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COMMONWEALTH v. ALWINE (10/04/72)

decided: October 4, 1972.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
ALWINE, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Butler County, March T., 1959, No. 1, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Richard Wayne Alwine.

COUNSEL

Richard L. McCandless, and Coulter, Gilchrist, Dillon & McCandless, for appellant.

Robert F. Hawk, Assistant District Attorney, and John H. Brydon, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Nix. Mr. Justice Roberts and Mr. Justice Manderino join in this dissent. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Manderino.

Author: Eagen

[ 449 Pa. Page 380]

On July 13, 1959, Richard Wayne Alwine was convicted by a jury in Butler County of robbery and of murder in the first degree. On the murder conviction he was sentenced by the court to life imprisonment as the jury's verdict directed, and on the robbery conviction

[ 449 Pa. Page 381]

    a sentence of 10 to 20 years imprisonment was imposed. Appeals were not then entered. However, on January 2, 1968, Alwine filed a petition seeking post-conviction relief under the Act of January 25, 1966, P. L. (1965) 1580, 19 P.S. 1180-1, and, after an evidentiary hearing, the trial court concluded Alwine had not effectively waived his right to appeal, so an order was entered permitting the filing of post-trial motions as if timely filed. Said motions were filed, and subsequently dismissed. This appeal was then entered from the judgment of sentence imposed on the murder conviction. An appeal was not taken from the judgment entered on the robbery conviction.

It is not disputed the trial evidence was sufficient to warrant a finding of guilt of murder in the first degree, and an examination of the record readily manifests why this issue is not pressed. The record demonstrates the Commonwealth's evidence was ample to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that, while perpetrating a robbery of a grocery store, Alwine fatally stabbed the proprietor. That Alwine committed the crimes was not denied at trial, but the defense attempted unsuccessfully to persuade the jury he was legally insane at the time involved.

The Commonwealth's trial evidence included an incriminating statement made by Alwine during police custody. It is claimed this statement was obtained under conditions which rendered it "involuntary" and made its evidentiary use at trial violative of due process. This issue was explored and decided against Alwine in the 1968 post-conviction proceedings and, after a careful study of the entire record, we conclude the trial court's ruling was correct.

The robbery and killing occurred between 8 and 9 p.m. on September 24, 1958. About 1 p.m. on the following day, Alwine was taken into police custody and

[ 449 Pa. Page 382]

    arrived at police headquarters about 1:30 p.m. Before any questioning began, he spontaneously said: "Do what you want with me. I done it. Nobody cares about me." From then until late in the afternoon, he was questioned about the details of the crimes after which he made the statement now challenged. It was initially recorded in longhand by a police detective and then transposed into a typewritten statement. At one point before the statement was ...


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