos Carlin, the gas station attendant, testified that at 3:10 a.m., he saw a white Nova pull up to a gas pump. Carlin was in the station booth with the doors locked when he saw defendant Mitts appear to have trouble with the gas pump. He left the booth to reset the pump and noticed Troy Moore at the telephone booth. After resetting the pump, he attempted to return to the station booth. He then noticed a man coming from the alley wearing a mask. The man told Carlin to "get his hands up." Carlin saw that he had a revolver and knew that it was loaded because he saw the bullets in the revolver. The man put the gun against Carlin's chest and went through Carlin's pockets, removing $20 bills, $5 bills and some $1 bills. After taking the money, he ran toward the alley.

Carlin stated that he recognized Nathan Beals as the robber despite the fact that he was wearing a mask. He recognized his voice because, earlier in the day, Beals had come into the station to buy a package of cigarettes. When the defendant had approached the counter, he was told the price and said that he thought they were cheaper. He did not buy any cigarettes but remained in the store looking around before he left.

After defendant Beals took the money, Carlin saw him run into the alley. While Carlin was trying to call the police, defendant Mitts, who was still at the station, told Carlin to hurry up and give him his change. Although Mitts had been standing next to Carlin during the robbery, he had said nothing and had not been robbed. Carlin gave Mitts his change and noted the license number of the Nova as Mitts drove off.

While defendant Beals was searching the gas station attendant for money, Luis Masson drove by the station and saw the robbery in progress. Masson testified that he saw a man wearing a mask and a gray jogging suit pointing a gun at the attendant. Masson later identified Beals based upon the jacket and shoes he had worn during the robbery and from the facial features of the defendant. After the robbery, Masson had followed the defendant and saw him remove his mask while running.

Masson also observed and identified the lookout man as Troy Moore and Kenneth Mitts as the driver of the white Nova. While following Beals after the robbery, Masson saw ...

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