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November 12, 1957


Appeals, Nos. 10-13, Feb. T., 1958, from judgments of Court of Quarter Sessions of Lackawanna County, Oct. T., 1955, No. 330, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Joseph Bartell et al. Judgments affirmed.


Hugh J. McMenamin, with him J. Charles Hanahue, James E. O'Brien, Warren, Hill Henkelman & McMenamin and Kennedy, O'Brien & O'Brien, for appellants.

Carlon M. O'Malley, District Attorney, with him William J. Kearney, First Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

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

[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 532]


These appeals by defendants, Joseph Bartell, Philip Brady, John Durkin, and Anthony Bonacuse are from judgments of sentence of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Lackawanna County. Defendants were indicted for conspiracy "to unlawfully, wilfully, wantonly, and maliciously damage and destroy and cause to be damaged and destroyed a certain partially built and constructed building and structure then and there situate at Number 1045 North Main Avenue, in the City of Scranton." The prosecution arose out of the dynamiting of the dwelling which was being constructed by nonunion labor.

Defendants were tried and convicted by a jury. Their motions in arrest of judgment and for a new trial were denied, whereupon sentences were imposed.

[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 533]

Defendants, with the exception of Durkin, were officials of building trades unions in the Scranton area. Durkin was an officer of Local No. 229 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs and Helpers. All defendants were members of the Scranton Building Trades Council. The Scranton Building Trades Council is an affiliation of twenty-six unions including the Teamsters' Union. Defendants were also connected with other labor organizations. A previous trial resulted in a jury disagreement.

These facts were established by the jury's verdict: In January, 1954, Edward Pozusek, a building contractor from Luzerne County, contracted to erect in Scranton a dwelling for Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Ruby. Construction was started in April, 1954. On the first day, while excavating the cellar, defendant Bonacuse appeared and inquired of Pozusek whether he was conducting a union job. Pozusek replied that he was not, whereupon Bonacuse said: "I'd really advise you to get into the union or you'll have plenty of trouble around here." Before leaving Bonacuse stated that he would return. On April 28, 1954, Bonacuse, accompanied by defendants Bartell and Brady, called upon Pozusek again. The three defendants demanded to know whether Pozusek "was union." Bartell then questioned the right of Pozusek to build a home in the Scranton area and told him to go back to Wilkes-Barre where he belonged. When Pozusek refused to be intimidated, Bartell stated: "You don't know the first ... thing about trouble, ... Why, we'll give you so ... much trouble over here you'll get out of Scranton with ulcers." The three defendants then conferred and departed. The next day, April 29, 1954, Bartell, Brady, and Bonacuse went to Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, to see Paul Bradshaw who was employed in the construction of the United States Army Signal Corps Depot, and who was

[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 534]

    also a steward in the Teamsters' Union. Before these three defendants arrived, Bradshaw had talked by telephone to the defendant Durkin who told Bradshaw that Bartell and Brady were on their way to see Bradshaw and "some of the boys." Durkin instructed Bradshaw to go along with whatever they wanted. Bartell and Brady spoke to Bradshaw and one Joseph Malloy about a "wise-guy" contractor who was building a nonunion house in Scranton, and who had to be taught a lesson. Meanwhile, Bonacuse had crossed the road to talk to a steward of his union. Bartell told Bradshaw and Malloy they wanted the foundation walls knocked out and the joists cut so that the building would collapse under weight. Brady told Bradshaw to get in touch with another teamster, Robert Hubshman, who apparently had knowledge of the proposed destruction of the Ruby house. Bradshaw and Malloy recruited another member of the Teamsters' Union, George Murphy, to help carry out the instructions. That same evening Bradshaw, Hubshman, Malloy, and Murphy met in Scranton with defendants Bartell and Brady and discussed the plan to damage the Ruby property. Bradshaw, Hubshman, Malloy, and Murphy then went to the Ruby premises. They decided that they could not do an effective job with saws and crowbars. They concluded to use dynamite. Thereupon they proceeded to Jessup, Pennsylvania, where they contacted William Munley, a member of the Teamsters' Union, and enlisted his aid as a dynamiter. The following day, April 30, 1954, Bradshaw, Hubshman, and Malloy talked with defendant Bartell about the use of dynamite; Bartell told them to use only saws to cut the joists and to knock out the foundation. Bartell furnished the saws. That night Bradshaw, Hubshman, Malloy, and Murphy went to Jessup to pick up Munley and the detonator. They all returned to Scranton and dynamited the Ruby house.

[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 535]

Bartell then paid them $100 which they divided; he expressed disapproval of the use of explosives but told the men to keep quiet.

Bradshaw was subsequently arrested, indicted, and convicted of feloniously dynamiting the Ruby property. The Scranton Building Trades Council provided counsel for Bradshaw. About two weeks prior to Bradshaw's trial in January, 1955, defendant Durkin visited Bradshaw at his home and told him that if he would take the "rap" and keep quiet his family would be taken care of. Durkin assured Bradshaw that his jury would be fixed. Before his trial Bartell also talked to Bradshaw and told him that he should keep quiet and that everything would be all right. On the Saturday preceding Bradshaw's trial, three of the present defendants, Bartell, Brady, and Durkin met with Bradshaw and his trial counsel and conferred about the defense; Bradshaw was given $100 to pay to one of his witnesses.

After Bradshaw had been convicted, Brady also told Bradshaw to "take the rap," and promised Bradshaw that his wife would be given $150 to $200 a week as long as he was in jail. Bradshaw became dissatisfied with the failure of the union officers to keep their promises, and, on May 31, 1955, he gave a statement to a Scranton newspaper reporter directly implicating the dynamiters, Hubshman, Malloy, and Munley. The present defendants were not mentioned in the statement. Hubshman, Malloy, Murphy, and Munley were subsequently indicted and entered pleas of guilty to the charge of feloniously using dynamite at the Ruby premises; they were sentenced to prison. On June 10, 1955, Bradshaw gave a second statement to the newspaper reporter in which the present defendants were implicated. Following a grand jury investigation they were indicted for criminal conspiracy.

[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 536]

Defendants question the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain their convictions. The facts as we have summarized them clearly demonstrate the role of each of the defendants in the conspiracy. All of them did not participate in every step of the plan, but each played ...

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