Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, March T., 1964, No. 26, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Robert Campbell.
H. David Rothman, Assistant Public Defender, and George H. Ross, Public Defender, for appellant.
Carol Mary Los and Robert L. Campbell, Assistant District Attorneys, 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 Roberts. Mr. Chief Justice Bell dissents. Mr. Justice Cohen took no part in the decision of this case.
The sole issue presented by this direct appeal from a judgment of sentence following a jury verdict of first degree murder is whether the admission of defendant's confession into evidence was error and violated the principles of Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S. Ct. 1758 (1964). We hold that defendant must be granted a new trial, for he was never warned of his absolute right to remain silent. The facts as found by the suppression hearing court are as follows:
On the afternoon of November 29, 1963, one Gust Georges was murdered in his home in Allegheny County. He had operated an amusement business and customarily kept the receipts in his house. When he came home, he was seized, bound, beaten, and eventually murdered
by two men attempting to discover the location of the money.
Robert Campbell was arrested on January 30, 1964, along with two other men in connection with the Georges murder. After lengthy questioning, he was released. He was taken into custody again at approximately 1 P.M. on February 5, having been implicated in the Georges murder by one of the other men who had remained in custody. Campbell was questioned intermittently that afternoon by the police. At 4:30 P.M. the question of counsel arose. The lieutenant interrogating Campbell stated: "There is the phone, call the lawyer if you want one."
Campbell replied, "What do I need a lawyer for, I haven't done anything."
Later the same afternoon, Campbell conferred with Swidowski, the man who had implicated him. Campbell then indicated his willingness to make a statement.
Both prior to and following his confession, Campbell was asked whether the confession was voluntary and made of his own free will. To these questions Campbell replied, "Yes." However, at no time during his entire interrogation while in custody ...