Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Nov. T., 1964, No. 1441, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Louis Clinton Thomas a/k/a Louis Mickens.
Marvin Fine, with him A. Charles Peruto, for appellant.
Benjamin H. Levintow, 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.
Jones, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Jones. The former Mr. Chief Justice Bell and the former Mr. Justice Barbieri took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
In 1966, following a jury trial, appellant was convicted of first-degree murder for the killing of Edith Connor, a twelve-year old child. Post-trial motions were argued and dismissed by a court en banc; however, on June 21, 1967, a second motion for new trial was granted. The circumstances and reasons for the new trial will be related infra.
Appellant's second jury trial commenced February 17, 1969, and resulted in appellant's conviction of first-degree murder. Following disposition of post-trial motions
by a court en banc, appellant was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. This appeal followed.
The body of the deceased was discovered on September 29, 1964, at 3:00 p.m., in a three-foot wide alley running between Poplar and Cambridge Streets in the City of Philadelphia. The alley is also the rear boundary for properties located on 40th Street and Sloan Street. All the properties on 40th and Sloan Streets have rear wooden fences with a door leading to the alley from the back yard of each property. The discovery was initially made by a young child, who notified a school crossing guard stationed nearby. The police arrived, pronounced the girl dead at the scene and removed the body to the morgue. The body was then examined by one Dr. Edward Campbell, Medical Examiner and Forensic Pathologist. The deceased's blouse had been torn and the zipper of her dungarees (men's style) was partially ripped off. The dungarees were also torn at the inner seams of the thighs on both sides of the crotch. The crotch seam of the deceased's panties was likewise torn. The cause of death was attributed to strangulation by ligature. There were also bruises to the skin of the neck, a broken bone on the right side of the neck and bruises of the voice box. Tears were found in the child's rectum and testing ascertained the presence of acid phosphatese in the vagina.
The clothing of the deceased was delivered to the Police Department Laboratory where brushings and microscopic examination disclosed particles of leather, leather dust, glue, polish, dog hairs, fiber and chips of paint adhering to the clothing. These findings led to the issuance of three search warrants for the person of and premises occupied by the appellant, which premises were located at 1109 North 40th Street and consisted of a shoe repair shop on the ground floor and living
quarters in the rear of the shop. The execution of these warrants resulted in obtaining, inter alia, paint scrapings from various parts of the premises, specimens of leather, glue, fibers, threads and hairs, clothing of appellant, bed sheets, bedspreads and drapes. These specimens were delivered to the Police Department Laboratory, analyzed by a Dr. Edward J. Burke, then the Laboratory Director, and compared with items removed from the deceased's ...