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COMMONWEALTH v. LOWRY (06/26/53)

June 26, 1953

COMMONWEALTH
v.
LOWRY, APPELLANT



Appeal, No. 92, Jan. T., 1953, from judgment and sentence of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Bucks County, Dec. T., 1950, No. 55, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Walter John Lowry. Judgment and sentence affirmed; reargument refused August 22, 1953.

COUNSEL

Harry R. Back, with him Back & Levy, for appellant.

Willard S. Curtin, District Attorney, with him Donald W. VanArtsdalen, First Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 374 Pa. Page 596]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL

Was the defendant, the driver of the alleged getaway car, properly convicted of first degree murder?

On the evening of May 19, 1950, at approximately 9:15 p.m., Chapasco and Pearson went to the Safe Food Market in Bristol Township for the purpose of committing a robbery, lurked behind a building, and being discovered, seized the owner and two employees of the market, lined them up along the wall of the building, struck and knocked them to the ground. Pearson shot and killed Sklar while he was lying on the ground; Chapasco misfired and dropped his gun. They ran from the scene to the front of the building on Bristol Pike, jumped into Chapasco's car, which was driven by the defendant who lived in and was familiar with that neighborhood, and he drove them with his lights out, rapidly away toward Philadelphia. Prior to the holdup, he had been seen frequently in the vicinity of the market.

The evidence of the defendant's participation in the robbery and subsequent murder was entirely circumstantial and consisted of the following evidence which defendant contends is inadequate to convict him of first degree murder or of any criminal offense.

Irrespective of defendant's evidence (in this case he did not take the witness stand), "[after] a plea or

[ 374 Pa. Page 597]

    verdict of guilty, 'we accept as true all of the Commonwealth's evidence upon which, if believed, the jury could have properly based its verdict: Com. v. Blanchard, 345 Pa. 289, 296, 26 A.2d 303, 306....' Commonwealth v. Logan, 361 Pa. 186, 192 supra [and numerous cases cited therein]": Com. v. Phillips, 372 Pa. 223, 227, 93 A.2d 455.

Pearson and Chapasco were convicted of first degree murder. After being informed that Pearson had confessed, defendant, a few hours later, wrote out in long-hand the following statement in the police station. There is no contention ...


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