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COMMONWEALTH v. YOUNT (06/27/69)

decided: June 27, 1969.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
YOUNT, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer and General Jail Delivery of Clearfield County, May T., 1966, No. 2, in case of Commonwealth v. Jon E. Yount.

COUNSEL

Homer W. King, with him Francis V. Sabino, for appellant.

John K. Reilly, Jr., District Attorney, with him Ervin S. Fennell, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Bell, C.j., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Cohen concurs in the result. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Mr. Justice Pomeroy joins in this opinion. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell.

Author: Roberts

[ 435 Pa. Page 277]

On April 28, 1966, the body of an 18 year old high school student, was found in a wooded area near her home in Luthersburg, Pennsylvania. Except for one stocking which was tied around the deceased's neck and one sneaker which was found under the victim, the body was fully clothed, although the skirt was swirled around the body in a way as to suggest that the body had rolled down a hill. An autopsy revealed that death was caused by strangulation resulting from blood drawn into the victim's lungs from wounds on the deceased's throat and neck. The autopsy also revealed numerous wounds about the girl's head, apparently caused by a blunt instrument. Although there was blood over much of the deceased's clothing, the amount of blood on the undergarments of the girl was less than on her outer clothing, and the examining physician testified that all the blood came from the wounds on the deceased's head and neck.

The physician performing the autopsy testified that the body revealed no indication that the victim had been sexually assaulted. Her undergarments, consisting of underpants over which was a garter belt, were

[ 435 Pa. Page 278]

    intact and apparently undisturbed, and appeared to not be dirty despite the fact that the body was found in an area that was covered with mud and wet leaves. There was no sign of injury or damage in the victim's genital area, nor was there any irritation in the vaginal tract. Subsequent photographs revealed bruises on the front of the deceased's thighs which the examining physician described at trial as "minute." Examination disclosed that the victim's hymen was intact.

Essentially as a matter of routine, the physician then performed a vaginal aspiration. The results disclosed a quantity of largely disintegrated spermatozoa in the vagina of the deceased.

Early on the morning of April 29, 1966, appellant, a teacher at the high school which the deceased attended appeared at the State Police Substation in DuBois, Pennsylvania, and stated that "I am the man you are looking for." When asked by a policeman whether he was referring to "the incident in Luthersburg," appellant replied affirmatively.

At this point, appellant was invited to sit down and was given something to eat. One of the officers then began questioning appellant, asking him "How did you kill that girl?" According to the officer, appellant replied "I struck her with a wrench and I choked her." The officer here gave appellant warnings which the Commonwealth concedes did not include appellant's right to free counsel if he could not afford his own attorney. The conference recommenced and appellant gave his first confession. Later appellant was questioned by the district attorney, who again failed to tell appellant ...


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