Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Aug. T., 1968, Nos. 1684 to 1687, inclusive, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Nathaniel Swint.
Henry T. McCrary, Jr., with him Ronald J. Brockington, for appellant.
Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorney, with him Stephen J. Margolin, 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, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Mr. Justice Nix notes a dissent. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Mr. Justice Roberts joins in this dissent.
The appellant, Nathaniel Swint, was indicted for murder in connection with the death of James Battles in Philadelphia, and following a jury trial was convicted of murder in the second degree. Post-trial motions were denied and a prison sentence of 8 to 20 years was imposed. This appeal followed.
From the testimony of eyewitnesses who testified at trial, the jury could find that on the evening of July 11, 1968, Swint and several other young men suddenly
attacked Battles, Nathaniel Head-on, Horace Wallace and Louis Hopewell while they were in front of a house in the 2200 block of Annin Street waiting for a friend who was visiting inside; that in the altercation, Swint stabbed Head-on in the back of the shoulder with a knife and also stabbed Battles in the chest causing injury which resulted in Battles' death about noon the following day.
Swint was subsequently taken into police custody, and, after twice orally admitting the stabbing, made a detailed statement which was recorded on a typewriter. A pretrial motion to suppress evidence of these admissions and the statement was denied and evidentiary use thereof was permitted at trial over objection. These rulings are the principal assignment of error raised by this appeal.
While there were some conflicts in the testimony before the trial court as to the circumstances surrounding the challenged admissions and the statement, these conflicts were resolved against Swint by the hearing judge. Hence, on review our consideration is limited to the evidence of the prosecution witnesses and so much of the evidence offered by Swint as, fairly read in the context of the record as a whole, remains uncontradicted. Commonwealth ex rel. Butler v. Rundle, 429 Pa. 141, 239 A.2d 426 (1968). So read, the record establishes the following facts.
Three investigating police officers, upon being informed Swint was involved in the stabbing, proceeded to his residence without a warrant. Arriving about 2:30 a.m., on July 12, 1968, the officers identified themselves to Swint's mother and told her Swint had been involved in the stabbing of a boy who was in critical condition in the Graduate Hospital and who might die. Swint was ...