Jury acquits man in near record time

Frank Callahan

GENEVA - In what likely was one of the speediest verdicts in Kane County Circuit Court history, jurors took 17 minutes to acquit a St. Charles man accused of robbing a Batavia liquor store.

The defendant, Eric Todd Evanoff, 34, of 1835 S. Seventh Ave. was found innocent of armed robbery. He had faced a maximum 30 years in prison if convicted.

The charge stemmed from the march 1989 holdup of River Square Wine and Liquors at 80 N. Island

Ave. in Batavia.

It is virtually unheard of for juries to resolve a case so quickly, said defense attorney David Camic of Aurora.

Jurors in the past have reached verdicts in less than 15 minutes, according to Kane County state's attorneys. But such cases are rare. Juries commonly deliberate for several hours before deciding criminal cases. In complex cases, the deliberations can take days.

In Evanoff's case, jurors speedily cleared the defendant because they were unconvinced by the testimony of a liquor store clerk who identified Evanoff as the gunmean, Camic said. The clerk claimed to have recognized Evanoff by the sound of the defendant's voice.

"In cross examination, we were able to point out that what he was using for identification was what he heard, not what he saw," Camic said.