Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Sept. T., 1966, No. 15, in case of Commonwealth v. William Murray.
Fred E. Baxter, Jr., Assistant Trial Defender, with him George H. Ross, Public Defender, for appellant.
Robert L. Campbell, Assistant District Attorney, with him Carol Mary Los, Assistant District Attorney, and Robert W. Duggan, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen.
About 11 a.m. on July 8, 1966, a retail jewelry store located on the second floor of the Plaza Building in downtown Pittsburgh was held up by two armed robbers. During the holdup, the operator of the store was fatally shot. Later the same afternoon, William Murray and Garfield Gordon were taken into police custody and charged with the murder and robbery. Johnnie Lee Smith was also arrested and charged with driving the automobile in which the felons escaped from the scene. In separate jury trials, all three individuals were convicted of murder in the first degree, and the punishment was fixed at life imprisonment. After posttrial motions were denied and sentences were imposed in accordance with the jurys' verdicts, appeals were filed in this Court. We previously affirmed the convictions and sentences of Gordon and Smith. See Commonwealth v. Gordon, 431 Pa. 512, 246 A.2d 325 (1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 937, 89 S. Ct. 1215 (1969), and Commonwealth v. Smith, 432 Pa. 517, 248 A.2d 24 (1968). The appeal of Murray is presently before us for disposition.
A study of the record readily manifests that the trial evidence was amply sufficient to sustain Murray's conviction, and this is not disputed in this appeal. However, it is urged that certain errors occurred in the course of the prosecution proceedings which require a new trial. We disagree and hence will affirm.
It is first argued that Murray's arrest was illegal in that it was not based on probable cause.*fn1 We first note that this issue was never raised in the court below. Nevertheless, our examination of the record is persuasive that the contention lacks merit.
In pertinent part, the Commonwealth's evidence established the following:
The robbery was committed by two armed men, one of whom was wearing a red shirt. As these two men fled from the Plaza Building immediately following the crime and hurried across the street, one accidentially dropped a loaded automatic revolver in the cartway. A nearby policeman who witnessed this occurrence tried to stop the men for questioning, but they ran to a waiting automobile and fled. Within an hour, Garfield Gordon, wearing a red shirt, and Murray, the appellant, appeared together at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gordon, Garfield Gordon's brother and sister-in-law. Garfield Gordon was bleeding from a wound in the midsection of his body and told his brother that he had been shot during a robbery and that Murray "had what was taken." When Murray arrived at the Charles Gordon residence, he had in his possession two guns which he threw under a couch in the living room. Shortly thereafter, Murray left the premises and Charles Gordon retrieved the guns and hid them in a garbage pail. Charles Gordon then drove Garfield to their mother's home in an automobile and during this period Garfield warned his brother "to get rid of the guns." Charles Gordon then returned to his own residence and took the guns to a river near McKees Rocks where he threw them into the water. When he returned again to his own residence at about 3 p.m., the police were waiting and took him into custody. At this time, Sylvia Gordon,
the wife of Charles Gordon, who was at home when Garfield Gordon and Murray arrived there about one hour after the robbery and homicide, as before related, told one of the investigating officers "certain events that occurred that day,"*fn2 and "as a result of this information," volunteered by Sylvia Gordon, Garfield Gordon and ...