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03/20/89 the People of the State of v. Lee Miller

March 20, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

LEE MILLER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION

548 N.E.2d 1, 190 Ill. App. 3d 981, 138 Ill. Dec. 771 1989.IL.354

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas R. Fitzgerald, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

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

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MANNING

Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, Lee Miller was convicted of murder, robbery and burglary and sentenced to a term of natural life imprisonment. On appeal, he raises the following issues for review: (1) he was not proven guilty of robbery beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) the trial Judge erred by denying his motion for a continuance; and (3) the State's failure to disclose incriminating statements allegedly made by the defendant violated his right to discovery and unfairly impeded his preparation for trial. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

The principal witness for the prosecution was Tamora Martin, who was a friend of the defendant. Tamora was addicted to heroin and had turned to prostitution to support her drug habit. In June of 1981 Tamora visited the apartment of Mr. Gall, an 81-year-old man, for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with him. Mr. Gall, however, told her that he did not have sufficient funds to pay her for her services, so she left.

Several days later, Tamora revealed, during a conversation with the defendant, Timothy Gilbert, another friend, and Betty Moore, the mother of Tamora's boyfriend, that Mr. Gall was an elderly man who lived alone and had many valuable belongings in his apartment. The defendant proposed a plan to rob Mr. Gall, suggesting that Tamora go to the apartment and leave the front door unlocked so that the defendant could sneak in, collect the valuables and leave. Initially, Tamora refused to participate in the robbery, but on July 9 she finally agreed to do so.

Tamora called Mr. Gall and asked him if she could come over that evening but was told no. She called him again the next morning, at which time she was told to come over at 9 p.m. that evening.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. that evening, Tamora met the defendant, Timothy Gilbert, and his girlfriend, Sandra Hubson, in front of Tamora's apartment. The foursome took Tamora's grandmother's car to Mr. Gall's apartment. They arrived at approximately 10 p.m. and parked one-half block from the apartment, at which point they reviewed the robbery plan.

Tamora went to Mr. Gall's apartment and went into the living room, which was located in the rear of the apartment. Mr. Gall offered her some refreshments, and she ate while he massaged her neck.

Fifteen or twenty minutes later, she told Mr. Gail that she had left her keys in the car and would be right back. She went downstairs and met the defendant in the courtyard of the building; he instructed her to go back to the apartment and to leave the door open. She went back to the building and rang Mr. Gall's apartment and placed a piece of paper in the security door so that the defendant could get in. Tamora, upon arriving back at the apartment, unlocked the door when Mr. Gall was not looking. She then accompanied him into the living room, where he once again began to massage her neck.

Approximately 10 minutes later, a loud noise from the front of the apartment startled both Mr. Gall and Tamora. The defendant entered, walked over to Mr. Gall and struck him in the face. Tamora told the defendant to stop, but he hit Mr. Gall a second and a third time, knocking him unconscious. The defendant continued to beat Mr. Gall, and Tamora ran downstairs and asked Timothy Gilbert to stop the defendant.

Gilbert went up to the apartment, and Tamora waited in the car. Approximately 10 minutes later, both the defendant and Gilbert returned to the car. They told her that Mr. Gall was all right but had to be tied up. They had taken $15 and a gold watch from Mr. Gall; the defendant, Gilbert and Tamora each kept $5.

They drove to a bar where Tamora called the police. She told them that her name was Julie Adams and that screams were emanating from an apartment at 7304 Ridge. Tamora then dropped Gilbert off at the Apache Motel, where he lived with his girlfriend, and drove the defendant to his girlfriend's house. At that point, the defendant warned Tamora not to call the police because she would be blamed for the incident.

The next day, Tamora told Betty Moore, whom she knew to be a police "snitch," about the incident. Thereafter, she met with several police officers. Later, she turned herself into the ...


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