Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, April T., 1966, No. 496, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Louis M. Nevitt.
Thomas A. Livingston, for appellant.
Michael Fisher, Assistant District Attorney, with him Carol Mary Los, Assistant District Attorney, and Robert W. Duggan, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.
[ 217 Pa. Super. Page 115]
Appellant was convicted of blackmail and conspiracy to commit blackmail. In his appeal from judgment of sentence, he alleges that the evidence was insufficient to support the guilty verdict.
Reviewing the evidence most favorably to the Commonwealth, Commonwealth v. Tabb, 417 Pa. 13, 207 A.2d 884 (1965), we find the following:
Wayne McCue was driving with a number of companions from Ford City to White Oak, when Officer Piekielek attempted to stop McCue's car. McCue, however, would not stop and attempted to escape the pursuing officer. Finally, in McKeesport, a roadblock prevented the car from going further. Officer Piekielek arrested McCue. Another officer, Officer Zebrak, was also at the roadblock, but it was never established that he saw McCue driving the car. Piekielek and Zebrak took McCue to Mayor Alberts' office in White Oak, where they both signed an information, charging McCue with drunken driving. They also charged McCue with running a stop light.
McCue was told that he would be required to post a bond for his hearing on the drunken driving charge. The ensuing incidents served as the basis for the instant prosecution. McCue testified as to these incidents at appellant's trial as follows: "A. . . . Mayor Alberts called a bondsman [appellant] and he came and asked me, the bondsman asked me my name and age, where I lived and I didn't even know what he was doing, I thought maybe he was another police officer or something, so I asked him why he wanted this and he told me he was going to put up my bond for me. Q. What was said next between you and [the bondsman]? A. He told me that it would cost $65.00 for a Thousand Dollar bond. Mayor Alberts said that I had to have a Thousand Dollar bond. Q. What occurred next? A.
[ 217 Pa. Super. Page 116]
Then [appellant] asked me to go in the back room with him and he talked to me about making sure that I'd come to the hearing the next evening. Q. Can you recall the entire conversation? A. He said that he thought he could get it fixed for me. Q. Were those his exact words? A. Yes. Q. What else did he say? A. But it would cost me approximately $300.00. Q. What else was said? A. He told me not to tell anyone about this or he wouldn't be able to fix it for me. Q. Was that the entire conversation? A. Yes, sir. Q. What was your response? A. I told him it sounded good to me, that I would go along with it."
McCue then paid his fine for running the stop light and paid appellant for posting the bond. "Q. Now, after you had paid the fine and the money for the bond, what did you do next? A. We were all leaving and [appellant] told me that he'd take me down to my car and he said that he'd be right out and everyone else went out except [appellant], Police Officer Zebrak and Mayor Alberts. Q. Where were you at this time? A. I was outside at [appellant's] car and then [appellant] came out and he said that he talked it over with Mayor Alberts and the policemen and that they would go along with it."
Several days later, appellant picked McCue up to take him to Mayor Alberts' office for his hearing on the drunken driving charge. "A. [Appellant] got in my car and asked me if I had the money and I told him I did and he wanted the money then but I told him no, because there was no guarantee to me that Mayor Alberts and Policeman Zebrak even know anything about this but that I'd have to be free of my charges before I pay him the money. Q. What did he say to you? A. He said that would be okay. Q. What happened next or what did you ...