People v. Kubat

Decision Date24 January 1983
Docket NumberNo. 53726,53726
Citation69 Ill.Dec. 30,447 N.E.2d 247,94 Ill.2d 437
Parties, 69 Ill.Dec. 30 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Robert KUBAT, Appellant.
CourtIllinois Supreme Court

Tyrone C. Fahner, Atty. Gen., State of Ill., Michael B. Weinstein, Darrell Panethiere, Neal B. Goodfriend, David Bindi, Asst. Attys. Gen., Chicago, for appellee.

Daniel D. Yuhas, Deputy State Appellate Defender, Springfield, Gary R. Peterson, Charles M. Schiedel, Asst. State Appellate Defenders, Springfield, for appellant.


The defendant, Robert Kubat, was indicted by a Lake County grand jury for the aggravated kidnaping and murder on November 2, 1979, of Lydia Hyde. Prior to trial, the State announced its intention to seek the death penalty, and after an extensive voir dire examination, a jury was empaneled. Following a five-day trial, the jury found defendant guilty of both offenses. At the subsequent two-stage sentencing proceeding, the same jury found the existence of statutory aggravating factors and determined that there were no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude the imposition of the death sentence. The trial court accordingly sentenced defendant to death for the murder and to an extended term of 30 years' imprisonment for the aggravated kidnaping. Defendant appeals directly to this court pursuant to article VI, section 4(b), of the 1970 Constitution and our Rule 603 (73 Ill.2d R. 603).

Defendant alleges numerous grounds for reversal of his convictions and sentences, the first of which is that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A review of the substantial evidence produced by the State, however, leaves no doubt of defendant's guilt of those offenses.

The body of the 63-year-old victim, Lydia Hyde, was found in the early afternoon of November 2, 1979, alongside a highway in Lake County, approximately one mile from the Wisconsin State line. Mrs. Hyde had been shot in the head at close range.

The chief prosecution witness was Carolyn Sue Quick, age 41, the former wife of defendant and an admitted participant in the abduction of Mrs. Hyde. The State's Attorney of Lake County had agreed to dismiss the aggravated kidnaping charges pending against her in exchange for her testimony.

Quick had been married to defendant twice; they had no children. She was also divorced from her first husband, Gwen Quick, with whom she had three children. Her marriage to defendant in June 1976 ended in a divorce in September 1977. She and defendant remarried in late August 1979, while she was hospitalized for an operation. She testified that she had only a partial recollection of this marriage ceremony, which she said was arranged by defendant without any prior agreement between the two. She and defendant had continued to see each other, however, following their divorce and lived together not infrequently until they remarried. Prior to her second marriage to defendant, Quick had also lived with Larry (Ray) Flatoff for approximately one month at his trailer-house in South Bend, Indiana. She left Flatoff's residence in August 1979 to enter the hospital and returned with defendant, her two adult sons and a son's girlfriend on September 7, 1979, to retrieve her clothing. She testified that defendant removed Flatoff's .38-caliber revolver and holster on that date, and she and defendant returned to Lyons, Illinois, where she had been living with defendant following their marriage and her hospital stay. Also living with defendant and Quick at that time was Francine Bejda, with whom, Quick testified, defendant was sleeping, while Quick slept on the floor. Apparently unhappy with that arrangement, Quick left in mid-September and returned to Flatoff's residence in South Bend. At about that time, she consulted her attorney regarding an annulment. She subsequently moved to her father's house in West Frankfort, Illinois. During the course of Quick's testimony, she indicated that defendant's height was approximately 5 feet 11 inches, he weighed 150 pounds, and he had an indented or cleft chin, which she pointed out before the jury. She stated that Flatoff did not have a cleft chin.

Quick's testimony concerning the events which preceded and followed the death of Lydia Hyde was as follows: On October 27, 1979, Quick left her father's house and drove to Des Moines, Iowa, to meet defendant. Defendant was employed as a truck driver at the time and was scheduled to drive to Sparks, Nevada, in connection with his work. Quick accompanied defendant and his co-worker, Paul Kacelak, on the trip in a truck which was equipped with sleeping accommodations. The three returned to Des Moines in the early morning of November 1, at which time Quick retrieved her car and followed the two men back to Chicago. Quick went to the residence of Emily Gabriel, defendant's sister, in Tinley Park. She stayed there until approximately 10:30 or 11 p.m. that night, when she left to meet defendant at Jeannie's Lounge. She was driving her 1978 Buick; defendant was driving his white 1977 Chevrolet station wagon. The two happened to meet at an intersection on the way to the lounge, and changed plans with Quick following defendant to the Nugget in Berwyn, where they had a couple of drinks and stayed until closing time, approximately 12:50 a.m. Their next stop was Ed's Grill. They left Ed's Grill in defendant's station wagon and proceeded to Kenosha, Wisconsin. Quick left her car in front of Ed's Grill.

