Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Habeas Corpus Docket No. 5, Page 58 Dec. T., 1964, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Harry B. White v. David N. Myers, Superintendent.
Harry B. White, appellant, in propria persona.
Clarence C. Newcomer, First Assistant District Attorney, and Wilson Bucher, District Attorney, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell. Mr. Justice Cohen dissents.
This is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus by a defendant who was convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Petitioner alleges that (1) on November 23, 1959, while intoxicated and extremely angry, he shot and wounded his estranged wife; (2) he then turned himself in to the State Police and made and signed a statement that he shot his wife.
Petitioner was subsequently charged with assault and battery with intent to kill. Before this indictment could be tried, petitioner's wife died -- he alleged as a result of bronchial pneumonia. On December 21, 1959, he was indicted for murder and, as above mentioned, found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.*fn*
The record shows that soon after the shooting of his wife, petitioner went to Ulrich's Cafe in Ephrata, Lancaster County, and told the bartender that he had shot his wife and asked him to call the State Police. The bartender testified at the trial of petitioner for murder that at the time of the aforesaid conversation defendant "seemed sober to me." On that same evening, viz., the evening of the shooting, petitioner admits that he freely told trooper Harold Yost -- after he had been warned that he did not have to make a statement and that anything he said might be used against him -- that he shot his wife and that he made the statement of his own free will. It is difficult to imagine a case where a confession was so spontaneous. His contentions will be disposed of hereinafter.
In Commonwealth ex rel. Storch v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 55, 204 A.2d 263, the Court said (page 59): ". . . When a judgment of conviction is attacked collaterally in habeas corpus, the complaining party has the burden of clearly establishing the facts which would justify the conclusion of lack of due process which he asserts. See, Commonwealth ex rel. Edwards v. Myers, 405 Pa. 190, 175 A.2d 70 (1961), cert. denied, 369 U.S. 840 (1962); Commonwealth ex rel. McCray v. Rundle, 415 Pa. 65, 202 A.2d 303 (1964); and Moore v. Michigan, 355 U.S. 155 (1957)."
Petitioner contends that he was deprived of due process because he had no ...