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COMMONWEALTH v. BRESLIN ET AL. (11/17/60)

November 17, 1960

COMMONWEALTH
v.
BRESLIN ET AL., APPELLANTS.



Appeals, Nos. 228 to 233, inclusive, 235, and 236, Oct. T., 1960, from judgments and sentences of Court of Quarter Sessions of Lycoming County, May T., 1959, Nos. 146 to 150, inclusive, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Hugh Francis Breslin, Jr. et al. Judgments and sentences affirmed.

COUNSEL

David Kanner, for appellants.

Harry C. Fithian, Jr., Second Assistant District Attorney, with him Paul W. Reeder, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Montgomery

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 85]

OPINION BY MONTGOMERY, J.

These appeals are from judgments of sentences imposed by the Quarter Sessions Court of Lycoming County on verdicts of guilty found by a jury on the joint trial of the four appellants on five indictments.

At No. 146 May Sessions 1959, the four appellants were charged jointly with conspiracy to burglarize, burglary, larceny, and receiving stolen goods in connection with the residence and property of E.B. McCuaig in Muncy, Pa. Verdicts of guilty were returned on the conspiracy and receiving stolen goods charges but not guilty on the burglary and larceny charges. Since motions for arrest of judgment were granted as to Stocker and Laverty on the charge of receiving stolen goods, only the guilty verdict on the conspiracy charge remained against them. All other motions for arrest of judgment and for new trials were refused.

At 147, 148, 149, and 150 May Sessions 1959, each defendant was separately charged with conspiracy to burglarize, burglary, possessing burglary tools, and receiving stolen goods in connection with the residence and property of Dr. Paul Seibert in Muncy, Pa. (an adjoining neighbor of McCuaig) and of the house and dairy office of Clyde O. Mosteller, who operated the

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 86]

Mosteller dairy in Williamsport. The jury returned identical verdicts as to each, viz., guilty on the conspiracy, possessing burglary tools, and receiving stolen goods charges, but not guilty on the burglary and larceny charges. Motions for the arrest of judgments on these verdicts or for new trials were refused and sentences of imprisonment were imposed.

Summarizing the above results, we have judgments against all four appellants for conspiracy to burglarize the residence of McCuaig, Seibert, and Mosteller, for possessing burglary tools, and receiving stolen goods from Seibert and Mosteller. In addition, Breslin and Burkowski have judgments against them for receiving stolen goods of McCuaig.

These appeals raise three questions: (a) sufficiency of the evidence, (b) propriety of a joint trial, where alleged prejudicial error was committed by the unrestricted admission of incompetent testimony; and (c) prejudicial errors by reason of (1) the violation of an order of sequestration of witnesses, (2) newspaper accounts of the trial, and (3) the court's charge.

The facts as established by the verdicts appear as follows:

On July 4, 1959, between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m., Laverty and Stocker arrived at the City View Motel, south of Williamsport, in a black 1959 Ford sedan. They represented themselves as brothers to the manager and were being shown room 10a when Breslin and Burkowski arrived in an Oldsmobile and approached them near 10a. Upon inquiry by the manager, he received an affirmative answer that all were together. He, thereupon, assigned them adjoining rooms 5a and 6a. Laverty paid for both rooms, and shortly thereafter was seen in the company of Burkowski going to a restaurant nearby. The whereabouts of the defendants were not shown from then until the

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 87]

    police raided their rooms the next morning, at about 5:30 or 6:00 o'clock. The motel and the Ford and Oldsmobile automobiles had been watched from 2:30 a.m. on, during which time the ...


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