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COMMONWEALTH v. GORDON (10/03/68)

decided: October 3, 1968.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
GORDON, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer, Quarter Sessions and General Jail Delivery of Allegheny County, Sept. T., 1966, No. 15, in case of Commonwealth v. Garfield Gordon.

COUNSEL

A. C. Troiano, with him Daniel T. Zamos, for appellant.

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

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

Author: Eagen

[ 431 Pa. Page 515]

Garfield Gordon was convicted by a jury of murder in the first degree and the punishment was fixed at life imprisonment. Post-trial motions were denied and sentence imposed as the jury directed. Gordon appeals from the judgment. The sufficiency of the evidence is unquestioned, but it is urged that several trial errors constituted a denial of due process of law.

On July 8, 1966, at about 11 a.m., a retail jewelry shop located on the second floor of the Plaza Building in downtown Pittsburgh was held up by two armed robbers. The operator of the establishment exchanged gunfire with the felons and was fatally shot. Gordon and two others were arrested and charged with robbery and murder.*fn1

The first and principal assignment of error concerns the admission of certain evidence at trial.

The pertinent facts may be summarized as follows:

Immediately after the crime, police officers recovered on the scene, inter alia, a rubber face mask, fragments of glass from a broken showcase and a paper bag containing adhesive tape. The mask contained strands of hair and the paper bag was bloodstained.

At about noon on July 8th, one hour after the crime, Gordon appeared with William Murray*fn2 at the home of Gordon's brother. Gordon was seriously wounded and bleeding. Shortly thereafter, he was taken to his mother's home. At about 4:20 p.m., police officers arrived there, took him into custody and arranged for his immediate transfer by ambulance to the Allegheny General Hospital.

Upon his arrival and while in the emergency room, a sample of his blood was taken ...


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