and that some warnings were contained in that unsigned statement.
Rocco Urella, formerly Lieutenant of the Pennsylvania State Police and now Chief of Criminal Investigation for Delaware County, testified concerning the investigation of the Leake homicide and the questioning of Stokes. He testified that Stokes was advised at the outset and was aware that he had been arrested because of the assault on Leake and that Stokes knew that Leake was dead before any statement was taken. Urella testified further that Stokes was advised of his right to remain silent and his right to have the services of counsel and that Stokes refused to see either members of his family or counsel. Urella identified the unsigned transcript of the questions and answers as the questioning conducted by him in the state police barracks before Stokes was taken to the office of the Delaware County district attorney. On the very first page of the transcript of that questioning it appears clearly that Stokes acknowledged that he had been well treated; that he was accorded the opportunity to, but did not desire to see anyone; and that he had been warned that the statement could be used against him. That transcript of the proceedings in the state police barracks corroborated Urella's testimony which I found to be entirely credible.
This testimony was consistent with that given by the attorney, Tomlinson, although Urella was not in the courtroom while Tomlinson testified and they had not discussed the matter before coming into the courtroom. Urella's independent recollection of the events in question impressed me as being clear and accurate.
When Stokes testified in rebuttal he was much more equivocal. He did not directly disagree with anything that either Tomlinson or Urella had said. He indicated only that he did not remember being given any warnings and that he had never seen the unsigned transcript of the questioning at the state police barracks. He also changed his story somewhat to agree with Urella's testimony, that he had been arrested because he had "had the fight with Leake." (N.T. 150, Federal Habeas Hearing).
I am satisfied that Stokes was properly warned before he was questioned by the police and that he knowingly answered their questions out of a desire to make a clean breast of things. I accept former Lt. Urella's testimony as more accurate and reliable than relator's concerning the events which took place at the state police barracks. I do not feel that Stokes at any time deliberately lied to me but I do feel that his recollection of events has been somewhat distorted by his desire to have his situation fit into the recent decisions concerning police questioning. Stokes' recollection is simply not as accurate or reliable as Urella's.
I conclude that Stokes was adequately forewarned of his rights before he gave his statements, that the statements were voluntarily given and that his plea of guilty was not induced by any unlawfully obtained statement and the petition for writ of habeas corpus will be denied.
The Court acknowledges with grateful appreciation the services of Goncer M. Krestal, Esquire, who has represented relator at the request of the Court, without compensation.