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04/22/94 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. SHANNON RUCKER

April 22, 1994

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
SHANNON RUCKER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 91-CF-495. Honorable Barry E. Puklin, Judge, Presiding.

Released for Publication May 27, 1994.

PECCARELLI, Woodward, McLAREN

The opinion of the court was delivered by: PECCARELLI

JUSTICE PECCARELLI delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant, Shannon Rucker, pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 38, par. 18-2(a) (now 720 ILCS 5/18-2(a) (West 1992))). The court sentenced defendant to consecutive terms of 6 and 14 years' imprisonment. Defendant appeals, contending that the consecutive sentences totalling 20 years are not necessary to protect the public. Defendant also contends that the 14-year term is excessive, failing to take into account his youth, lack of criminal history and rehabilitative potential.

Defendant and two codefendants, John Kent and Loren Villar, were charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery following two separate attacks on a pizza delivery man. The factual basis for defendant's pleas was that on March 31, 1991, he was involved in the attacks on Syed Razvi. On the first occasion, defendant, Kent, and Villar placed a pizza order. When Razvi attempted to deliver the pizza, defendant, Kent, and Villar confronted him with a metal pipe and robbed him of a pizza and a soft drink.

The following evening, they placed a second order from a different location, and Razvi again responded. This time, they struck him with baseball bats and took money from him. Razvi suffered a broken elbow. After being arrested, defendant made inculpatory statements to the police.

The court accepted the pleas. At the sentencing hearing, East Dundee police chief Ignacio Pena testified that he investigated the first robbery and assisted the Carpentersville police in investigating the second.

At the Carpentersville police station, defendant advised Ignacio Pena that, during the first robbery, he struck Razvi with a 9- or 10-inch metal bar. His companions removed a pizza from the delivery truck.

According to Pena, defendant said that after the first attempt Kent suggested that they try it again, hoping to obtain money. On this occasion, defendant struck Razvi three times with a bat and Kent took money from him. When a Carpentersville police detective asked defendant if he realized how seriously the driver was injured, defendant responded that when he heard a thud he was not sure how badly the man was hurt. However, after he heard him breathing, he ceased to be concerned about it.

Razvi testified that during the second incident he received three blows to the neck, elbow, and head. He was hospitalized for six dayswith a fractured skull and a shattered elbow. He had two surgeries on the elbow which left him with a permanent 10% loss of movement. He testified that he was unable to work for awhile and eventually returned to a lower paying job. However, he was currently employed and the incident had no effect on his family.

The evidence in mitigation established that at the time of the offense defendant was two months past his 17th birthday and had been attending Dundee-Crown High School. During his first year of high school, he had been a "B" student and a member of the wrestling team.

Following a breakup with his girlfriend and the death of his grandmother, with whom he had had a close relationship, his grades began to drop and he began to have disciplinary problems at school. On one or two occasions (the record is unclear), defendant obtained his father's gun and threatened to kill himself. From December 1990 to January 1991, defendant was hospitalized for severe depression.

Defendant was released from the hospital for financial reasons, although the hospital staff opined that he was not completely recovered. He continued to see a psychiatrist, but his depression only increased. Late in February or early in March, defendant had an argument with his mother. He moved out of her house and moved in with his father, who lived a short distance away. Defendant began drinking steadily, consuming a 12-pack of beer ...


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