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March 8, 1994


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. Nos. 92-CF-168, 92-CF-170. Honorable John R. Goshgarian, Judge, Presiding.

PECCARELLI, Doyle, Colwell

The opinion of the court was delivered by: PECCARELLI

JUSTICE PECCARELLI delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant, Jerry Moore, was convicted following a jury trial of armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 38, par. 18-2(a) (now 720 ILCS 5/18-2(a) (West 1992))) in case No. 92-CF-170. Defendant also pleaded guilty to armed robbery in case No. 92-CF-168. Following a combined sentencing hearing, the court sentenced defendant to consecutive terms of 25 and 10 years' imprisonment. Defendant appeals, contending that the sentences were unduly harsh given his youth, lack of criminal history, work record, demonstration of remorse, and supportive family.

At the trial of case No. 92-CF-170, Thomas Gscheidle testified that he was the manager of the Burger King restaurant in Gurnee. He was at work at about 6:30 p.m. on January 19, 1992, when the telephone rang and he went into the office to answer it. After he hung up the phone, he felt a cold, round object on his neck behind his ear. A voice commanded him to open the safe. The voice told him four or five times to open the safe or he would be dead. At this point he could not see the person making the demand.

After Gscheidle opened the safe, the voice asked him if he had a bag. Gscheidle found a white canvas coin bag. The person spotted a blue pouch and asked Gscheidle about it. Gscheidle explained that it contained the paper cash, and the voice ordered him to place it in the canvas bag.

When the voice ordered Gscheidle outside the office, he finally got a look at the robber. He was wearing black pants, a dark jacket, and a dark mask. Gscheidle estimated that this individual was 6 feet 3 inches tall. With the gun pointed at Gscheidle's back, the robber ordered Gscheidle to walk to the front of the store. There the manager noticed his employees lying on the floor. He was ordered to open the cash register drawers. As he did so, he saw a second robber standing by the french fryer. This person was between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall. The second robber told Gscheidle to remove the cash from the drive-through window register. While Gscheidle was doing this, the first robber walked to the front doors and stood in the lobby. Gscheidle was then ordered to give the money to the man by the french fryer. The latter stuffed the money in his pockets.

Gurnee Police Sergeant Glen Nelson responded to a call about the robbery. As he arrived he saw two men running from the east door of the Burger King through the parking lot. He chased the taller man, who dropped a white canvas bag while he was running. The man eventually jumped a fence and escaped.

Eric Verden testified that he lives in an apartment complex in Gurnee about a mile and a half from the Burger King. At 7:30 or 8 p.m. on January 19 he stepped outside to get some things from the back of his Oldsmobile Cutlass. As he reached into the backseat, he heard a noise. He stood up and confronted a man about 6 feet 5 inches tall and wearing a brown ski mask. Verden scanned further down the man's body and saw that he was pointing a gun at him. The man demanded the key to the ignition. Verden protested that he did not have it. After unsuccessfully attempting to start both the Oldsmobile and Verden's Jeep Cherokee, the two men entered Verden's apartment. The man with the gun continued to point it at Verden. After noticing that the gunman appeared to be cold and that his clothes were wet, Verden offered the gunman coffee and dry clothes. Eventually they went back outside and the gunman demanded that Verden drive him to an address in Waukegan. In court, Verden opined that defendant matched the physical dimensions of the person he saw on January 19, 1992.

Waukegan Detective Michael Donnenwirth interviewed defendant concerning the Burger King robbery. Defendant stated that he had been riding around with Stanley Belton and Troy Jackson when they decided to rob a Burger King. He said that he did not really want to do it, but went along with the plan. Defendant had a .38 caliber handgun. As they approached the Burger King, he gave the gun to Belton. Belton went in first and defendant and Jackson followed. Defendant described his escape, stating that he put his hand under his coat to make it look like a gun in order to get a ride from Verden. Donnenwirth identified defendant's written statement.

Troy Jackson testified that defendant is his cousin. They got together after Jackson's release from prison in October 1991 and often played basketball and "hung out" together. Jackson stated that he pleaded guilty to armed robbery in exchange for a sentence of 25 years. The plea agreement also required his truthful testimony. Jackson said that on January 19 he, Belton, and defendant were riding around together and developed a plan to rob the Burger King. Jackson testified that defendant was the one who held the gun to the manager's head and obtained the canvas bag full of money. Jackson estimated Belton's height at about 5-feet 8-inches. Jackson said that he is approximately a half-inch taller than Belton. Defendant is 6 feet 3 inches tall.

Defendant testified at trial that he was at home on January 19 when Jackson and Belton picked him up. They began driving toward Gurnee because Jackson's girlfriend lived there. As they drove past the Burger King, Jackson suggested that they rob it. Jackson parked the car by a shopping center and he and Belton changed into darker clothes and began walking toward the restaurant. Defendant tried to dissuade the others from committing the robbery, but, after they argued for awhile, Belton snatched the gun away from him. Belton and Jackson then entered the Burger King. Defendant walked with them, but stopped at the door. He remained in the lobby between the sets of double doors. Back in the parking lot, Belton gave defendant the gun because Belton had the money. He jumped over a fence and ran to an apartment complex, where a man gave him a ride.

The jury found defendant guilty of armed robbery. The court entered judgment on the verdict and continued the cause for sentencing.

In case No. 92-CF-168, defendant pleaded guilty to armed robbery. The factual basis for the plea was that on January 12, 1992, defendant or someone he was legally accountable for, while armed with a gun, took money from the presence of William Seibel, the manager of a Pizza Hut, by the threat of the imminent use of ...

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