legal humor

The hungry junkie…

I misread my reading assignment1 for Crimlaw, but stumbled upon the best case ever.2

The defendant was sentenced to 60 years to life on seven counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated battery, two counts of kidnapping, and four counts of aggravated burglary. Gasp, I know.

The fact section (after the jump) is strange. The gist: a crackhead goes on a crime spree. What is bizarre about the opinion is that after describing how the defendant robs and terrorizes someone, the court then mentions that the defendant ate his victim’s food.

For example:
At gunpoint, Crawford took Monhollon to the back door of the other half of his duplex and instructed him to say his phone was not working.

Monhollon’s neighbor, Bernice Looka, let him in and Crawford followed him. In the bedroom, Crawford went through Looka’s jewelry and dresser drawers. Then Crawford told Looka to take off her clothes and he handcuffed her to the faucet in the bathroom. He made Monhollon wait while he ate Looka’s ice cream and cookies.
The junkie ate at two houses.

I don’t know what is more bizarre: that the crackhead ate the victim’s food, or that the court mentions it in the opinion. The fact section is after the jump:

Crawford testified that, on February 17, 1991, he traveled from Kansas City to Topeka with Larry Bateman and Bateman’s girlfriend. Crawford owed money to Bateman for cocaine which Bateman had supplied to him. Bateman wanted Crawford to commit some robberies in Topeka in order to get money. During the drive, Bateman’s girlfriend gave a gun to Crawford. In Topeka they first stopped at the Ramada Inn.

Leaving the Ramada Inn, Bateman drove Crawford to Parkview Hospital. Crawford testified that when Nancy Jo Overholt came out of the hospital, Bateman told him to rob her. As Overholt was putting her seat belt on, Crawford approached her and pointed the gun at her. She grabbed the barrel of the gun, and the two struggled. Crawford pulled the gun from her grasp and hit her with the butt of it. She gave him her wedding rings, and, when she could not get her other ring off, Crawford hit her again with the butt of the gun.

When Crawford walked away from her, Overholt stood and yelled to an approaching man, telling him to run because Crawford had a gun. Overholt’s head wounds required sutures, she suffered a concussion, and she spent three days in the hospital.

Crawford approached Mark Monhollon, the man Overholt tried to warn, put the gun in Monhollon’s ribs, and told him it was a big gun which would “put a big hole in a big man.” At gunpoint, Monhollon got into the driver’s seat of his car, and Crawford got in behind him. As Monhollon drove, Crawford kept the gun pressed in Monhollon’s side and took Monhollon’s wallet and checkbook out of his pockets. Seeing Monhollon’s address on his checks, Crawford told him to drive to his residence.

Once inside Monhollon’s duplex, Crawford made Monhollon lie face down on the floor, then crawl into the next room where Crawford took Monhollon’s ring and the cash from his pockets. While Monhollon was forced to crawl along on the floor, Crawford went from room to room opening storage areas and drawers and pulling or dumping out the contents. Crawford pulled pictures off the walls, tore up photographs, and ripped up the beds.

Crawford changed into Monhollon’s clothes and shoes. He ate and drank Monhollon’s food and soft drinks. When Crawford made a telephone call, Monhollon heard him say “Steven” or “Stevenson” and “I have transportation.” Then Crawford began asking Monhollon about his friends and neighbors as possible sources for another car and valuables.

At gunpoint, Crawford took Monhollon to the back door of the other half of his duplex and instructed him to say his phone was not working. Monhollon’s neighbor, Bernice Looka, let him in and Crawford followed him. In the bedroom, Crawford went through Looka’s jewelry and dresser drawers. Then Crawford told Looka to take off her clothes and he handcuffed her to the faucet in the bathroom. He made Monhollon wait while he ate Looka’s ice cream and cookies.

At gunpoint, Crawford took Monhollon back to his half of the duplex. Crawford went through Monhollon’s house a second time, gathering up items he had passed over the first time. Crawford made Monhollon load things into the car and get into the passenger seat.

With Crawford driving, they set out to find an automatic bank teller machine where Crawford could use the bank card he had taken from Monhollon’s wallet. Crawford made Monhollon ride on the floor. Crawford then pulled into a residential driveway and said to Monhollon, “We’ll walk in here like we own the place.”

After they got inside, the homeowner, Nancy Kinney, who had been outside with her children, came into her garage. Crawford pointed the gun at her. When Kinney screamed and tried to run away, Crawford struck her with the gun, and she lost consciousness. When she regained consciousness, Crawford put the gun in her back and forced her into the house where she saw Monhollon lying face down on the floor. Crawford went through the house, looking  for money, jewelry, and guns. Kinney got into her purse to get money for Crawford. Crawford then took Kinney to the basement and told her to count to a thousand before coming up.

