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12/30/88 the People of the State of v. Charles King

December 30, 1988





533 N.E.2d 520, 178 Ill. App. 3d 340, 127 Ill. Dec. 648 1988.IL.1926

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. William Cousins, Jr., Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE BILANDIC delivered the opinion of the court. SCARIANO and EGAN, JJ., concur.


Charles King and his co-defendant were charged by indictment with armed robbery and theft. After a joint bench trial, both were found guilty of armed robbery. King was found to be a habitual criminal and sentenced to natural life in prison. He appeals his conviction and sentence. Codefendant, Timothy Barfield, is not involved in this appeal.

Defendant seeks a reversal of his conviction because he was denied effective assistance of counsel. He also contends that the trial court erroneously applied the Habitual Criminal Act and that the Act is unconstitutional. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 33B-1.

The victim, Lawrence Kale, testified that on September 3, 1985, he was working at Stan's Amoco Station at 55th Street and Pulaski Road. At 12:40 a.m., he was sitting behind the counter when a black male, about 200-plus pounds, approximately 5 feet, 10 inches tall, entered and asked if he had change for a dollar. Kale identified this man to be the defendant. Kale turned to get the change but when he looked up again, the defendant was pointing a gun at him and said: "Give me all the money or I will kill you. I will shoot you." Kale began putting the change on the counter. Defendant then told Kale to stand back or he would shoot. When Kale took a few steps backward, defendant leaned over the counter and reached in and grabbed the money. Defendant then emptied a cigar box and put the money inside. After taking all the money, defendant again pointed the gun at Kale and told him to lie on the floor and not move.

Officers Robert Aye and Robert Gunnell testified that they were stopped at the light at 55th Street and Pulaski Road when the robbery occurred. They saw a black man exiting the gas station while carrying something. Both identified this man as the defendant. Defendant walked hurriedly to a brown Chevy in the alley. The hood to the Chevy was open and another man, identified as co-defendant Barfield, was looking under the hood of the car. As the defendant approached the car, Barfield slammed the hood shut and entered the driver's side of the car. Defendant entered the passenger's side and they drove off.

The officers went into the gas station to confirm that a robbery had taken place and then immediately left to pursue the suspects. At 54th Street and Pulaski Road, they saw the brown Chevy heading toward them. They stopped the Chevy by pulling in front of it. The officers found co-defendant Barfield seated at the driver's side and defendant crouched below the dashboard. Upon searching the car, the officer found the money and the cigar box. Defendant told the officers that the gun was thrown out of the car along the 5400 block of Komensky. The gun was recovered and the defendants were taken to the station.

At the station, Kale identified defendant in a lineup. He also identified the gun as well as the cigar box. At trial, it was stipulated that Barfield told authorities that he was forced at gunpoint to drive the defendant away. Defendant also told authorities that he forced Barfield to drive him away.

Rufus Fondren, defendant's stepfather, also testified for the State. He stated that he had seen defendant with co-defendant Barfield on many previous occasions.

Dorothy Hawkins, a barmaid at Stone's Lounge, testified that Barfield had lived in the apartment above the bar. Although she could not state that she ever saw defendant and Barfield together, she said she saw defendant in the lounge during the period of time that Barfield lived upstairs.

At the close of the State's evidence, defendant declined to testify and rested his case. Defendant was found guilty of armed robbery. Barfield was also found guilty. After a hearing, defendant was found to be a habitual criminal and was sentenced to natural life ...

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