During the early morning hours of November 2, 1979, defendant and Quick stopped at the Kickapoo gas station in Kenosha, where they parked and napped until the station opened. When they awoke, defendant folded a blanket and stacked a pillow, put gas in the car, and went to the washroom, and the two proceeded to the Chat and Chew restaurant. Quick went inside the restaurant alone, had a bowl of oatmeal, and ordered two coffees to go. The pair continued to drive through Kenosha until they reached the Back Door restaurant and bar. They left the Back Door after being informed by an employee that the restaurant was closed. They then went to the Sunnyside restaurant and bar, where Quick drank a can of grapefruit juice and defendant an Old Style beer and a shot of Canadian Club (CC). After staying at the Sunnyside for approximately 45 minutes, they returned to the Back Door, which was then open. Defendant was wearing a "rusty brown" hat (which Quick identified as People's exhibit No. 58) and a gray coat with a black collar. It was shortly after 11 a.m.

The couple sat at the bar in the Back Door, and defendant engaged in a lengthy conversation with Jesse Lopez, who owned the bar with his wife, Nora. Mrs. Lopez was also present. Defendant drank an Old Style beer and a shot of CC; Quick had a soda, and the two shared a sandwich. Quick commented about the owner's "beautiful gray hair," and an employee, Sandra Lawson, who had previously informed defendant and Quick that the restaurant was closed, jokingly responded with the words to the effect that "it ought to be pretty, he combs it all the time." As it approached the noon hour, Sandra Lawson asked the couple whether they would be staying for lunch. Defendant responded that they would be leaving shortly.

After leaving the Back Door, defendant and Quick drove to the Coffee And bar, where Lydia Hyde was alone, bartending. Defendant sat at the bar directly in front of the cash register; Quick sat to his left. Defendant drank an Old Style beer and a shot of CC; Quick drank a glass of grapefruit juice. While the two sat at the bar, a man came down from upstairs, mixed two drinks and left with the drinks. Shortly thereafter, a woman came down and also mixed two drinks and left. After Mrs. Hyde placed a money bag in the cash register, defendant went behind the bar, held a .38-caliber revolver to her back, and told her to put the money from the register in the bag. She complied. At defendant's direction, Quick emptied the beer can and glasses on the bar and floor and placed them in her purse. Defendant told Mrs. Hyde that "she was going with (them)." She asked and was allowed to get her coat. Mrs. Hyde was taken to the car where she sat in the front seat between Quick, who was driving, and defendant. Quick drove at defendant's direction until she saw a sign that read "41 to the left, Illinois tollway straight ahead," at which point defendant told her to pull over. Mrs. Hyde held Quick's hand while defendant displayed the gun. After stopping the car next to the sign, defendant ordered Mrs. Hyde out of the car and told her to hold the sign and face west. As Mrs. Hyde held her hands up to hold the sign, defendant, who was standing just beside her, told her "she wouldn't feel a thing" and shot her in the back of the head. Mrs. Hyde fell to the ground at defendant's feet, fatally wounded. Defendant got back into the car, and Quick drove on to the Illinois Tollway.

The next stop defendant and Quick made was in Stickney, Illinois, at Valentine's restaurant. Defendant ordered lunch and an Old Style beer with a shot of CC. They left Valentine's and went to the M & D lounge in Berwyn, where they saw Michael and Delores Padgen and their son, Thomas, with whom they were acquainted. Mr. and Mrs. Padgen gave defendant and Quick paper towels that defendant had ordered about three weeks previously. Defendant drank an Old Style beer and a shot of CC. He had a conversation with the Padgens about a play that he and Quick had tickets to see that evening at the Candlelight Theater. Quick handed Thomas, who was bartending, the three glasses she had taken from the Coffee And bar which she told him to keep, although he had indicated that the glasses were not from M & D's. Defendant and Quick later picked up Quick's car at Ed's Grill and went to the Brookfield Motel. Defendant cancelled their theater reservations and placed a call to his brother, Richard, and Francine Bejda.

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