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COMMONWEALTH v. METZ (09/29/58)

September 29, 1958

COMMONWEALTH
v.
METZ, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 57, March T., 1958, from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Allegheny County, June T., 1956, No. 42, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Roy James Metz. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Roy T. Clunk, for appellant.

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

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

Author: Cohen

[ 393 Pa. Page 629]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN

The defendant, Roy James Metz, was arraigned upon an indictment charging him with the murder of his wife, Elizabeth, to which indictment he pleaded not guilty.*fn1 The trial which followed was entirely free from prejudicial error and the case was submitted to the jury after proper instructions by the trial judge. The jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree and recommended the penalty of life imprisonment.

[ 393 Pa. Page 630]

When motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment were refused, the defendant took this appeal from the judgment of sentence.

The sole specification of error is that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence because it is based upon testimony which is contradicted by incontrovertible physical facts.

The Commonwealth's theory of the case may be summarized briefly: The defendant's intense jealousy and mistreatment of his wife led her to file a surety of the peace charge against the defendant and to seek a divorce. When, following their estrangement, Mrs. Metz refused defendant's demands to discontinue the divorce action and to resume living with him, the defendant determined to kill her. To establish the deliberate killing by the defendant, the Commonwealth called three eyewitnesses. We quote with approval from the learned trial judge's abstract of their testimony. "... [Two disinterested witnesses] passed the defendant's first floor apartment, which fronts on the street, at the time of the shooting, and observed what occurred. ... They impressed the trial judge as being thoroughly honest, reliable, and careful witnesses. From their testimony, it is clear that, at the time of the shooting, Elizabeth Jean Metz was crouching or kneeling against the radiator, with her head down on her arms, facing the window; that the defendant was standing directly in back of her and over her; and that the defendant discharged the gun along the left side of the head of Mrs. Metz.

"The testimony of Joyce Metz, the fourteen-year old daughter of Mrs. Metz by a former marriage, fits in with the testimony of these two disinterested witnesses. The defendant had pushed Mrs. Metz towards ...


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