Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 00 CR 10518 Honorable Mary Ellen Coughlan, Judge Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice O'brien
Defendant, Larry Brookins, appeals his conviction and 10-year sentence for residential burglary. Upon appeal, defendant argues that the circuit court erred in instructing the jury with respect to identification testimony of a witness. We affirm.
At trial, Regina Scolaro identified defendant as the burglar. Ms. Scolaro's testimony is central both to defendant's conviction and to his one issue upon appeal, and so we set forth Ms. Scolaro's testimony in some detail.
Ms. Scolaro testified during direct examination that on April 7, 2000, she was living at 1956 North Burlington in Chicago, "directly east" of 1955 Halsted Street, where the residential burglary occurred. Ms. Scolaro noted that she "share[d] an alley with the people on Halsted."
Ms. Scolaro testified that at about 1 a.m. on April 7, 2000, something "unusual" happened:
A: I-my bedroom has a window, a big window, and it overlooks my alley, and there is a pretty bright light in the alley. And I happened to see the defendant walking down the alley and-
Q: Did you look out the window for any particular reason?
A: No, I just--I mean I was on my way to bed, and as I get into bed, the window is there and I just looked out my window.
Q: Now *** you were on the third floor, is that correct?
Q: Where was this light coming from in relation to [defendant]?
A: There was a - as I looked out over my alley, it's, I have
a, directly below me is a little patio, and then there is my
garage, and there is a light post right here as I look out. It's
Q: Indicating to your right?
A: It's a light, and it's very bright. I mean my alley is very well lit.
Q: Was there anything obstructing your view of [defendant] at that time?
A: Absolutely nothing. *** [S]pecifically, as he passed underneath the light, my bedroom light was off, so you could not see, as far as I knew, into my bedroom, but I could clearly see outside, and as he walked underneath the light, he looked right up at my window and *** I got a very good view of his face. ***
Q: Where did you see him go, if anywhere?
A: I saw him going through a construction site. There's a townhome or apartment building, at the time it was in the early stages of development, and it was quite a mess. There was a lot of construction and stuff there. And he was rummaging around in there, and there is no garbage or anything [like] that. It didn't look like he was looking for food. He looked like he was looking for something else, and I thought that was unusual.
Q: When you say he was in this construction site, had you lost sight of him up to that point?
A: Not up to that point. I lost sight of him, and then he would reappear and disappear and reappear. And I thought that was really unusual, and I continued to watch.
Q: As he was doing those things and you were watching, did you do anything at that point?
A: At that point I had watched him for [a] couple of minutes. And then when I-- I don't remember how much time exactly went by, but there was a point when I thought he seems suspicious, his behavior is unusual, and I called 311. ***
Q: What did you see happen next?
A: I saw him actually come towards my house. And my neighbor, who lives directly next door to me, has a wooden gate and they have it shut, and I did see him go through there. And then at that point, I lost sight of him because he was directly below me and I couldn't see him.
Q: Did he ever appear again in your sight?
A: He reappeared and came out the same way that he went through that wooden gate. Then he was back in my alley again. Then I continued to watch and I saw him go over to the victim's house. He was in their backyard and he was on the balcony, walking back and forth. ***
Q: This was at 1955 North Halsted?
A: I continued to watch him walk back and forth and then I saw him go down the stairs, and I lost sight of him, and then I looked up and saw him a couple ...