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COMMONWEALTH v. DICKERSON (01/02/62)

January 2, 1962

COMMONWEALTH
v.
DICKERSON, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 304, Jan. T., 1961, from judgment of sentence of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Philadelphia County, Sept. T., 1958, No. 742, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Murray Dickerson. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Walter Stein, with him Berger and Stein, for appellant.

Arlen Specter, Assistant District Attorney, with him Burton Satzberg, Assistant District Attorney, Paul M. Chalfin, First Assistant District Attorney, and James C. Crumlish, Jr., District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen and Alpern, JJ.

Author: Eagen

[ 406 Pa. Page 103]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN

The defendant was tried and convicted of murder in the first degree. The jury fixed the penalty at life imprisonment. From the judgment of conviction and sentence, defendant appeals.

It is first urged that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction. In evaluating the merit of this question, the evidence must be read in a light most favorable to the Commonwealth: Commonwealth v. Scoleri, 399 Pa. 110, 160 A.2d 215 (1960); Commonwealth v. DeMoss, 401 Pa. 395, 165 A.2d 14 (1960).

The record discloses the following proof: On August 15, 1958, at about 11:15 p.m. o'clock, Thomas Duffey was found dead in the incinerator room of Harrison

[ 406 Pa. Page 104]

Plaza, a housing project in the city of Philadelphia, where he was employed as a guard. He had been shot four times, and his face manifested multiple bruises and abrasions. A woman, working in the laundry room of the building, hearing a noise like an explosion came out into the corridor and, as she approached the incinerator room, a man ran out, struck her in the face and ran from the building.

On August 19, the investigating police officers arrested one Spencer Broaddus, who admitted his own participation in the crime and also implicated the defendant.*fn1 On the same day, the defendant voluntarily surrendered to the police. Upon being questioned, he at first denied any knowledge of or part in the crime and, specifically, denied being upon the scene of the killing with Broaddus or anyone else. The written statement of Broaddus previously given to the police was then read to him. Therein, inter alia, Broaddus said that, on the occasion involved, he and the defendant entered the Harrison Plaza building to avoid the rain; they entered the elevator and ascended to the thirteenth floor to examine the surroundings; they descended to the first floor level and began walking aimlessly around; Broaddus heard his companion, the defendant, cursing at someone; he entered a small room to ascertain what it was all about; therein, he saw the defendant, and a guard (the victim) who was then in the act of drawing a gun from his holster; the defendant hit the guard knocking his hat and glasses ...


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