Appeal, No. 206, March T., 1958, from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Armstrong County, June T., 1958, No. 1, in case of Commonwealth v. John C. Markle, Jr. Judgment affirmed.
Edward J. Steiner, for appellant.
Harry A. Heilman, Jr., District Attorney, with him James D. McClister, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones and Cohen, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL.
John Clarence Markle, Jr. pleaded guilty to an indictment
charging him with the murder of his wife. The trial judges after hearing evidence on behalf of the Commonwealth and the defendant, pursuant to the Act of 1939, P.L. 872, Section 701, 18 PS § 4701 adjudged him guilty of murder in the first degree and fixed the penalty at life imprisonment. Markle has appealed contending that the degree of guilt could not under the evidence rise to a higher degree than second degree murder. The judgment and sentence imposed by the court below must be affirmed.
Markle, 39 years of age, shortly after 11:00 P.M. on February 7, 1958 returned to his home after having consumed (according to his testimony) eight to twelve glasses of beer. There was no evidence or even a contention that he was drunk or intoxicated. He entered the front door of his home and walked into the living room where his wife, Ruth Markle, aged 37 years, was watching television. According to his son Jack Markle, aged 15 years, he walked over to his wife's chair and picked up a cup of coffee which was on the arm of the chair. His wife grabbed back the cup and the coffee spilled on the floor.*fn1
Mrs. Markle then said to the appellant, "I thought you were going to leave" and he replied, "I am", and went upstairs.
Jack Markle heard his father open a drawer in an upstairs bedroom and fumble with some shotgun shells. Markle then got a 12 gauge Stevens shotgun from a closet. He came downstairs. His son Jack had gone into the other half of the double house to tell the owner, Charles Leidy, that his father was going to shoot his ...