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COMMONWEALTH v. SZUKICS (06/14/68)

decided: June 14, 1968.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
SZUKICS, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Lehigh County, Jan. T., 1966, No. 94, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Leslie Szukics.

COUNSEL

W. Hamlin Neely, for appellant.

Wallace C. Worth, Jr., First Assistant District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Hannum

[ 212 Pa. Super. Page 519]

This is the defendant's appeal following a conviction of forgery.

On September 27, 1965, attorney Robert Kleckner, late of the Lehigh County Bar, was found dead in his office by his secretary. The death was unattended and therefore the Allentown Police were summoned and they commenced an investigation relative to the unattended death of Mr. Kleckner, as is the practice in Lehigh County. Later that day the defendant, Leslie Szukics, appeared at the Office of the Recorder of Deeds of Lehigh County with a deed conveying premises, 224 North Ninth Street, Allentown, and 1617 Hamilton Street in the City of Allentown, from Attorney Kleckner and his wife to the defendant.

Further, during the course of the investigation it was discovered that Mrs. Kleckner never signed any such deed although a signature purporting to be hers was on the deed which was in the possession of the Recorder of Deeds of Lehigh County. It was later discovered that this deed was prepared at the instance of the defendant by a Mrs. Margaret Toth.

The defendant had also taken the same deed to the office of Paul Delong, a notary public, in order to have an affidavit affixed thereto and told the notary that the signatures on the deed were those of both attorney Robert Kleckner and his wife.

During the course of the investigation the Allentown Police secured from the wife of the defendant a deed to another property which had previously been conveyed to the defendant by Mr. and Mrs. Kleckner.

Sergeant James D. King, who qualified as an expert in the field of handwriting, testified that in fact the

[ 212 Pa. Super. Page 520]

    signatures on the deed which the defendant tried to record on the date of Mr. Kleckner's death had, in fact, been traced from the bona fide deed whereby Mr. and Mrs. Kleckner had conveyed other property to the defendant. The signatures were declared to be forgeries by the Sergeant.

Subsequently the defendant was arrested and charged with the crime of forgery and the case went to trial before President Judge Kenneth H. Koch on June 15, 1966, and the jury returned a ...


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