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June 26, 1950


Appeal, No. 184, Jan. T., 1950, from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Philadelphia County, Feb. T., 1949, No. 763, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Gustav Dorazio. Judgment affirmed; reargument refused August 16, 1950.


Francis T. Anderson, with him Gray, Anderson Schaffer & Rome, for appellant.

John F. Kane, Assistant District Attorney, with him John H. Maurer, District Attorney, for appellee.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones and Bell, JJ.

Author: Stearne

[ 365 Pa. Page 292]


The appellant, Gustav Dorazio, appeals from the judgment and sentence entered against him on a verdict of guilty of murder in the second degree.

On Friday, January 7, 1949, the appellant and Albert Blomeyer, the deceased, were both employes of C. Schmidt & Sons Brewing Company of Philadelphia, employed in different departments. They were members of rival unions, each of which sought to represent the brewery workers. The deceased and two other employes had for some time been circulating a petition seeking an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board to determine Union representation.

At about 9:30 A.M. on the day of the killing the defendant complained to the vice-president of the company that a petition was being circulated by a man named Hornung, that if Hornung were not stopped he (defendant) "was going to let [him] have it." At about 10 A.M. the defendant approached Hornung and threatened him "to lay off taking up this petition, to stop taking it around, and if [he] didn't [defendant] was going

[ 365 Pa. Page 293]

    to send [him] home in an ambulance." Defendant also spoke to another employe, Keehfus, at about 10 A.M., saying, "I just told Hornung I am going to send him to the hospital. You better watch out, I am going to send you home in an undertaker's wagon."

From the Commonwealth's evidence the jury could have found the following facts: shortly after 3 P.M. the victim and several other men went to the Sternewirt, a brewery tap room, where beer is gratuitously served to employes and guests of the brewery. The victim had several beers. He also was securing signatures to a union petition. Morton L. Smith, the business agent for the union to which defendant belonged, was also in the Sternewirt at this time. At about 4 P.M. the victim left the plant in the company of two men, Witt and Amberg, employed in the same department (the fermenting room of the brewhouse) and he was walking between them. As the victim and his companions were walking on a street adjacent to the brewery the defendant was standing alone behind a pillar near the brewery plant. The defendant came from behind the pillar and followed behind the three men. He overtook them and "started swinging" at the victim and struck him. The victim turned, apparently recognized the defendant, and said, "It's Gus Dorazio." In turn the victim started to run down Edward Street back towards the brewery. The defendant followed in close pursuit. As the victim ran up the street he passed Smith, the rival union's agent, who put his hand out, whether or not to stop the victim is not clear. The victim ran into a brewery building known as the brew house; he ran up a flight of steps and passed through a door into a corridor. The Commonwealth's witness stated that neither Blomeyer nor defendant fell as they went up the steps and passed through the door immediately fronting on these steps. Immediately thereafter eye-witnesses observed the victim on the floor of the corridor either "in a crouched

[ 365 Pa. Page 294]

    position" or lying on his left side; the defendant was standing over Blomeyer punching him repeatedly in and about the head and body. Witt, one of the men who had been walking with the deceased had followed the flight and sought to pull defendant away from the victim. The defendant beat Witt, knocked him down several times and struck him until and after he said he had enough. The assistant brew master ran up to stop the defendant and the defendant struck him in the stomach and knocked him across the corridor, down on one knee, momentarily helpless and breathless. Two witnesses testified that defendant struck the victim, while he lay prostrate, at least ten to fifteen times. After this incident the defendant ran or was pursued a short distance by an increasing crowd of Brewery employes to a delicatessen store on Second Street, where he was apprehended and taken into custody by the police.

The victim washed, was taken to a neighborhood hospital and was discharged after a brief course of treatment. The victim became ill a short time later that day, passed into semi-conscious state, was removed from his ...

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