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COMMONWEALTH v. PRESSEL (09/13/62)

September 13, 1962

COMMONWEALTH
v.
PRESSEL, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 8, March T., 1963, from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer and General Jail Delivery of York County, April T., 1959, No. 26-A, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Francis Pressel. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

J. Edward Pawlick, for appellant.

John T. Miller, First Assistant District Attorney, with him Daniel W. Shoemaker, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ.

Author: Wright

[ 199 Pa. Super. Page 18]

OPINION BY WRIGHT, J.

Francis Pressel was indicted in the Court of Quarter Sessions of York County on charges of burglary, larceny and receiving stolen goods. At the first trial a demurrer was sustained as to the charge of receiving stolen goods, and the jury returned a verdict of guilty on the charges of burglary and larceny. Following the imposition of sentence, an appeal was taken and this court granted a new trial on the ground that the trial judge erred in refusing one of appellant's points for charge: Commonwealth v. Pressel, 194 Pa. Superior Ct. 367, 168 A.2d 779. At the second trial Pressel was again convicted of burglary and larceny. Motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment were overruled, and sentence was imposed. This appeal followed.

The sole question raised by appellant's present counsel is thus stated: "Was the testimony sufficient to sustain the verdict?" When a defendant in a criminal case challenges the sufficiency of the evidence produced to convict him, the appellate court must view the evidence in the light most advantageous to the Commonwealth, in whose favor the jury's verdict resolved all controverted factual questions and the reasonable inferences to be taken from the testimony: Commonwealth v. Ballow, 171 Pa. Superior Ct. 54, 90 A.2d 363. See also Commonwealth v. Butler, 189 Pa. Superior Ct. 399, 150 A.2d 172; Commonwealth v. Anderson, 191 Pa. Superior Ct. 213, 156 A.2d 624. It will be necessary to briefly summarize the trial record.

In the early morning of October 15, 1958, there was a burglary at the Luckenbaugh Garage, 231 North Main Street, in Spring Grove, York County. It was the theory of the Commonwealth that this burglary was committed by three young men, namely, Ervin E. Billet, Jack Treadway, and Francis Pressel, this appellant. The proprietor of the garage, who lived at

[ 199 Pa. Super. Page 19221]

North Main Street, with no building intervening, was awakened by the burglar alarm. He was able to see three persons moving about in the garage service department, illuminated by night lights, but could not identify them. He called the chief of Police of Spring Grove, Joseph Rutter, since deceased. He then dressed, went to the garage, and found a 1958 Chevrolet automobile missing, also several spot lights and a pair of tires. Donald A. Young, who lived directly across the street from the garage, observed Officer Rutter's car approaching and the 1958 Chevrolet backing out of the garage with two occupants. Mr. Young rushed out to assist the officer, got in the officer's car, and he and the officer started in pursuit of the 1958 Chevrolet. As they pulled away, Young noticed a 1949 Ford coming from the side of the garage. This Ford followed along behind the Rutter car. The license number of the Ford was MO-2801, later shown to have been issued to Francis Pressel, the appellant. Having failed to catch the Chevrolet, Rutter flagged down the Ford, which had only one occupant. Young observed three spot lights on the back seat. When Rutter reached in to grab the ignition key, the occupant accelerated the motor and pulled away. Rutter and Young followed, but again lost the car.

The witnesses for the Commonwealth, in addition to Luckenbaugh and Young, were Billet and Treadway, who had pleaded guilty and had been sentenced. Billet testified that the burglary was planned with Treadway and Pressel, that the three of them went to the garage in Pressel's Ford car with Pressel driving, that Pressel parked his car at the side of the garage and all three entered, that two tires were put in the Chevrolet automobile and three spot lights were put in Pressel's Ford, that as he and Treadway ...


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