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COMMONWEALTH v. BRADFORD (03/19/63)

March 19, 1963

COMMONWEALTH
v.
BRADFORD, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 329, Oct. T., 1962, from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County, Oct. T., 1958, Nos. 662 and 663, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Joseph Bradford. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Bernard L. Segal, with him Herman I. Pollock, of Defender Association of Philadelphia, for appellant.

Burton Satzberg, Assistant District Attorney, with him Arlen Specter, Assistant District Attorney, F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Jr., First Assistant District Attorney, and James C. Crumlish, Jr., District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Wright

[ 200 Pa. Super. Page 218]

OPINION BY WRIGHT, J.

On October 20, 1958, the grand jury inquiring in and for the County of Philadelphia, returned two bills of indictment against Joseph Bradford. Bill No. 662 charged assault and battery and aggravated assault and battery. Bill No. 663 charged aggravated robbery as proscribed by Section 705 of The Penal Code, Act of June 24, 1939, P.L. 872, 18 P.S. 4705. The first trial on September 13, 1961, before Judge GRIFFITHS, resulted in a verdict of guilty. Motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment were overruled and sentence was imposed. However, a new trial was subsequently granted nunc pro tunc. At the second trial on January 24, 1962, before Judge REIMEL, a juror was withdrawn. At the third trial on February 20, 1962, before Judge BLANC, the jury disagreed. At the fourth trial on March 21, 1962, before Judge CHUDOFF, the jury returned a verdict of guilty. Motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment were overruled, and sentence was imposed on Bill No. 663. This appeal followed.*fn1

The record discloses that, at about 10:00 on the morning of January 28, 1958, a masked man carrying a revolver entered the office of the American Loan Company at 747 South Broad Street in the City of Philadelphia. The only person present in the office was the secretary, Mrs. Antoinette Longo. The intruder told Mrs. Longo to follow his instructions or he would kill her. He took $700.00 in cash and checks belonging to the company, and $70.00 from Mrs. Longo's handbag. He then tied Mrs. Longo to a chair, bound her mouth with a scarf, beat her savagely with a blackjack, and warned her against identifying him. Shortly after the man's departure, the janitor appeared and called the police. Mrs. Longo was taken to a hospital

[ 200 Pa. Super. Page 219]

    where it was found that both sides of her jaw were fractured and she was suffering from severe shock. At approximately 11:15 A.M., Mrs. Longo was questioned by two detectives, at which time she described the intruder as a Negro male, 25 years of age, weighing 150 pounds, wearing a gray coat and navy blue trousers. At 7:00 P.M., Mrs. Longo was interviewed by another detective, to whom she repeated her earlier description and added that the intruder was of medium-brown complexion, five feet four inches in height, that his coat was three-quarter length, and that his mask consisted of a dark blue handkerchief. She also stated that he had a squeaky voice. She told the detective not to bother showing her photographs, since she would not be able to recognize the man because of his mask. Some months after the robbery, Mrs. Longo did examine a number of photographs and selected one of Joseph Bradford as the intruder. On October 14, 1958, Mrs. Longo was taken to the Baltimore House of Correction at Jessup, Maryland, to confront the appellant. While waiting in a hallway she heard appellant speak and immediately recognized his voice. When she saw appellant, she stated unequivocally that he was the man. She positively identified appellant at the trial. Appellant testified in his own behalf, denied that he was the intruder, and introduced evidence that he was in Baltimore on the evening of the robbery.

The first and principal contention raised in the extensive brief of counsel for appellant is that the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict. As pointed out by Mr. Justice (now Chief Justice) BELL in Commonwealth v. Kravitz, 400 Pa. 198, 161 A.2d 861: "The test of the sufficiency of the evidence - irrespective of whether it is direct or circumstantial - is whether accepting as true all the evidence upon which, if believed, the jury could properly have based its verdict, it is sufficient in law to prove beyond a

[ 200 Pa. Super. Page 220]

    reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged". See also Commonwealth v. Ornato, 191 Pa. Superior Ct. 581, 159 A.2d 223, affirmed 400 Pa. 626, 163 A.2d 90. In this connection it should be noted that, while the Commonwealth's case on the issue of identification rested solely on the testimony of Mrs. Longo, a positive unqualified identification by one witness is sufficient for conviction even though other witnesses testify to an ...


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