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COMMONWEALTH v. FLEX (04/12/67)

decided: April 12, 1967.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
FLEX, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgments of Court of Quarter Sessions of Allegheny County, Dec. T., 1964, Nos. 578, 579, and 580, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Emido Donald Flex.

COUNSEL

James A. Ashton, for appellant.

Edwin J. Martin, Assistant District Attorney, with him Charles B. Watkins, Assistant District Attorney, and Robert W. Duggan, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, and Spaulding, JJ. Opinion by Jacobs, J.

Author: Jacobs

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 483]

Emido Donald Flex appeals from judgments of sentence imposed after his conviction by a jury of charges of blackmail, conspiracy to blackmail and carrying a concealed deadly weapon. On the blackmail and conspiracy charges the appellant was indicted jointly with

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 484]

    one Albert Zeid. Zeid was also indicted on two counts of violating the Uniform Firearms Act. The appellant and Zeid were tried together on all charges after appellant's motion for a severance was refused. Following his conviction on all counts the appellant requested a new trial which was refused.

Excluding the testimony elicited by the Commonwealth on cross-examination of its own witnesses since such testimony is for impeachment only, the evidence before the jury showed the following: Paul Keyes and Ralph Krivanek, the alleged victims of the blackmail, were car salesmen in Pittsburgh. In the early fall of 1964 they made two trips to Las Vegas, Nevada. They returned from the second trip owing more than $12,000 to two gambling establishments, the Thunderbird and Tropicana hotels. On October 17, 1964, the day after their return from the second trip to Las Vegas, they were approached at a Pittsburgh bar by appellant, his co-defendant, Zeid, and a third man. Keyes and Krivanek had never met any of the three before. Appellant, Zeid and the third man confronted Keyes and Krivanek with the fact that they owed money in Las Vegas and asked if they intended to pay the debt. Appellant and his two friends then indicated they might "help" Keyes and Krivanek pay the debt since they had some contacts in Las Vegas. At about 1 a.m. (the conversation began sometime after 10 p.m.) Keyes drove 15 miles to his home with Flex, picked up $2,000 in cash which he gave to Flex, and then returned to the bar. There was no receipt for the money, no arrangement as to which debt it would be applied to, and no indication the money was ever sent to Las Vegas. A second meeting was arranged for the following Tuesday, October 20th, to which meeting Krivanek was told to bring as much money as possible. After appellant, Zeid and the third man left, Keyes and Krivanek attempted to reach Lt. DeRoy, a Pittsburgh police officer

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 485]

    they knew. They were unsuccessful and went home about 3 or 4 a.m., but reached Lt. DeRoy later that day. On October 18th Keyes signed and swore to a criminal information charging Zeid, appellant and a third person with blackmail of himself and Ralph Krivanek and conspiracy to commit an unlawful act, i.e., blackmail.

At the second meeting, by pre-arrangement with the police, Keyes and Krivanek passed to appellant $2,000 in marked bills which Krivanek had procured. Upon leaving the bar where the money was passed police apprehended appellant and Zeid. The $2,000 and a switchblade knife were found on appellant; a loaded revolver was found on Zeid. The arrests were made outside the bar. As appellant was standing there, Keyes rushed out of the bar and attempted to get at or attack Flex and had to be restrained by the police.

Blackmail is defined by Section 801 of The Penal Code of 1939, which states, in part: "Whoever by means of . . . oral communications, intimidates, or levies blackmail, or extorts money, property or other valuable thing from any person or by such means attempts to intimidate, annoy, or levy blackmail, or extort money, property or other valuable thing from any ...


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