Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable James Heyda, Judge Presiding.
Rehearing Denied August 23, 1994. Released for Publication December 16, 1994.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Tully
PRESIDING JUSTICE TULLY delivered the opinion of the court:
Following a double jury trial, defendant, Carlos McNeal, and co-defendant, Frederick Williams, were convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault in violation of section 12-14 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 12-14 (now codified as 720 ILCS 5/12-14 (West 1992))) and armed robbery in violation of section 18-2 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 18-2 (now codified as 720 ILCS 5/18-2 (West 1992))). Williams' case is not at issue in this appeal. Defendant was sentenced to serve two consecutive terms of 16 years' imprisonment for each offense. It is from the judgment of conviction that defendant now appeals to this court pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 603 (134 Ill. 2d R. 603).
For the reasons which follow, we affirm.
The following facts were adduced at trial. On July 7, 1990, at about 9 p.m., complainants, Rita Thomas and Samuel Hawkins, were walking on 117th Street near Wentworth Avenue in Chicago to visit an acquaintance. That individual was not home. Hawkins and Thomas then decided to go to 116th Street and Wentworth Avenue to visit Henry Chambers, Hawkins' brother-in-law. On their way to Chambers' home, the couple passed defendant and Williams. When approaching Chambers' house, Hawkins realized Chambers was not home as his car was gone. The couple testified that they then turned back and on their way were approached by defendant and Williams. Complainants stated that Williams then asked them if they wanted to buy some marijuana. Hawkins refused and the couple continued walking.
Hawkins recounted that he was then grabbed from behind and a gun was placed to his head. Thomas recalled that after Williams produced the gun, Williams told her and Hawkins to keep walking. The couple was then led to a gangway where Hawkins was ordered to lay down. Williams took a gold chain and cross, appointment book, wristwatch and cash from Hawkins.
Thomas testified that while Williams was robbing Hawkins, defendant ordered her to lay down on the ground. Defendant took Thomas' cash and jewelry and tried to kiss her. Defendant then fondled Thomas' breasts and digitally penetrated her vagina. Finally, both men fled the crime scene.
Thomas and Hawkins went to the police station to report the crime. At the station, complainants spoke to officers Luis Vega and Eric Washington. Later that night, the two officers drove complainants back to the scene of the crime and around the area. While riding with police, complainants saw defendant on the street and identified him as one of the offenders. Officer Vega recounted that he observed defendant trying to hide behind his companion, Lee Holmes, while dropping jewelry from his pockets. Both defendant and Holmes testified that defendant did not drop any jewelry from his pockets and that the shorts he was wearing that night did not have any pockets.
Officers Washington and Vega testified that after they arrested defendant and informed him of his Miranda rights, defendant told them that Williams robbed complainants and that he had no part in the crime. At trial, defendant denied making this statement to the police. Both defendant and Williams denied robbing complainants or that defendant sexually assaulted Thomas.
Williams did admit to meeting Hawkins on the night in question but that it was in the context of selling him a bogus bag of cocaine which contained soap shavings. Williams claimed that Hawkins traded him $9 and the jewelry for the fake drugs. ...