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COMMONWEALTH v. JOHNSON (04/16/63)

April 16, 1963

COMMONWEALTH
v.
JOHNSON, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 287, March T., 1962, from judgment of sentence of the Court of Oyer and Terminer and General Jail Delivery of Allegheny County, Dec. T., 1961, No. 67 O. & T., in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Allen Johnson. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Robert X. Medonis, for appellant.

Martin Lubow, Assistant District Attorney, with him George Ross, Assistant District Attorney, and Edward C. Boyle, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Eagen

[ 410 Pa. Page 606]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN

The defendant, Allen Johnson, was indicted and tried for the murder of Howard "Bubbie" Washington. The jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree and fixed the penalty at death. A motion for a new trial was denied and sentence was passed in Act of February 15, 1870, P.L. 15, 19 P.S. § 1186, we this appeal was taken. In compliance with the Act of February 15, 1870, P.L. 15, 19 P.L. § 1186, we have carefully reviewed both the law and the evidence and are of the opinion that the ingredients of murder in the first degree were proven to exist beyond a reasonable doubt.

[ 410 Pa. Page 607]

The factual background was as follows:

About 4:40 a.m. o'clock on November 8, 1961, the defendant and the deceased engaged in a fight in the S. & S. Club in the Hill District of the City of Pittsburgh. The versions were conflicting as to which individual was the aggressor. The police were called and a radio cruise car was dispatched to the scene. Upon arrival, the police questioned the defendant as to the identity of the other person or persons involved, but he refused to disclose any such information.

The police took the defendant to the hospital where he was given emergency treatment, requiring five sutures to close an existing wound in the skull area above the left eye and six sutures to close another wound on the inner surface of the lip. A one per cent concentration of the drug procaine was injected to alleviate the pain. X-rays were taken which proved negative as to skull injury. He was discharged from the hospital and requested to return on a later date in order that the sutures might be removed.

Sometime between five and seven a.m. o'clock of the same day, the defendant phoned the son of the owner of the Ringside Bar, where Washington was employed as a bartender, and told him he was going "to get" Washington and others for having "ganged me". About six-fifty a.m. o'clock of the same morning, he accosted the owner of the Ringside Bar and told him, "I'm going to get your bartender, Bubbie Washington." Sometime between seven and eight o'clock a.m., he boarded a jitney and asked the driver if he knew anyone who had a pistol, and said that he wanted to buy one. He then waited an hour for a pawnshop to open, where he purchased a 22 caliber rifle about nine-fifteen a.m. ...


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