Crawford told Monhollon to carry the television out to the car. Monhollon got back on the floor of the car, and they drove to an automatic teller machine. With the gun pointed at Monhollon, Crawford gave him the bank card and told him to withdraw his money. Monhollon gave Crawford the money, they drove to what Monhollon believed was the Ramada Inn, and Crawford put Monhollon in the trunk of the car.

Crawford got out of the car to make a phone call, and he warned Monhollon not to do anything. After Crawford returned to the car, Monhollon heard another car drive up, some discussion, and a car drive off. Crawford drove to Lawrence with Monhollon in the trunk. Upon arriving in Lawrence, Crawford stopped at the Holidome. According to Crawford, Bateman was not satisfied with the evening’s take and threatened to hurt him and his son if he did not get more. Crawford testified that Bateman instructed him to wait until after midnight and then rob the Holidome. Quite a long time passed while Monhollon remained in the trunk, the car was moved, and the car doors were opened and closed.

After it got quiet around the car, Monhollon kicked the back seat forward so that he could crawl into the interior of the car. He was alone, the keys were in the seat, and he drove from the Holidome parking lot in Lawrence to the turnpike entrance where he told a police officer what had happened.

Lawrence police officers found Crawford underneath a table in the restaurant of the Holidome. Items taken from Crawford by the police included a loaded semiautomatic pistol, a piece of rock cocaine, a glass pipe, some cigarette lighters, and a Holidome room key.

Crawford was interviewed at the Lawrence Law Enforcement Center by Officer Fox of the Topeka Police Department. Officer Fox read the Miranda warning to Crawford, who indicated that he understood his rights and waived them. Crawford asked if there was some kind of deal he could work out with the police. When he was told that there would be no deal, Crawford told the police about his activities in Topeka earlier that day.

He told the police that he had gone to Topeka with Bateman so that he could get money to buy cocaine from Bateman. He told police that Bateman had given him the gun. Crawford told police that after he had robbed Overholt, Monhollon, Looka, and Kinney, he met Bateman at the Ramada Inn in Topeka and exchanged the money and jewelry for cocaine. Crawford did not mention owing a large amount of money to Bateman, he did not indicate that he feared Bateman, nor did he indicate that he was forced by Bateman to commit the robberies.

At trial, Crawford testified that when he first began using crack cocaine, he bought it from Bateman. During the months immediately before the occurrences at issue, Bateman informed Crawford that he owed $6,000 and then $10,000 for crack cocaine he had gotten on credit. When Bateman began pressuring him, Crawford went to another supplier. Crawford testified that Bateman and some cronies learned that he had gone to another supplier and threatened him; Crawford believed that Bateman was going to kill him.

After his arrest, Crawford told police that he lived at the Riverview Project in Kansas City. At trial, Crawford testified that he lived in a crack house which Bateman operated and that he was not free to come and go as he pleased. Crawford denied being one of Bateman’s “workers,” but he stated that “until I could pay him his money off I had to do what he asked me to do,” including committing crimes. Crawford testified that Bateman “had me doing a lot of crimes in Kansas City.”

When asked on direct examination about how and why he moved into the crack house, Crawford gave the following answer:
“So he got to telling me about I know that he’s a member of the Moorish Americans and I know that the type of individuals that he was speaking of were some dangerous people and that it wouldn’t be nothing for him to call down there to his friends where my son and mother, the store that she works for and have somebody to set her up while the Ace is with her and possibly burn them up in the house or shoot and kill them.”
Crawford testified that Bateman knew about Crawford’s son because “he’s originally from St. Louis and he knows Anthony Bradley, whom my son’s mother works for.”

Crawford testified that the Moorish Americans were a religious group who had a branch that “was basically just involved in drug warfare and selling dope and hurting people and stuff like that.” Crawford described an instance of revenge killing which he had heard about. Then he was asked the following question and gave the following answer:
“Q. Now your knowledge of the St. Louis Moorish American sects have any influence to you as to whether Larry Bateman could in fact hurt your son?

“A. Yes, he could, because he was friends with some members down there, the Moor Sciences Temple of America that are still down there, could go do the same thing, driving Cadillacs, got a lot of money.”

1 This is the assignment as it appears in my syllabus: 584 (lst ¶ of C), 591(n.4)-96(n.9), 574-78

I read: 584 (lst ¶ of C)- 591(n.4), 96(n.9), 574-78
2 State v. Crawford, 253 Kan. 629 (1993).

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  • Reply
    March 8, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    OMG! I’ve stayed at that Ramada Inn!

    Not at the time this occurred, of course.

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