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COMMONWEALTH v. BEDDICK (01/17/56)

January 17, 1956

COMMONWEALTH
v.
BEDDICK, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 120, April T., 1955, from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Crawford County, Feb. T., 1954, No. 55, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. John Beddick, Jr. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

George J. Barco, with him Paul E. Allen and Barco & Barco, for appellant.

Raymond P. Shafer, District Attorney, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Ross, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, and Ervin, JJ.

Author: Hirt

[ 180 Pa. Super. Page 223]

OPINION BY HIRT, J.

The defendant was convicted of perjury in the giving of false testimony in an action of divorce brought by him in the common pleas of Crawford County. He has appealed from the judgment of sentence.

Barbara Ellen Beddick separated from her husband, the appellant, on June 1953 and, taking their young son with her, went to her parents in Wheeling, West Virginia. Appellant came to Wheeling in July and a reconciliation was effected. He then was employed in Cleveland and in August 1953, at his request, she went to Cleveland and joined him there. They lived in a hotel room for about one week and then, about September 1, moved into a three room apartment at 1822 East 82nd Street in Cleveland. Appellant had signed the lease for the apartment; he also furnished it and he

[ 180 Pa. Super. Page 224]

    paid the rent. As husband and wife they occupied the same bed in the one bedroom in the apartment. After his wife had left him in July appellant brought an action of divorce in Crawford County, and his wife had notice of it in Wheeling. But after the reconciliation he told her to ignore the divorce proceeding; that he was not going through with it and would discontinue the action. It was in reliance on these representations that she went to Cleveland to live with her husband there. Normal marital relations continued in Cleveland until November 7, 1953, when she first learned of the divorce which appellant had obtained in Crawford County by decree entered on October 21, 1953, in the same action brought by him in the previous July. She then left the appellant in Cleveland, taking her son with her, and went back to Crawford County to live.

The hearing in the divorce action was held in the law office of Stuart A. Culbertson, Esq., appellant's then attorney, in Meadville, on September 23, 1953. His wife had no notice of it. At the hearing, notwithstanding the fact that appellant was then living with his wife and son in Cleveland in a family relationship, he testified: (1) "I do not know where she (my wife) now lives or resides, but the last I knew she lived at 1027 Mt. De Chantal, Wheeling, West Virginia." (2) "I learned that she had taken the baby and gone to West Virginia, and she has never come back since and I do not know where she and the boy are." And further in answer to cross-interrogatories put to appellant by the master, he said (3) "I have not lived or cohabited with my wife since May, 1953" and (4) "I do not know where she resides but it is some place around Wheeling, West Virginia and she is trying to hide the boy." These are the alleged perjured statements as laid in the indictment. From the evidence at the trial of the appellant

[ 180 Pa. Super. Page 225]

    on the charge it was clearly established that the above testimony was given by him and that it was false. The question in this appeal is whether the giving of this false ...


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