Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Honorable Frank W. Meekins, Judge Presiding.
Rehearing Denied April 5, 1995. Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied January 31, 1996.
O'connor, Campbell, Buckley
The opinion of the court was delivered by: O'connor
JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court:
On May 30, 1991, defendant, Donald Scott, severely beat and robbed two women and forced the second woman to place her finger into her vagina. Scott now appeals from his subsequent convictions and sentences for attempted murder and aggravated criminal sexual assault. Scott was also convicted on two counts of robbery which he does not now challenge.
Edna Alexander had been, for fourteen years, the manager at the Dixie Beauty Supply Store (Dixie) in Chicago Heights. She arrived for work on May 30, 1991 at about 10 a.m. In order to gain access to Dixie, customers had to knock on the door, and Edna, who ordinarily worked alone in the shop, would "buzz" them in.
At around 11 a.m., Scott arrived at the store, and Edna buzzed him in. He browsed in the store and told Edna he was looking for a "neutralizer" solution. Edna and Scott located the product, and Scott told Edna he would return to purchase it later in the day. As the two walked toward the front of the store, Scott turned and punched Edna in the face. Edna told Scott to rob the store, but not to hurt her. Scott then began beating Edna, who eventually lost consciousness.
R.G. was a friend of Edna and a long-time customer at Dixie. She went to Dixie on May 30, 1991 with $70 in cash. She arrived at the store shortly after 11 a.m. She knocked, but there was no answer. R.G. waited up to twenty minutes, knocking on the door, when Scott finally opened the store. He grabbed R.G. and dragged her into the store. He punched her in the face, and she flew out of her shoes, back three to four feet, her head smashing into a counter. When R.G. looked at Scott, he hit her again in the face, telling her not to look at him or he would kill her. R.G. asked about Edna, and Scott replied, "I took care of her."
Scott pushed R.G. further into the store, where R.G. saw "Edna's body" on the floor, bloody, black and blue. Scott continued to drag R.G. into the store and hit her again when she looked at him. Scott demanded her money, and she gave him the $70.
Scott ordered R.G. to remove her clothes. When she did not, he reached under her dress and ripped her underwear off. Scott ordered R.G. to remove her tampon. Scott then lifted R.G.'s dress over her head and ordered her to place her finger into her vagina. After initially refusing, she did so. Scott stood behind R.G., who was lying on the floor. Scott spread R.G.'s legs with his feet. He began to unzip his pants and told R.G. he was going to rape her.
Meanwhile, Bayland Willis, who had witnessed R.G being pulled into the store, watched through the window as Scott initially hit R.G. He called police. Officers Hank Vega and Mike Pauley of the Chicago Heights Police Department responded to the call between 11:15 and 11:30 a.m. They could not enter the front of the store because of the security system. Officer Vega ran to the back of the store.
According to R.G., Scott suddenly zipped up his pants and ran to the front of the store. R.G. heard someone yell, "Police!" Scott hovered over Edna's body saying, "Shit, I'm busted!" He headed toward the rear entrance to the store and attempted to exit. He was met there by Officer Vega, who placed him under arrest. When this occurred, R.G. got up and ran to the front of the store, out of the door and into the arms of Officer Pauley.
Medical testimony and photographic evidence revealed the extent of the injuries inflicted on Edna and R.G. R.G. suffered a broken nose, and her knees were scarred and swollen as a result of being dragged through the store. Edna was taken to the hospital, where her first memory occurred three days later, although she apparently had regained consciousness at least temporarily prior to that. Her eyes were swollen shut and her face was severely beaten and swollen. Blood covered her face and "oozed" from her eyes, ears, and lips. She remained in the hospital for 22 days. She suffered post-traumatic amnesia. The lacerations on her face required surgical repair. When she finally tried to walk ten days later, she fell. She continued to have trouble with her balance, a condition called "ataxia," which the doctor offered resulted from severe head injuries. He stated, however, that Edna's injuries were not life-threatening. Edna was unable to walk without assistance for four months.
The jury found Scott guilty on two counts of robbery, one count for the aggravated criminal sexual assault of R.G., and one count for the attempted murder of Edna Alexander. Because of both the violent nature of the crimes and Scott's prior criminal record (including two prior criminal sexual assault convictions) the trial court sentenced Scott to consecutive terms of 50 years extended for ...