APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION
549 N.E.2d 681, 192 Ill. App. 3d 819, 140 Ill. Dec. 30 1989.IL.1997
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Francis Yackley, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. JIGANTI, P.J., and McMORROW, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN
Defendant, Curtis Hall, was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1984 Supp., ch. 38, par. 12-14(a)(2)) and robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 18-1) following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County. The trial Judge sentenced defendant to the penitentiary for concurrent terms of 60 years on the aggravated criminal sexual assault conviction and 14 years on the robbery conviction.
On appeal, defendant contends that he was denied a fair trial due to the admission of irrelevant evidence. Defendant also contends that he was denied a fair trial because, during closing argument, the trial Judge expressed his opinion that the State had proved beyond a reasonable doubt defendant's guilt, and the prosecutor made improper and prejudicial remarks. Defendant lastly contends his extended-term sentence for robbery must be vacated.
The record contains the following pertinent facts. Defendant was charged in a 15-count indictment with various offenses relating to criminal sexual assault, robbery, and kidnapping. Prior to trial, the State entered a nolle prosequi on all but four counts. Defendant was tried to a jury on aggravated criminal sexual assault based on the victim's bodily harm, robbery, kidnapping, and aggravated criminal sexual assault based on kidnapping.
The State's evidence at trial is summarized as follows. On the afternoon of July 30, 1984, the victim, a 16-year-old girl, left her home to pick up a relative, her godparents' grandchild, at school. After she exited a bus near 120th Street and Racine Avenue, she began walking on a dirt road towards Racine Avenue. As she walked, she saw defendant appear approximately 20 feet in front of her.
As they neared each other, defendant crossed the victim's path. He then wrapped his arms around her neck, choking her and inflicting pain. When she attempted to escape, he tightened his grip so that she could not breathe. He dragged her backwards into a vacant lot. He pulled her through the lot and under a broken fence, and into an area of tall bushes and trees.
Defendant threw the victim to the ground. She screamed for her mother; defendant struck her forehead with his fist. Defendant then pulled the victim's pants down and forcibly subjected her to sexual intercourse. Defendant then sat next to the victim for approximately five minutes, took her pants off, again punched her face, and subjected her to sexual intercourse a second time. Defendant then took the victim's social security card, told her to "shut up" and "stay there," and then departed.
Seconds after defendant left, the victim got up and ran. She climbed over a barbed wire fence, sustaining injuries to her legs and hands. She found newspapers to cover the bottom half of her body. The victim ran to a nearby house where a ...