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COMMONWEALTH v. BUZARD (11/13/50)

November 13, 1950

COMMONWEALTH
v.
BUZARD, APPELLANT



Appeal, No. 156, March T., 1950, from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Jefferson County, April T., 1950, No. 1, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. R. L. Buzard, also known as Lawrence Buzard. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Vincent M. Casey, with him Casey, Power & Savage and Lavelle A. Wilson, for appellant.

William A. Sykes, District Attorney, with him George H. Kurtz and John E. Aikman, for appellee.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.

Author: Stearne

[ 365 Pa. Page 513]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE

R. Lawrence Buzard, the defendant, was convicted of murder in the second degree in the Court of Oyer & Terminer of Jefferson County. He has appealed to this Court.

The victim, Waldo Ditty, and defendant were in disagreement concerning the payment of a lumber bill of about $31.00 which defendant alleged that the victim had not paid. On the evening of September 13, 1949, the victim, 52 years of age, a small man of about 5 feet 4 inches, and weighing between 128 and 134 pounds, was met on the street in the Borough of Corsica by defendant, 59 years old, a large husky man, 6 feet tall and weighing about 175 pounds. Defendant asked the victim about the payment of the alleged indebtedness. The victim denied that he owed defendant any money, stating that lumber had been delivered to defendant by the victim in payment of the bill. The defendant then said that he would sue the victim. Defendant

[ 365 Pa. Page 514]

    alleges that the victim laughed aloud, whereupon defendant said "If I thought that you were laughing at me I would knock you ears off." Defendant testified that his feelings were hurt by the laughter. He alleges that the victim, having crossed the street, returned and struck at defendant, knocking his glasses partly off his face. Defendant testified that he then replaced the glasses and struck the victim. (No witness observed this alleged occurrence). The victim fled. Defendant pursued him for about 15 feet. What happened thereafter is stated by Commonwealth witnesses and is summarized by the court below as follows: "William Love: 'It looked to me like he (the defendant) grabbed him (the deceased) by the neck; threw him down, jumped on top of him and started hitting him on both sides of the head. After Buzard hit him once he sort of went limp. You could hear the blows hit,' and that 'the defendant struck the deceased's head five or six times.'

"Thomas Armagost: 'That defendant hit the deceased on the head five or six times; that Buzard was hitting with piston-like blows with one hand and then with the other hand; that the blows sounded like a thud or something; after the kick the deceased scooted out on his face'.

"Dean Henry: 'That he saw the defendant strike the deceased on the head and face six to eight blows; that the defendant was swinging violently at the other fellow's head. That deceased's head went back and forth between blows. That the defendant did not strike the deceased more than two blows and kicked him once after Mr. Riggs had told the defendant to stop.'"

The court accurately stated in its opinion refusing a new trial: "... disinterested Commonwealth witnesses testified to having seen the defendant pursue the deceased, ...


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