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COMMONWEALTH v. RUSSIN (07/17/52)

July 17, 1952

COMMONWEALTH
v.
RUSSIN



COUNSEL

J. Campbell Brandon, Brandon, Millar & Duffy, Butler, for appellant.

Clark H. Painter, Dist. Atty. Butler, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.

Author: Reno

[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 268]

RENO, Judge.

Appellant was involved in a fist fight with the deceased Steve Hosack in the latter's apartment and subsequently indicted and convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 269]

His demurrer to the evidence and motion for dismissal for want of sufficient evidence to sustain the charge were overruled by the trial judge. Motions in arrest of judgment under the Act of June 15, 1951, P.L. 585, 19 P.S. § 871, and for a new trial were refused. He was sentenced to pay the costs of prosecution and undergo imprisonment in the county jail for 3 months. This appeal followed.

The only eye witnesses to the altercation were the victim's wife and appellant. Their testimony, although conflicting, together with the rest of the Commonwealth's evidence, clearly indicate deceased suffered a severe and brutal beating at appellant's hands. As we view the case the only question on this appeal is whether the testimony is sufficient to support the verdict.

Appellant previously worked with Steve Hosack at the Armco Steel Company before the latter retired. Hosack and his wife for the last few years were employed as caretakers at the St. John's Greek Orthodox Church. Hosack was 74 years old when he died and in poor physical condition. On the other hand his assailant was a robust man 51 years old weighing 205 pounds.

From the Commonwealth's evidence the jury could have found the following facts: On March 29, 1951, appellant visited the Hosacks in their apartment, and soon left and returned in a short time with some port wine. Mrs. Hosack testified he appeared to have been drinking. Appellant and Steve Hosack each had a glass of port and appellant 'entertained' the Hosacks with his singing. When he poured Steve a second drink Mrs. Hosack protested whereupon appellant grabbed the husband, threw him to the floor, kicked him and dragged him from the kitchen to the living room while continuing to beat him about the face. When Mrs. Hosack attempted to push appellant away he grabbed her by the arms and threw her on the couch. Appellant

[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 270]

    threatened to kill Steve if he didn't get up and then picked him up and threw him on the couch. Several neighbors in the apartment house testified they heard the singing and commotion as well as appellant's threats to kill. Upon going to the Hosack apartment they saw deceased on the couch, in a semi-conscious condition, with his face swollen and bloody. Appellant, his face red with anger and his shirt off, was standing over Steve, and as he turned on the neighbors, Mrs. Hosack managed ...


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