Vincent M. Casey, Casey, Power & Savage, and George Langfitt, all of Pittsburgh, for appellant.
William S. Rahauser, Dist. Atty., Leo J. Kelly, Jr., Asst. Dist. Atty., Pittsburgh, for appellee.
Before Hirt, Acting P. J., and Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.
[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 153]
Five defendants -- Louis Palarino, Paul Madden, Danny Vranick, Eddie Stanks and Malcolm Epstein -- were jointly indicted for the armed robbery of one Bernard Kessler. Epstein entered a plea of guilty and became the Commonwealth's chief witness. Vranick was confined in a hospital and therefore was not tried. Palarino, Madden and Stanks, appellants herein, stood trial and were found guilty. Motions for a new trial were refused. Subsequently Epstein, upon whose testimony
[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 154]
the Commonwealth had relied most strongly (although there was some corroborating evidence), recanted, asserting that he had testified falsely against the appellants. Rules were thereupon granted upon the District Attorney to show cause why a reargument should not be allowed upon the motions for new trial. The proceeding was treated as if a reargument had actually been granted, and both sides were given a full hearing. The motions were again refused.
The circumstances of Epstein's recantation are as follows. Shortly after the conviction of appellants he was admitted to bail in the sum of $7500. Approximately two months later he disappeared and could not be located. During his absence the District Attorney and counsel for appellants received similar letters substantially as follows:
'This is to certify that the statements below are true and I am making same without any threat or promises.
'Paul Madden, Eddie Stanks, Robert Stoughton and Louis Palarino are innocent of all charges ...