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08/02/88 the People of the State of v. Lacey Clanton Et Al.

August 2, 1988





527 N.E.2d 936, 173 Ill. App. 3d 627, 123 Ill. Dec. 298 1988.IL.1188

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


JUSTICE EGAN delivered the opinion of the court. HARTMAN, P.J., and BILANDIC, J., concur.


Only the defendant Clanton contends that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Floyd Richardson owned a building at 4109 West 5th Avenue in Chicago. He had made the basement into a neighborhood "recreation center" which was furnished with a bar, card table, pool table, stereo and a few chairs. Iron bars were located just outside the basement door. At approximately 11:50 p.m. on September 26, 1985, Yvette Davis went to the recreation center. Floyd Richardson and Dexter Woodard were already in the basement when she arrived. A few minutes later Claudette Banks and James Thomas came in. After midnight Betty Sloan and Penny McCline entered. Banks asked Sloan and McCline to wait a few more minutes while she went home to check her children. Thomas agreed to drive Banks home, and Davis left to go to her home as well. Davis returned about 10 minutes later. She knocked on the front door and Richardson went to admit her. In order to do so, he had to unlock the front door and pull it toward himself. He then had to open the burglar bars located beyond the door by sliding them sideways. After allowing Davis in, he was in the process of sliding the burglar bars shut when two masked men rushed in.

Richardson tried to prevent the two men from entering and warned the others in the room to get down and protect themselves. Two or three shots were fired, one of which hit Penny McCline in the right ankle. The men yelled, "This is a stick-up" and ordered everyone to lie on the floor. Dexter Woodard lay face down on the floor and heard two male voices throughout the occurrence. After being shot, Penny McCline ran to the bathroom and lay down on the floor with Betty Sloan. McCline could hear two male voices saying, "Give me your jewelry, where's the drugs?" One of the men, later identified as the defendant Monroe, entered the bathroom. He was wearing a stocking mask and carried a shotgun. He then ordered the two women out of the bathroom. Sloan lay down outside the bathroom doorway. McCline was pulled out by Monroe, and she lay down next to Sloan. He then searched both women and took Sloan's necklace, watch and purse. He was wearing plastic gloves. McCline told the man that she was in pain, but he told her to shut up. He pulled up her dress to search her and noticed that she had money in her stocking. He ripped the stocking to remove the money.

Davis lay face down near the pool table. One of the men put a small silver-colored handgun against her head and told her he would blow her brains out if she did not give him all her money. She gave him all that she had, and the man placed the money in a white bag. She testified that she recognized his face because she had seen him "a couple of times" in the neighborhood. Although she did not know him personally, she knew his brother. She identified Monroe as that man. The other man yelled to Monroe that someone was coming and both men went to the door.

At that time, while James Thomas was locking his car, Claudette Banks went ahead of him to the recreation center. Thomas followed, and as he turned the corner to reach the doorway, he was met by a man with a shotgun. The man wore a stocking mask, grey pants, boots and a white hat. Thomas later identified that man as Monroe.

Monroe pushed Thomas down into the recreation center. Thomas saw that everyone, including Claudette Banks, was lying on the floor. Another man with a pistol was searching Claudette Banks. That man took Banks' jewelry and purse. Thomas described the second man as wearing tan clothes and construction boots, although he admitted that he had told the police that the man wore white shoes. Thomas identified the second man as the defendant Clanton. While Thomas lay on the floor, Monroe searched him and took his watch, rings and $191. He heard Clanton walk toward the bathroom. He also heard Monroe ask Claudette Banks about "happy stick water," apparently drugs, and her answer that she had none.

After Monroe took Thomas' property, Thomas heard a voice say, "Everybody freeze." He saw Monroe peek out the door and then put what Thomas thought was a gun down by the door. Monroe pulled off his mask and lay down between Thomas and Richardson. At that point the police entered.

Officers Patton, Nowlin, Kirchner and Finucane responded at 12:34 a.m. to a call that shots had been fired at 4109 West 5th Avenue. Patton walked down the building gangway toward the basement recreation center followed by the other officers. He observed a closed door with open burglar bars around it. As he approached, he heard a clicking sound that he recognized as the act of loading a round of ammunition into a shotgun. He called out to the other officers, "They've got a shotgun." He found cover south of the door, and Nowlin found cover north of the door. Kirchner and Finucane ran around to the rear of the building. While at the rear, neither saw anyone leave.

Patton hid behind the stairwell and called, "Police, come out with your hands up so I can see them." He could see the feet of two men in the doorway. One man went back inside while the other tried to hide under the stairs. Nowlin saw a shotgun fly out the door at that time. Patton told the man under the stairs to step out. The man stepped out with his hands raised. That man was the defendant Clanton. Nowlin picked up the shotgun outside the door. Kirchner and Finucane joined the other officers and they all entered the basement with guns drawn. Everyone in the basement was lying on the floor. The officers searched the recreation center to be certain that no one was hiding and placed handcuffs on everyone present. While he was being handcuffed, Thomas told Nowlin that the man lying next ...

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