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COMMONWEALTH v. SOUDANI (11/11/59)

November 11, 1959

COMMONWEALTH
v.
SOUDANI, APPELLANT



Appeal, No. 320, Oct. T., 1959, from judgments of Court of Quarter Sessions of Clearfield County, Nov. T., 1958, No. 84, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Sami H. Soudani. Judgments affirmed.

COUNSEL

Marjorie Hanson Matson, for appellant.

Eugene G. Kitko, Assistant District Attorney, with him Joseph S. Ammerman, District Attorney, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (gunther, J., absent).

Author: Hirt

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 629]

OPINION BY HIRT, J.

The defendant was convicted of aggravated assault and battery, and of assault with intent to kill, both offenses arising from the same circumstances. The lesser penalty imposed for the misdemeanor was made

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 630]

    to run concurrently with the sentence for the felony. This is the defendant's appeal from the judgments of sentence imposed.

In the light of the verdict these facts may be taken as established. The defendant and Alice E. French were married on May 20, 1948, somewhat more than one year after he first came to the United States. He was a native of Jordan in the Middle East and is a Moslem; she was born here and is a Christian Protestant. Differences in religion and in their nationalistic background had some effect, but there were other causes which led to the final separation on December 6, 1958 when she left her husband. During their married life they had lived in Toronto, Canada, in Egypt, on Long Island and in Buffalo, New York. They moved to Clearfield, Pennsylvania, in 1957 where the defendant secured employment in a responsible position with Curtis Wright. At the time of the separation the family were living in a house which the defendant had purchased when they moved to Clearfield. There were two children born to the marriage. The defendant, to harass his wife, had ordered a discontinuance of all utilities serving the house, including telephone, water and electric service. This was the immediate reason for her leaving the marital home but there were other and more serious causes leading to the final separation. He had, over a long period, subjected her to physical abuse. She testified that because of his brutal treatment a third child was still-born on February 11, 1958. She had grounds for divorce; on this record, he did not. And he wanted a divorce because of his interest in another woman. When his wife refused "to give" him a divorce the defendant threatened to kill her. He, according to her testimony, was abusive daily, and she left him because she was afraid of him.

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 631]

In an action brought by her, the defendant agreed to an order of $250 per month for her support and the support of their two children. In the order, the court, we assume by agreement also, awarded custody of the children to their mother; the defendant to have the children on Saturdays and Sundays and on every Wednesday from 6:00 to 7:45 p.m. On Wednesday, December 24, 1958, the defendant drove his car to the apartment house where his wife lived. He appeared at 6:00 o'clock p.m. precisely, and Mrs. Soudani, who was expecting him, delivered the children to him. When the children went out to his automobile the defendant returned to the apartment door with Christmas presents for the children. He was able to induce his wife to open the door, which she had locked, on the pretext that he wanted the presents put under the Christmas tree. His wife testified: that he had a carton, containing two boxes with Christmas wrapping, under one arm and that he came up the three steps to the entrance to her apartment so quickly that she was unable to close the door behind her; that there was a "flash of light" from a "round and shiny" object "like a hammer" in his other hand with which he, without warning, struck her on the side of her head; a second blow on the head knocked her to her knees on the porch steps; there the defendant struck her again and again; she was found almost immediately thereafter by a neighbor, a Mrs. Lloyd, who lived in the same building and who had heard the scuffling ...


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