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COMMONWEALTH v. COOPER (06/28/71)

decided: June 28, 1971.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
COOPER, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Sept. T., 1967, No. 439, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Charles David Cooper.

COUNSEL

Andrew G. Gay, for appellant.

Stephen J. Margolin, Assistant District Attorney, with him Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorney, James D. Crawford, Deputy District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Barbieri, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell. Mr. Justice Jones took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Bell

[ 444 Pa. Page 123]

On March 30, 1967, Meyer Lexton, the aged proprietor of the Claridge Hotel, was shot and killed. On April 5, 1967, a call was received at the headquarters of the Philadelphia Police Department, the caller stating that he was the killer of Mr. Lexton and wanted to give himself up. Two officers were sent to the address given by the caller. When they arrived at the address, the defendant Charles Cooper identified himself as the man who placed the call. After being given all the Miranda warnings, defendant made an oral confession concerning the shooting of Lexton. This was undoubtedly a voluntary, spontaneous statement or confession, and consequently was admissible.

Defendant was then taken to police headquarters and, after again receiving all the Miranda warnings, gave a statement which was recorded by the police. After this statement was typewritten, defendant repudiated the statement and refused to sign it. A short while later, defendant was released from custody.

On April 17, 1967, defendant was brought to police headquarters and, after being given the Miranda warnings, was questioned and then released. At this time, he made no statement.

On June 26, 1967, George Maiden was arrested and gave a statement implicating himself and the defendant in the murder of Meyer Lexton. Defendant was arrested on June 27, 1967 and, after being given all the Miranda warnings, gave a formal statement or confession in which he admitted his involvement in the Lexton killing. This statement was substantially the same as the statement which he had given on April 5th. Before he gave his statement on June 27th, defendant had not

[ 444 Pa. Page 124]

    been informed of the crime which was the subject of his interrogation.

Prior to his trial on the murder indictment, his attorney filed a motion to suppress all of the statements which had been made by the defendant. This motion was heard before Judge (now President Judge) D. Donald Jamieson. After a full evidentiary hearing, Judge Jamieson denied the motion to suppress.

Defendant's murder trial commenced on March 5, 1969. Statements given by defendant on April 5th and June 27th were admitted into evidence over the objection of defendant's trial counsel. Defendant was found by the jury guilty of murder in the second degree and was sentenced by the Court to a term of eight to twenty years' ...


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