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COMMONWEALTH v. CAMPBELL (12/20/71)

decided: December 20, 1971.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
CAMPBELL, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Nov. T., 1967, No. 284, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. William Martin Campbell, III.

COUNSEL

Thomas J. Burke, with him Gerald F. Glackin, for appellant.

Stewart J. Greenleaf, Assistant District Attorney, with him William T. Nicholas, Executive Assistant District Attorney, Parker H. Wilson, First Assistant District Attorney, and Milton O. Moss, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Bell

[ 445 Pa. Page 490]

William M. Campbell, III was indicted for the murder of William B. Thompson. Campbell was found guilty by a jury of voluntary manslaughter. Twenty motions for a new trial were filed and argued and denied, and he was sentenced to a period of from five to ten years in solitary confinement. This appeal was taken by the defendant, who was represented throughout all the proceedings in the lower Court, as well as in this appeal, by two Court-appointed attorneys.

The sordid facts in this case were established by the testimony of defendant himself and several other witnesses. On the afternoon of November 22, 1967, defendant met Thompson by chance at a bar in Philadelphia. Both men were homosexuals and they had known each other casually for some time. After drinking together for a few hours, they left the bar at approximately 10:30 P.M. by taxi for Thompson's apartment in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County.

Defendant testified that when they reached the apartment, he went into the kitchen to make a drink for both of them. While in the kitchen, he took from his pocket a cube of sugar on which he knew LSD had been placed and he chewed it up.*fn1

Defendant then went into the living room and sat and talked with Thompson, who had previously undressed. Soon thereafter, defendant began to feel the effects of the LSD and started jumping up and down on the sofa. Defendant suggested that they sniff amyl nitrate, a drug which produces a drowsy forgetfulness. Defendant and Thompson sniffed the amyl nitrate and went into the bedroom to pack a suitcase for a trip to Florida which they had been talking about. After

[ 445 Pa. Page 491]

    packing the suitcase, defendant placed the suitcase in the hallway outside the apartment. When he went back into the apartment, he undressed and both men then went to bed together. Defendant testified that his last recollection was that he and Thompson were again sniffing amyl nitrate in bed.

The next thing that defendant said he could remember was when he awoke and found Thompson dead beside him with a knife in his throat. Defendant testified that he withdrew the knife and attempted to revive Thompson with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Defendant then tried to wipe off and clean the knife, and then tried to flush his bloodstained shirt down the toilet. Soon thereafter, defendant left the apartment and hitchhiked a ride into the central part of Philadelphia.

At approximately 4:30 A.M. on the following day (Thanksgiving), defendant was seen in Dewey's Restaurant in Philadelphia. He told a number of men there that he had to leave town because he had just stabbed a man six times with an icepick. He also made a telephone call to John Gaul (with whom he worked) and told him that he had just killed Thompson with an icepick. One of the men who were present in Dewey's at the time informed a Philadelphia policeman of defendant's statements, and defendant was arrested at 4:50 A.M. Defendant was questioned, searched and examined for possible use of narcotics because his eyes were "glassy." The police found in defendant's possession an envelope containing a Sears Roebuck & Company credit card with Thompson's name thereon. A detective, John Hoff, attempted to telephone ...


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