APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION
533 N.E.2d 932, 178 Ill. App. 3d 756, 127 Ill. Dec. 850 1989.IL.2
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Michael Toomin, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE BUCKLEY delivered the opinion of the court. MANNING, P.J., and CAMPBELL, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE BUCKLEY
Defendants Henry Reynolds (Henry), Arthur Reynolds (Arthur), Patrick Maxey (Maxey), and Richard Moton (Moton) were charged by indictment with armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 18-2), armed violence (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 33A-2) and attempted murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, pars. 8-4, 9-1). After a bench trial on these charges, defendants were convicted of armed robbery and attempted murder. Henry was sentenced to an extended term of 40 years for attempted murder and a concurrent 30-year term for armed robbery, Arthur and Moton were sentenced to concurrent terms of 20 years on those charges, and Maxey received a 10-year prison sentence.
On appeal, defendants seek reversal of their convictions on two common grounds: (1) that the State failed to prove them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because its only eyewitness' testimony was improbable and contrary to human experience; and (2) that the State failed to prove defendants' specific intent to commit murder or armed robbery. As to defendants' individual claims, Arthur contends that the State failed to prove that he aided and abetted the commission of the crimes; Moton asserts that any actions imputed to him were legally excusable based upon compulsion and also contends that his sentence is excessive and arbitrarily disparate to defendant Maxey's sentence; and Henry, in his pro se brief, argues that he was denied his right to a fair trial because the trial court preformed an opinion as to his guilt and considered matters outside of the evidence. We affirm.
The record at trial discloses that on October 20, 1984, at approximately 4 p.m., David Golden, responding to a telephone call from Henry, arrived at the Reynolds' garage adjacent to the Reynolds' home at 6211 South Damen Avenue in Chicago, where Henry, a social acquaintance of Golden's, worked on Golden's car for two hours. As to the events thereafter, the State and defense presented dramatically divergent evidence. Golden, the State's only eyewitness, testified that after he observed Maxey, Moton, and Arthur, also acquaintances of his, in the garage "flickering" the lights, Henry proceeded into the garage's office, returned with a shotgun, called out to Golden and shot him in the top of his arm.
Henry then stated that he had to kill Golden and also demanded that Golden "give it up" as he attempted to seize Golden's wallet. Defying Henry's order, Golden ran around the car, at which point Maxey grabbed him and removed approximately $40 from his front pocket. Golden thereupon fled into the yard, where Moton, Maxey, and Arthur grabbed him and dragged him back into the garage, with Maxey putting his hands around Golden's neck, Moton grabbing his left arm, and Arthur pulling him back. Henry at this point responded to Golden's pleas to be released by retorting, "No man, I'll get forty years."
Once inside the garage, Golden sought refuge under his car, but Henry, Arthur, and Maxey pulled him away from the car. Moton then "unjammed" the 12-gauge shotgun and returned it to Henry, who proceeded to shoot Golden a second time in the arm. Henry thereafter instructed Arthur, Maxey, and Moton to put Golden in the trunk of Golden's car. After the three complied with Henry's request, Golden heard three doors slam and the voices of Henry and Moton. The car drove for 30 to 60 minutes before it stopped, at which time Golden freed himself by breaking the trunk's lock with a jack handle. Golden then summoned the police from a nearby gas station.
The testimony from persons investigating the incident revealed the following. Officers Kathleen James and Richard King, responding to an emergency radio call, arrived at the gas station and observed Golden with his right arm almost totally severed. In response to their inquiries, Golden stated that he had been shot by Henry and Arthur. Before the ambulance arrived, Golden also named Maxey and Moton as his assailants.
The following day at the intensive care unit of the hospital, Officer James, accompanied by Detective Palmer and Assistant State's Attorney Kathy Quattrochi, questioned Golden concerning the events subsequent to the shooting. Golden recounted the incident, explaining how Henry, Arthur, and Maxey chased him around the garage, prevented him from leaving, and dragged him from underneath his car. He also stated that Maxey took money from his pockets, that Moton "unjammed" the gun, and that Arthur forced him to return to the garage after he ran out into the driveway.
Officer Jude Evans investigated the crime scene and found Golden's blood on the garage door, on a countertop, on the floor, and in the trunk of Golden's car. One expended 12-gauge shotgun casing was also recovered from Arthur, and the pants he wore at arrest tested positive for blood.
Defendants' version of the incident not only contradicted the State's version but also varied among each defendant. Although Henry admitted on cross-examination that he initially told police that he knew nothing about the shooting, at trial he testified in detail about the incident. He stated that after he completed the work on Golden's car, an argument ensued over payment, at which time Golden attempted to leave without paying and Henry responded ...