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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. RAYMOND v. RUNDLE (09/26/67)

decided: September 26, 1967.

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. RAYMOND, APPELLANT,
v.
RUNDLE



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1964, No. 4490, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Albert Raymond v. Alfred T. Rundle, Superintendent.

COUNSEL

Cecil B. Moore, for appellant.

Stanley M. Shingles, Assistant District Attorney, with him Alan J. Davis, Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for appellee.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Mr. Justice Cohen took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Eagen

[ 427 Pa. Page 315]

On May 11, 1961, the appellant, Albert Raymond, was convicted by a jury in Philadelphia County of murder in the first degree and punishment was fixed at death. Following denial of post-trial motions and imposition of sentence in the court below, an appeal was prosecuted in this Court. We affirmed the judgment on October 9, 1963. See 412 Pa. 194, 194 A.2d 150 (1963). On June 22, 1964, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari. See 377 U.S. 999 (1964), rehearing denied, 379 U.S. 873 (1964).

In November 1964, Raymond instituted an action in habeas corpus in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County which was dismissed without hearing.*fn1 An appeal challenging the correctness of that order is now before us.

Raymond was convicted of killing William Powell, a Philadelphia City policeman. The Commonwealth contended that at the time Powell, while in plain clothes, was engaged in the investigation of vice, and Raymond, unaware of his identity, enticed him to leave a bar and go to a nearby house for the purpose of robbing him. A fight ensued, during which Powell was fatally shot.

At trial in order to establish plan, motive and design, the Commonwealth, during its case in chief, offered evidence to show that exactly one week before the Powell killing, Raymond had lured another individual,

[ 427 Pa. Page 316]

Osyp Sudomlak, from a bar to the same house, under similar circumstances, where he assaulted and robbed him. In his own trial testimony, Raymond unequivocally denied any involvement in the Sudomlak crime. On cross-examination he was asked, inter alia, if he had not previously admitted to John Bright, an agent of the parole board of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, that he had assaulted and robbed a retired bartender (Sudomlak fitted this description). Raymond replied, "Mr. Bright is a damn liar if he says I did say it."

In rebuttal, the Commonwealth offered Bright as a witness, who testified that he had interviewed Raymond in the Philadelphia county prison and Raymond told him about robbing and assaulting a retired bartender about one week before the Powell killing.

When this interview took place, Raymond was already under indictment for the Powell killing and had retained counsel to defend him. It is also clear that Bright was sent to see Raymond by an assistant district attorney and a captain of the Philadelphia Police ...


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