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People v. Luczak

June 14, 1999


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice O'mara Frossard

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County Honorable Edward M. Fiala, Jr., Judge Presiding.

Defendant, Theodore Luczak, appeals his conviction for two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. Defendant asserts that the trial court erred in allowing the State to introduce in its case in chief evidence that defendant sexually assaulted a different victim six years prior to the current charges.

Prior to trial, the State moved to introduce into evidence defendant's prior crime, arguing that evidence of the other crime showed defendant's intent at the time of the charged crime and established defendant's modus operandi. Over objection, the trial court granted the motion and stated that the other crimes evidence demonstrated defendant's modus operandi and intent.

At trial, the complainant, S.S., testified that on April 22, 1995, between 9 and 10 p.m., she was walking home from the train station in Hammond, Indiana, when she saw a white Cadillac Sedan Deville with a burgundy top pass her. Inside the car, she noticed two Hispanic males in the back seat and one white male, the defendant, driving. While S.S. continued to walk home, she saw the vehicle drive around the block and stop at a house near her, at which point the two Hispanic passengers exited the vehicle.

S.S. further testified that the vehicle either made a U-turn or drove around the block again before slowing down next to her. Defendant was alone in the vehicle. Defendant started to talk to S.S. and inquired as to her name, whether she had a boyfriend, and whether she liked to party. S.S. responded that she did not want to party and that she had a boyfriend. Defendant then offered S.S. a ride home and she agreed, because it was cold and she was only wearing a skirt. S.S. also asked defendant for his driver's license, for assurance, and he gave it to her to hold.

S.S. testified that defendant was polite and outgoing. After S.S. told defendant that she liked to dance, defendant stated he worked as a disc jockey at a nightclub in Chicago and that he was going to work. Defendant offered to take S.S. with him to the nightclub that evening and promised to drive her home after his shift ended. S.S. agreed to go but only if defendant first met S.S.'s sister. S.S. testified that defendant drove her home and S.S. introduced defendant to her sister. S.S. stated her sister told her that defendant was "all right" and seemed "harmless." Defendant and S.S. left her house.

As defendant and S.S. drove through the southeast side of Chicago, defendant stated that he needed to get some money and drove to a nearby house. While S.S. waited in the car, defendant went into the house for five to eight minutes. Within a block of driving away from the house, defendant stated he liked S.S.'s eyes and began to touch her face. S.S told him to stop. Defendant then stated that he used to be a high-ranking member of the Latin Kings street gang and that he used to engage in the gang practice of "pulling a train." S.S. knew this gang practice involved gang-raping a woman.

S.S. next testified that defendant started to drive around the neighborhood and called her a "tease." Defendant's tone and demeanor suddenly changed. Defendant threatened S.S. and told her if she did not do as he said, he would "blow [her] head off" or force her to engage in a gang rape. He also threatened to kill her sister, child, and boyfriend and threatened to blow up her house. S.S. then noticed a blue van drive by and pull up parallel to defendant's car. S.S. saw at least two people in the front of the van. Defendant recognized the people in the van and flashed them gang signals. The van then followed her and defendant.

S.S. testified that the defendant told her that the people in the van were his "home boys" and were former members of the Latin Kings street gang. While the van was following them, defendant told S.S. to remove her clothing and do what he wanted or she was going to "pull a train" with the individuals in the van. Defendant also threatened to throw her into the river if she refused. Defendant continued to make these threats with the van following his car for approximately one half hour. S.S. tried to appease defendant by telling him that she would do what he wanted.

At this point S.S. testified that, while still driving, defendant unzipped his pants and demanded that S.S. perform oral sex on him. He told her if she refused, she was going to "pull a train" and that he would kill her. Defendant then grabbed S.S.'s neck, pulled her down, and forced her to perform oral sex on him.

S.S. next testified that defendant told her he wanted to have sex with her. Trying to avoid this, S.S. responded that she had a yeast infection. Defendant stated that he would have anal intercourse with S.S. Defendant continued to threaten S.S. and her family, and, as a result, S.S. agreed to have anal intercourse with defendant. Defendant then made a hand signal to the van, and it drove away. S.S. testified that defendant parked in a secluded alley on the southeast side of Chicago and engaged in anal intercourse with her in the back seat of the car. After several minutes, S.S. begged defendant to stop and defendant stated that he would let her go at midnight.

S.S. next testified that she noticed the clock on the dash board read midnight and told defendant that he promised to stop and take her home. Defendant told her to shut up and said: "You're going to die. You're pulling a train." Defendant continued to assault her. Now believing that she was going to die, S.S. stated that she became crazed and she started to scream and beat defendant. Defendant attempted to calm S.S. down and agreed to take her home. After driving for a few minutes, defendant began to threaten S.S. again. S.S. told defendant that if he did not take her home, she would kill him.

S.S. testified that she was afraid that defendant was going to drive her to an unfamiliar area. She therefore grabbed the wheel and took the keys out of the ignition. Defendant and S.S. fought over the keys. After S.S. grabbed defendant's throat, he again agreed to take her home. Defendant told S.S. that if she went to the police, he would tell the police that she was a prostitute and that she agreed to have sex with him for $500. Two blocks from S.S.'s house, she exited the vehicle and walked home. S.S. told her sister what happened and they drove to the hospital.

On the way to the hospital, S.S. and her sister flagged down a Hammond police officer who informed them that he would call the Chicago police department and have police officers meet her at the hospital. S.S. was treated at the hospital and spoke to Chicago police ...

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