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COMMONWEALTH v. SHORTER (04/23/69)

decided: April 23, 1969.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
SHORTER, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Philadelphia County, March T., 1965, No. 1464, in case of Commonwealth v. Benjamin Shorter.

COUNSEL

Edmund Pawelec, with him Samuel M. Lehrer, for appellant.

Edward G. Rendell, Assistant District Attorney, with him Lewis P. Mitrano and James D. Crawford, Assistant District Attorneys, 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. Justice Eagen.

Author: Eagen

[ 434 Pa. Page 161]

The appellant, Benjamin Shorter, was convicted by a jury in Philadelphia County of voluntary manslaughter. Motions in arrest of judgment or a new trial were dismissed, and a sentence of imprisonment was imposed. Shorter appeals from the judgment.

[ 434 Pa. Page 162]

The only evidence at trial was offered by the Commonwealth. This evidence, which consisted of the testimony of Shorter's son, two police officers and a medical officer, disclosed the following facts:

Shorter lived in a third floor apartment with Sarah J. Davis to whom he was not married. On Saturday, February 20, 1965, Shorter gave Sarah Davis some money to go shopping for groceries. She did not return until Sunday, February 21st. When she returned, Sarah Davis was in an intoxicated condition and had not purchased the groceries. An argument ensued during which Shorter pushed Sarah Davis and slapped her on the face "six or eight" times with his open hand causing her to fall to the floor. In the process, she hit her head on a stove. Because she was unable to rise, Shorter and his son, who was present during the occurrence, lifted her from the floor and placed her upon a bed. She was bleeding from the nose. Shorter's son, who lived on the first floor of the same building, left his father's apartment about twenty minutes later.

On Monday morning, February 22nd, Shorter's son approached his father's apartment to inquire as to Sarah Davis' health. Shorter was standing in the doorway; as he stood in the hallway outside Shorter's apartment, the son heard Sarah Davis say from inside the apartment that she felt all right.

On Wednesday and Thursday, February 24th and 25th, Shorter stayed in his son's apartment.

On Friday, February 26th, Shorter returned to his son's apartment and told his son that Sarah Davis was dead and asked his son to walk with him to the police station, because "I'm going to turn myself in."

When Shorter arrived at the police station, he told an officer in charge that he wanted to turn himself in. When asked why, ...


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