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COMMONWEALTH v. WHITING (01/08/63)

January 8, 1963

COMMONWEALTH
v.
WHITING, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 259, Jan. T., 1958, from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer and General Jail Delivery of Montgomery County, June T., 1956, No. 110, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Charles Edward Whiting. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Daniel E. Beren, for appellant.

George C. Corson, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, with him Vincent A. Cirillo, Assistant District Attorney, and Harold W. Spencer, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Keim, JJ.

Author: Eagen

[ 409 Pa. Page 493]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN

The defendant, Charles Edward Whiting, was convicted by a jury of murder in the first degree, and sentenced to life imprisonment. From the judgment of conviction and sentence, this appeal is prosecuted.

The first assignment of error concerns the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain the conviction, and

[ 409 Pa. Page 494]

    whether or not the defendant was entitled to have the judgment arrested after verdict. In evaluating the merit of the question, the testimony must be read in a light most favorable to the Commonwealth. Commonwealth v. Deyell, 399 Pa. 563, 160 A.2d 448 (1960). On appeal, we must accept as true all of the Commonwealth's evidence upon which, if believed, the jury could have properly based its verdict, Commonwealth v. Kravitz, 400 Pa. 198, 161 A.2d 861 (1960). The test of the sufficiency of the evidence, irrespective of whether it is direct or circumstantial, is whether accepting as true all of the evidence upon which, if believed, the jury could properly have based its verdict, it is sufficient in law to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged: Commonwealth v. Kravitz, supra; Commonwealth v. Hart, 403 Pa. 652, 170 A.2d 850 (1961).

The testimony read in this light may be briefly summarized as follows:

Juan Otero operated a tailor shop at 56 East Spring Avenue, Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and lived in a small connecting apartment to the rear thereof. Shortly after 9:15 p.m. o'clock on June 14, 1956, Mrs. Isabel Strickland, who lived in an apartment above, heard sounds of a quarrel, scuffling and screams emanating from the apartment connected with the tailor shop below. She went to her bedroom window overlooking a rear entrance leading from the tailor shop premises to an alley, and saw a colored man, whom she did not recognize, start out of the Otero apartment and then immediately re-enter. It was dark and she could not see his face. Within seconds, the same individual came out again. He was dressed in a light "T" shirt, dark trousers, light baseball cap, and carried a paper clothing bag. Immediately alerting neighbors, together with Mrs. Strickland, they hurried to the Otero premises and saw Juan Otero lying on the floor of the kitchen

[ 409 Pa. Page 495]

    in a pool of blood. No one else was on the premises. Mrs. Strickland called the police at exactly 9:28 p.m. They arrived within minutes and found the victim dead as a result of six stab wounds in his body. Otero had been seen alive by another ...


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