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COMMONWEALTH v. PALERMO (06/27/51)

June 27, 1951

COMMONWEALTH
v.
PALERMO, APPELLANT



Appeal, No. 86, March T., 1951, from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Beaver County, Sept. T., 1950, No. 19, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Joseph Richard Palermo. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Thompson Bradshaw, with him Oran W. Panner, James B. Ceris, Ruggero J. Aldisert and Bradshaw & Panner, for appellant.

J. Wilmer Martin, First Assistant District Attorney, with him William Coghlan, District Attorney, for appellee.

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

Author: Ladner

[ 368 Pa. Page 29]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE LADNER

On July 15, 1950, Camille Colodanato died as a result of gunshot wounds inflicted by the defendant, Joseph Palermo, who was his brother-in-law. Defendant was charged with murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. The jury returned a verdict of guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Motions in arrest of judgment and for a new trial were denied by the court below and defendant was sentenced four to twelve years in the Western State Penitentiary. Defendant appeals.

The first contention of the appellant is that the evidence produced by the Commonwealth does not support

[ 368 Pa. Page 30]

    a conviction of voluntary manslaughter. Saturday morning, July 15, 1950, the defendant went ground-hog hunting. He armed himself with a shotgun and a revolver. When he returned in the afternoon he sat on the front porch of his home, situate on Beaver Road, Monaca, Beaver County. The home of the deceased Camille Colodanato, who was married to the defendant's sister Virginia, was across the street. Between five and six o'clock in the afternoon defendant was sitting on the porch eating his supper when his sister was heard crying in her home on the opposite side of Beaver Road. The defendant threw his dishes out in the front yard, went inside his house, came out and went over to the Colodanato home. Various witnesses for the Commonwealth testified that they heard the sounds of fighting in the Colodanato home and about ten minutes later a shot.

Defendant came out of the Colodanato house and said, "I know I will get the electric chair for this but, by God, he had it coming to him." The police arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and the defendant came to the police car, placed his revolver on the seat and said, "I shot a man, Chief, there is the gun." Later on the way to the office of the magistrate the defendant said, "I didn't mean to, but I shot him like a dog." The Commonwealth also produced evidence that during the altercation in the Colodanato home the firing pin of the revolver struck one cartridge which was not discharged before it fired the fatal bullet.

It is true that defendant and his witnesses testified in such a manner that the jury could have found that the killing was in self-defense or accidental during the fight which occurred. However, the jury refused to accept this version of the ...


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