Appeal from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions and Oyer and Terminer of Philadelphia County, May T., 1967, No. 2011, in case of Commonwealth v. Freddie Moses Johnson.
Philip Bagdon, for appellant.
Walter W. Cohen, Assistant District Attorney, with him James D. Crawford, Assistant District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.
Appellant, Freddie Moses Johnson, was found guilty by a jury of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. A Court en banc denied appellant's motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment. An appeal from the judgment of sentence was then taken to this Court.
During the mid-afternoon of March 20, 1967, two masked men entered a pawn shop located at 1137 South
Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, robbed the proprietors of a sum of money and killed Samuel First, one of the co-owners. Stanley Braxton, an eyewitness to the escape of the two masked men, notified the police about five or six days after the killing that he recognized both felons. As a result of the information obtained from Braxton and his identification of appellant from photographs and at a police line-up, appellant was arrested and charged with the murder of First. The other felon whom Braxton identified only as "Sam" has not been found.
Appellant's only contention on this appeal is that the trial Judge erred in not charging the jury that where identification testimony is concerned it must be received with caution. He took no exception to the Court's charge. He urges that failure to so charge was prejudicial and reversible error because without the identification testimony, the circumstantial evidence was insufficient to prove defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Judge Bradley, the trial Judge, contrary to appellant's contention, adequately and ably covered this point. He charged:
"I have discussed credibility generally, but identification testimony presents some special problems of credibility.
"If under your understanding of the testimony, the identification witness did not have a good opportunity to observe the alleged criminal because, for example, of such things as lighting conditions, the number of persons in the vicinity, the witnesses' emotional state at the time, or the amount of time he had to make the identification, or if his identification testimony here in court was at variance with prior identification statements made by him, or was weakened by cross-examination, then such ...