Appeal, No. 74, March T., 1961, from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer and General Jail Delivery of Allegheny County, March T., 1959, No. 121, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Charles Ross. Judgment affirmed.
H. David Rothman, with him Louis I. Schwartz, for appellant.
William Claney Smith, Assistant District Attorney, with him George H. Ross, Assistant District Attorney, and Edward . Boyle, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES.
Charles Ross, James Houlahan and Leo Chester*fn1 were indicted by the grand jury of Allegheny County for the murder of Harold Walker. Ross, tried before Judge J. FRANK GRAFF and a jury, was convicted of first degree murder with the penalty fixed at life imprisonment. Motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment were denied by the court below and judgment of sentence imposed. From that judgment this appeal was taken.
Midmorning on January 24, 1959, Harold Walker was found dead lying in bed in his room at 1104 Sheffield Street, Pittsburgh. The cause of death was shock following contusions of his head, neck, face back and chest together with multiple fractures of the ribs, injuries which the Commonwealth established were "caused by repeated blows upon the various parts of Walker's body."
At approximately 7:30 p.m. on January 23, 1959, the evening which preceded Walker's death, Alfred Tschudi, a fellow-boarder of Walker, observed Ross and another man on the stairway steps in Walker's boarding house and one of the men stated they were going to see a party named Stiles. Upon being informed no such person lived in that house, Ross and his companion left the premises. Tschudi then also left the house and returned approximately 25 minutes later. Upon Tschudi's return, he noticed Ross' companion at Walker's bedroom door placing a handkerchief on his face and Ross at the door to the bathroom in the upper hall. Tschudi went to his own room and, while there, heard things being thrown about in Walker's apartment. Tschudi directed the attention of Mrs. Kramer, the housekeeper on the premises, to this disturbance. Mrs. Kramer went to Walker's room and, as she pushed open the door she was pulled into the room. Tschudi then saw Ross coming from Walker's kitchen; upon Ross observing him, Ross chased him, threatening to shoot him, and then left the premises.*fn2
Mrs. Kramer testified that, in the early evening of January 23rd, she saw Houlahan at the foot of the hall stairway and two other men on the stairway and noticed that Ross departed at the same time as Tschudi. Later in the evening, having been alerted by Tschudi, she went to Walker's room and, as she pushed open the door, Houlahan pulled her into the room and threw her on Walker's bed. The only persons then in the bedroom were Walker, Houlahan and Mrs. Kramer. Walker was bound hands and feet and lying flat on the bed. Houlahan left the room and, "immediately" thereafter, Walker told her "[they] tried to kill me" and "[they] wanted more money". A doctor was summoned
and gave Walker medical attention. Walker refused the doctor's suggestion that he be hospitalized. Mrs. Kramer stated that "Everything [in the bedroom] was disrupted and all the drawers and things were emptied on the bed. The same way, everything in the kitchen torn up."
After the alleged assault, a neighbor of Walker stayed with him until approximately 2 a.m. No one else saw Walker until Mrs. Kramer found him dead in his bed approximately eight and one-half hours later.
Nine days after Walker's death, Ross was apprehended at the home of a Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hoffman, 4626 Kincaid Street, Pittsburgh, the arrest taking place at two o'clock in the afternoon. Five and one-half hours later, while in police custody, Ross signed a written ...