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COMMONWEALTH v. LOFTON (06/28/72)

decided: June 28, 1972.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
LOFTON, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, June T., 1946, No. 646, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Clarence Lofton.

COUNSEL

Gilbert E. Toll, for appellant.

Carolyn E. Temin and Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorneys, James D. Crawford, Deputy District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Manderino concurs in the result.

Author: Roberts

[ 448 Pa. Page 185]

In 1947 appellant Clarence Lofton entered a plea of guilty to murder generally. After a hearing in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, appellant was found guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 1967 appellant filed a petition seeking relief under the Post Conviction Hearing Act,*fn1 and after a hearing

[ 448 Pa. Page 186]

    at which appellant was represented by counsel, his petition was denied. Although no immediate appeal was taken from the trial court's denial of appellant's petition, on May 4, 1971, this Court issued an order granting appellant's request for permission to file an appeal to this Court as if timely filed.

On this appeal appellant raises five main contentions, each of which we find to be without merit. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's denial of appellant's request for post trial relief.*fn2

Appellant's first contention is that the evidence adduced at his degree of guilt hearing was insufficient to sustain his conviction of first degree murder. This contention must be rejected. At the degree of guilt hearing appellant himself testified that he had acted as the "lookout" while two compatriots entered a broom factory and robbed two men whom they encountered inside. During the course of this felony, one of appellant's compatriots assaulted the two robbery victims, and both victims eventually died as a result of the injuries inflicted by the assault. Appellant testified that after the robbery he divided the proceeds with his two cohorts. The Commonwealth also introduced at the degree of guilt hearing appellant's confession to the police and his testimony at a preliminary hearing, both

[ 448 Pa. Page 187]

    of which fully corroborated the testimony which appellant gave at the degree of guilt hearing. This evidence was clearly sufficient to support a finding that appellant had participated in a felony ...


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