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COMMONWEALTH v. THOMPSON (04/18/55)

April 18, 1955

COMMONWEALTH
v.
THOMPSON, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 84, March T., 1955, from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Beaver County, Dec. T., 1954, No. 1, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Elijah Thompson, Jr. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Everett Y. Calvin, with him John J. Hudacsek, Jr., for appellant.

Richard P. Steward, District Attorney, with him J. Leonard Solomon, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

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

Author: Arnold

[ 381 Pa. Page 300]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ARNOLD

Defendant pleaded guilty on an indictment for murder. After hearing and consideration of the evidence the court below adjudged him to be guilty of murder in the first degree and fixed the penalty at death. Neither at the trial nor on this appeal has defendant questioned that he is guilty of murder in the first degree.

[ 381 Pa. Page 301]

Defendant's sole contention is that he proved such mitigating circumstances as to prevent the imposition of a penalty greater than life imprisonment. More particularly, he contends that the court erred in disregarding the force of evidence of intoxication of defendant and in overlooking pertinent facts of his background.

As found by the court below, and fully supported by the evidence, the facts are: On October 25, 1954, at approximately 8:00 A.M., the defendant attempted to rape his victim, a 16 year old neighbor, and when she screamed, he choked her into unconsciousness. He carried her into some bushes, and when she regained consciousness he again choked her until she lost consciousness. She again came to and he caused her to lose her senses by striking the side of her head with a quart size bottle. When she again became conscious, he struck her with a large rock until she was unconscious. Thereupon he went to his home, some 85 feet away, secured a paring knife, and returned to the girl, who was then conscious and sitting up. He "pushed her down, pulled her underpants down to her knees and her dress up to her waist and attempted to have sexual relations with her." The girl "forced him off her and he hit her again on the head with a rock and he stuck the knife in her eye and her throat." Defendant then covered her with leaves and debris and left the scene. All of these facts were determined from a statement made by defendant five days after the occurrence, which were not denied in any way at trial. Defendant, then 22 years of age, married and the father of two children, had known the victim for two or three years and knew that she was accustomed to travel along the path where the crime occurred.

He was apprehended on October 30th, some 5 days later, after the body of the girl was discovered by a

[ 381 Pa. Page 302]

    member of a searching party. That the body had been well concealed by him is evidenced by the fact that this was the second searching party, - each comprised of some 20 persons, ...


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