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COMMONWEALTH v. WHITAKER (10/09/70)

decided: October 9, 1970.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
WHITAKER, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, June T., 1967, Nos. 179 and 180, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Philip H. Whitaker.

COUNSEL

R. Barclay Surrick, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

Anna Iwachiw Vadino and Ralph B. D'Iorio, Assistant District Attorneys, and Stephen J. McEwen, Jr., District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Eagen

[ 440 Pa. Page 144]

On June 21, 1967, Philip H. Whitaker was convicted by a jury in Delaware County of murder in the second degree. A new trial was refused and a prison sentence of 6 to 12 years was imposed. This appeal was then filed. We affirm.

It is first argued that the trial evidence was insufficient to sustain the jury's verdict. Our study of the record readily manifests that this position is devoid of merit.

In determining the sufficiency of the evidence, be it direct or circumstantial, the test is whether, accepting as true all of the evidence and all reasonable inferences arising therefrom, upon which, if believed, the jury could have based its verdict, it is sufficient in law to

[ 440 Pa. Page 145]

    prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime or crimes of which he has been convicted. Commonwealth v. Myers, 439 Pa. 381, 266 A.2d 756 (1970), and Commonwealth v. Commander, 436 Pa. 532, 260 A.2d 773 (1970). The evidence clearly satisfies the test.

The pertinent testimony may be fairly summarized in this manner:

Whitaker and the victim, Gladys Childs, although not married, lived together as man and wife for several years. During this period Whitaker threatened the life and physical well-being of Mrs. Childs on numerous occasions, and a few days immediately prior to the date here involved seriously assaulted her with a broom.

On the night of March 7, 1967, Whitaker, after drinking some wine, came home and entered the victim's bedroom on the second floor of the house. The two were then heard arguing and a gunshot followed. One of Mrs. Child's children hurried towards the bedroom and saw her mother coming therefrom into the hallway, and heard her say "help me." Whitaker was seen standing nearby with a revolver in his hand. Mrs. Childs started down the stairs to the first floor and collapsed. Whitaker then ran from the house, ...


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