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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. LIGHT v. MARONEY. (01/07/64)

January 7, 1964

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. LIGHT, APPELLANT,
v.
MARONEY.



Appeal, No. 120, Jan. T., 1963, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Adams County, Aug. T., 1962, No. 136 1/2, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Francis N. Light v. James F. Maroney, Superintendent. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Francis N. Light, appellant, in propria persona.

Daniel E. Teeter, District Attorney, for appellee.

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

Author: Eagen

[ 413 Pa. Page 255]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN

On September 10, 1958, Francis N. Light, the appellant, was tried and convicted by a jury of second degree murder and subsequently sentenced by the trial court to an indefinite term of imprisonment, the minimum being fixed at ten years and the maximum at twenty years. No appeal from the judgment was taken.

On July 17, 1961, appellant filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which after answer filed, the lower court dismissed without hearing. The legal correctness of this order is challenged by this appeal.

Late on the night of July 7, 1958, the dead body of appellant's wife was found in the trunk of an automobile standing in a parking lot adjacent to a diner. The appellant was located and taken into custody on July 8th. When questioned by the police, he said, inter alia, that he and his wife had engaged in a quarrel during which she pulled a paring knife and tried to stab him;

[ 413 Pa. Page 256]

    that he parried the blow, deflecting the knife, which accidently cut an artery on the inside of the thigh of her left leg; that from the loss of blood, she later collapsed and died without receiving medical attention.

On the same day, July 8th, he was taken before a justice of the peace. A warrant issued immediately on an information, wherein he was charged with "unlawfully, maliciously and feloniously" killing his wife. No preliminary hearing was held. The appellant was remanded to jail, and the investigation of the circumstances of the death continued. The entry of bail was not offered or release requested.

On July 12th, the appellant voluntarily submitted to a polygraphic examination, during which he then admitted having previously lied to the police concerning the occurrence of his wife's death. He then stated that he had ...


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