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COMMONWEALTH v. REID (06/30/72)

decided: June 30, 1972.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
REID, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, No. 915 of 1972, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Samuel McDaniel Reid.

COUNSEL

Smith B. Gephart and James R. Clippinger, Assistant Public Defenders, for appellant.

Marion E. MacIntyre, Deputy District Attorney, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Manderino

[ 448 Pa. Page 289]

Samuel McDaniel Reid received a sentence of life imprisonment after his first degree murder conviction by a jury. The only point raised in this appeal is the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain the jury's verdict of first degree murder. We have reviewed the evidence contained in the record and conclude that there was sufficient evidence to sustain the jury's verdict.

The victim of the murder, LeRoy S. Shank, a milkman, was making deliveries on the thirteenth floor of the Jackson Apartment Building, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. While making a delivery to Apartment No. 248, Shank was attacked and severely beaten about the head with a weapon later described as a hatchet. This incident occurred on January 12, 1971, and as a result of the beating Shank died on March 4, 1971, some fifty-three (53) days later. An investigation of the incident

[ 448 Pa. Page 290]

    led to the arrest and conviction of the appellant, Samuel McDaniel Reid.

Mary Simmons and Sharon Knight both witnessed the attack on Shank and testified.

Mary Simmons who lived at 251 Jackson Apartments on the thirteenth floor, testified for the Commonwealth and was also called as a witness for the appellant. During her direct examination by the Commonwealth she testified she heard a noise outside her apartment and when she opened the door to investigate she observed the milkman being "stomped" and beaten with a hatchet. She was not able to identify the attacker because he had a pillowcase over his head, but she did testify that his general build was skinny or slender. Mary Simmons was later called as a defense witness and testified that Reid was not built like the individual she observed beating the milkman, although Reid has a slender or skinny build. The appellant properly points out that the testimony of Mary Simmons was of no value in tying appellant into the crime.

The testimony of Sharon Knight did specifically implicate the appellant. Sharon Knight testified on direct examination, that on the morning of January 12, 1971, while the milkman was making a delivery to her apartment, a man appeared behind the milkman and ordered him not to move and not to turn around. She further testified that the milkman and the other man started fighting. During the fight the assailant said "you think you're bad". She observed the assailant then pull out a hatchet and strike the milkman on the head. She stated that she had known the appellant, Reid, for more than five (5) years and was able to recognize him as the attacker by his voice, ...


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