Appeal from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Erie County, No. 1234 of 1967, in case of Commonwealth v. Royall Collins.
Robert H. Chase and James D. McDonald, Jr., for appellant.
Richard D. Agresti, Assistant District Attorney, with him William E. Pfadt, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Mr. Chief Justice Bell, Mr. Justice Eagen, Mr. Justice Roberts, and Mr. Justice Pomeroy concur in the result.
This is an appeal by Royall Collins from the judgment of sentence of the Court of Oyer and Terminer of Erie County. Appellant, after a trial by jury, was found guilty of second degree murder, and after denial of his post-trial motions, was sentenced to a term of ten to twenty years imprisonment.
The facts are set forth in the opinion of the court below:
"On the evening of April 26, 1967, Norman W. Stanyard, Jr., age 16, who had run away from home and had only been in Erie for a few days, met three negro youths in the home of Charlie Porter, who at that time lived at 139 West 19 Street in the City of Erie. These boys were subsequently identified as the defendant, Melvin Carr and Eddie Seawright. They later left the home and drove away in an automobile owned by Collins and at that time operated by him. According to the defendant they dropped Stanyard off at the corner of 18th and Parade Streets, and did not see him again that night. Stanyard, on the other hand, testified that one of them asked him while they were still at Porter's house if he wanted to make some money. He was also
shown a gun, which was later given to him, and the robbery of the Spur Gas Station was discussed. He stated that they went directly to the Spur Gas Station at 16th and Parade Streets, that the car was parked in an alley, that he and one of the three boys got out of the car, but that he alone went to the station where he robbed the attendant. Upon leaving he gave the proceeds of the robbery to one of the boys and they ran back to the automobile where the other two were sitting, and drove off.
"Following this incident they drove around and discussed perpetrating another robbery. During their travels they checked several bars, but finally decided on Steve's Diner at 16th and State Streets. When they drove past this restaurant they directed Stanyard to lie on the floor. He was then told to go in, that there wasn't anyone there but an old lady, and to ask for the 'big money in the box under the counter'.
"Stanyard and one other boy alighted from the car while the other two remained in the automobile with the motor running. Stanyard then entered the lunch room alone. He saw a lady going down the cellar steps and at the same time the deceased came out of a back room. Stanyard pointed the gun at him and asked him for his money. Fytikas ducked behind the counter, [and] Stanyard, thinking he was going for a gun, fired, striking him, and he died a short time later.
"According to Stanyard his three companions fled in the automobile while he attempted to get back to Porter's house on foot. He was accosted by a police officer in the vicinity of the Holiday Inn, a short distance from the scene of the shooting. Stanyard pointed the gun at the police officer and escaped, only to be apprehended a few hours later. Counsel was appointed for him and ...