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COMMONWEALTH v. PIPER (03/20/57)

March 20, 1957

COMMONWEALTH
v.
PIPER, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 192, April T., 1956, from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer and General Jail Delivery of Allegheny County, Feb. T., 1956, No. 106, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Charles E. Piper. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

,J. E. Birsic, with him Eugene F. Scanlon and Cauley & Birsic, for appellant.

William Claney Smith, Assistant District Attorney, with him Samuel Strauss, Assistant District Attorney, and Edward C. Boyle, District Attorney, for appellee.

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

Author: Woodside

[ 183 Pa. Super. Page 230]

OPINION BY WOODSIDE, J.

Charles E. Piper was convicted by a jury of involuntary manslaughter, a charge which grew out of an automobile collision between his vehicle being driven by Mrs. Dorothy Powell, and another vehicle in which the deceased was a passenger. He has appealed from the judgment of sentence imposed after the court below dismissed his motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment.

[ 183 Pa. Super. Page 231]

Both the defendant and Mrs. Powell were indicted, and the two cases were listed for trial together, but after the jury was drawn and prior to its being sworn, Mrs. Powell entered a plea of guilty. The trial then proceeded against defendant Piper with Mrs. Powell testifying as a Commonwealth witness.

It is the contention of the defendant that the Commonwealth did not prove (1) that he had "committed an unlawful act which would naturally and probably result in death or great bodily harm," and (2) "that the unlawful act was the proximate cause of the resultant death."

From the Commonwealth's evidence the jury could have found the following facts:

On December 28, 1955, at approximately 6 P.M., while Mrs. Powell was in a beer garden on Third Avenue in the city of McKeesport, she met Piper, who bought her a glass of beer. She then left and went to another beer garden in McKeesport, where the defendant again met her. There they spent approximately an hour, Mrs. Powell drinking beer and Piper drinking beer and whiskey. From there Piper took Mrs. Powell in his car and went to a tavern in Pittsburgh, at the corner of Forbes and Brady Streets. After spending some time in that tavern, they left together and went to Piper's car for the purpose of driving to some other tavern. Piper was staggering. When they got to his car, he told Mrs. Powell to drive it. She told him that she had never driven a car and did not know how to drive, and did not have an ...


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