Appeal from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Philadelphia County, March T., 1963, No. 1350, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Myer D. Thomas.
David N. Savitt, with him John Patrick Walsh, for appellant.
Alan J. Davis, Assistant District Attorney, with him Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Jones and Mr. Justice Eagen join in this concurring opinion.
Defendant was indicted for robbery and murder; a jury found him guilty of murder in the first degree, with penalty fixed at life imprisonment. Defendant filed a motion in arrest of judgment and for a new trial, both of which were denied. The questions for decision are: (1) Did the evidence in favor of the Commonwealth prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant was guilty of murder, and (2) was there any reversible trial error?
In Commonwealth v. Gockley, 411 Pa. 437, 192 A.2d 693, the Court aptly said: "The law is well established that in considering the appeal of a defendant after a verdict or plea of guilty, the test of the sufficiency of the evidence is whether accepting as true all the evidence upon which, if believed, the jury could have properly based its verdict, such evidence is sufficient in law to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged." Accord:
and was told by defendant that he intended to rob the Whalen household. Gilmore further testified that they then separated but that some time later he saw defendant coming out of the Whalen household carrying a small metal box -- later identified as the box containing the money stolen from the Whalens -- and defendant told him he had knocked a lady down.
Dr. Axel K. Olsen, a Philadelphia Neurosurgeon, supervised the treatment of the deceased upon her admittance to Hahnemann Hospital. He testified that she had a contusion in her left forehead and in the right-back of the skull, accompanied by severe hemorrhaging. Dr. J. T. Weston, of the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office, performed a post-mortem examination on the deceased and testified that the phenomena described by Dr. Olsen were attributable to trauma and that this trauma and resulting contusions of the head had the effect of impeding the circulatory musculature, and were the underlying causes of death.
Defendant's Motion in Arrest of Judgment
Defendant-appellant does not dispute any of the findings as to his identity as the robber, or the findings as to the aforesaid medical facts, or that they were the cause of death. Indeed, defendant's counsel did not even cross-examine the State's key witnesses on these points. What defendant does contend is that since there was no testimony (a) showing that he struck the decedent, or (b) that his actions in and during the robbery caused her to suffer the injuries which ...