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COMMONWEALTH v. HORNBERGER (10/09/70)

decided: October 9, 1970.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
HORNBERGER, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Berks County, Dec. T., 1960, No. 131, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Charles H. Hornberger.

COUNSEL

Ralph W. D. Levan, for appellant.

Grant E. Wesner, Assistant District Attorney, and Robert L. Van Hoove, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell.

Author: Bell

[ 441 Pa. Page 58]

This is an appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Oyer and Terminer of Berks County denying appellant's motion for a new trial.

On March 24, 1961, appellant, Charles Hornberger, was convicted by a jury of murder in the first degree

[ 441 Pa. Page 59]

    for the death of his wife, Arlene Hornberger, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. At the conclusion of the trial, appellant's appointed counsel moved for a new trial, alleging (1) that the verdict was contrary to the evidence, (2) that the verdict was contrary to the weight of the evidence, and (3) that the trial Judge erred in admitting into evidence a "confession" made by the defendant. These motions were denied on December 29, 1961. No appeal was taken at that time.

On April 15, 1966, appellant filed a petition under the Post Conviction Hearing Act, alleging the violation of numerous constitutional rights and the presence of numerous errors in the trial record. The Court, by an Order dated June 1, 1966, held that all matters raised in the petition except the voluntariness of the confession had been disposed of by the Court when it denied the post-trial motions. The Court ordered a hearing limited to the issue of the voluntariness of the confession. The hearing was held on June 29, 1966, at which time appellant was represented by the staff of the Public Defender of Berks County. After the hearing, the petition was dismissed. Hornberger then appealed to this Court.

In Commonwealth v. Hornberger, 430 Pa. 413, 243 A.2d 341, this Court, in an unanimous Opinion by Justice O'Brien, affirmed the Order of the PCHA Judge.

On August 5, 1968, this appellant filed a second petition under the Post Conviction Hearing Act. In this petition, he reiterated the allegations made in his first petition, adding only the contention or claim that the evidence presented at his trial was insufficient to prove premeditation and malice beyond a reasonable doubt. A hearing on this petition was held on October 21, 1968, at which appellant was again represented by ...


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