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COMMONWEALTH v. ROGOZINSKI (12/29/56)

December 29, 1956

COMMONWEALTH
v.
ROGOZINSKI, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 9, May T., 1957, from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of York County, Apr. T., 1955, No. 60, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Lawrence F. Rogozinski. Judgment affirmed. Indictment charging defendant with murder. Before SHERWOOD, J. Verdict of guilty of first degree murder with penalty fixed at life imprisonment and judgment of sentence entered thereon. Defendant appealed.

COUNSEL

James E. Buckingham, with him Donald T. Puckett, for appellant.

George W. Atkins, District Attorney, with him Nevin Stetler, First Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

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

Author: Arnold

[ 387 Pa. Page 400]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ARNOLD

Defendant appeals from judgment of sentence upon a jury's verdict finding him guilty of murder in the first degree with recommendation of life imprisonment.

Decedent was employed by his son in a gas station operated by him in Dillsburg, York County. At about 5:15 P.M. on April 23, 1955, the son left decedent alone

[ 387 Pa. Page 401]

    in the station and proceeded to his home to eat supper. At approximately 5:40 P.M. he received a telephone call from his father and returned to the station within two minutes. Arriving at the station he observed his father standing at a doorway wiping blood from his face; that "His right eye was protruding out of his head"; that blood was coming from the back of his head; that there was blood in various parts of the station; that a jack handle, normally kept some distance away, was found near a pool of blood in another part of the room; and that all money had been taken from the cash register. In the course of his examination he also testified that upon arriving he "Immediately ... saw he [decedent] was beaten up" and that decedent told him "he was robbed."

Commonwealth's testimony established that decedent had suffered fractures of both the front and back of his skull, and that his death was caused by traumatic damage to the brain. Its testimony also was to the effect that the injury could have been caused by a blunt instrument.

It was further established that defendant was in the station at approximately 5:00 P.M. and until 5:30 P.M., at which time the witnesses left decedent and defendant alone in the station. Additionally, it was shown that at approximately 6:30 P.M. defendant was within a twenty-minute walk from the station, and at 6:48 P.M. within one-half mile of the station. Thereafter defendant hitch-hicked to Harrisburg, thence to Lewistown and to Mount Union, where he was apprehended four days later.

Defendant first denied, but later admitted, being in the station and that he took the money from the register. He denied striking the decedent, declaring that as ...


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