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COMMONWEALTH v. PETRISKO (03/18/71)

decided: March 18, 1971.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
PETRISKO, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1968, Nos. 74 and 75, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. George J. Petrisko.

COUNSEL

George J. Petrisko, appellant, in propria persona.

Carol Mary Los and Robert W. 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 O'Brien. Mr. Justice Cohen took no part in the decision of this case.

Author: O'brien

[ 442 Pa. Page 577]

On November 26, 1967, Mary Husar, a recluse, was killed in her home in the City of Duquesne, Allegheny County. Her body was mutilated and her death was caused by a blow on the head, hemorrhage, strangulation and stab wounds.

Captain Richard L. Falchetti of the Duquesne Police Department received a call from appellant, George J. Petrisko, around 12:10 p.m. on November 26, 1967, to check on the home of Mary Husar. He immediately went to the house where he discovered the body. He was met by appellant, who volunteered the information that the evening before he was on his way home and was "accosted by three colored men." Appellant stated they used abusive language and threw a brick at him, striking him in the face. The police officer, after detailing two other officers to remain at the premises, returned to the station with the appellant, who volunteered to tell all he could to help the police. Captain Falchetti asked appellant if the police could examine the clothing that appellant was wearing the night before. The appellant stated he had no objection and called his mother to tell her that the police would be coming to take his jacket for examination. Captain Falchetti went to the appellant's home and was given a blue tanker-type jacket, which appellant said he was wearing the morning of November 26. This jacket was turned over to the County Crime Laboratory. County detectives made a thorough check in the community concerning events that occurred the evening of November 25 and the morning of the 26th and concluded that the Negroes mentioned by appellant were nonexistent.

A laboratory examination of the appellant's jacket revealed certain animal hairs and cloth fibers which were microscopically indistinguishable from hairs and fibers found on Mary Husar's body and on a paring

[ 442 Pa. Page 578]

    knife found in her kitchen. The hairs were also microscopically indistinguishable from hairs taken from the appellant's dog. A bloodstain on the kitchen floor matched the appellant's blood type, Type O, whereas the victim had Type AB. A girdle found in the bathroom sink had Blood Type O on it, and appeared as if it had been used to wipe someone's hands.

A crude club found in the kitchen was identified by a Mr. Andy Vereb, who testified that four and a half years before this date he was a carpenter; that he knew the appellant; that he worked with appellant on a house in which the appellant was a painter and he a carpenter; that the appellant asked him to fashion a club for him from a certain piece of material, which Mr. Vereb did and which club the appellant had taken home. Mr. Vereb identified the club which was shown him in court as being the club which he had made for appellant.

Pubic hairs found on the victim's body were identified as being definitely different from those of the victim but microscopically indistinguishable from those of the appellant.

Fingerprints labelled as "fresh" by the Commonwealth's witness, which were found on the base of a kerosene lamp in Mary Husar's home, were identical to those of the defendant. The fingerprints matched on sixteen points. Only seven to twelve points are necessary to make a positive identification. Kerosene from that lamp and matches were found on the kitchen floor near ...


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