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COMMONWEALTH v. PARKER (11/17/72)

decided: November 17, 1972.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
PARKER, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, May T., 1969, No. 76, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Larry T. Parker.

COUNSEL

J. Graham Sale, Jr. and John J. Dean, Assistant Public Defenders, and George H. Ross, Public Defender, for appellant.

Carol Mary Los, Assistant District Attorney, and Robert W. Duggan, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Eagen

[ 449 Pa. Page 283]

On March 17, 1969, Frank Butera was fatally shot in his brother's watch repair shop in Pittsburgh. Marvin Collins and Larry Parker were charged with committing the crime and indicted by a grand jury in a joint bill for murder and voluntary manslaughter. On motion of Parker a severance was granted.

On January 29, 1970, Collins was convicted by a jury of murder in the first degree and the punishment was fixed at life imprisonment.*fn1 On May 11, 1970, while assisted by self-retained counsel, Parker entered

[ 449 Pa. Page 284]

    a general plea of guilty to murder before the same judge who presided during the Collins trial. Before accepting the plea, the court advised Parker in clear language of his right to a trial by jury, the presumption of innocence, the impact and the possible consequences of pleading guilty to murder. Then in answer to a series of questions by the court, Parker affirmatively indicated the guilty plea was entered voluntarily and knowingly and "because I am guilty." An evidentiary hearing followed and Parker was adjudged guilty of murder in the second degree and sentenced to serve imprisonment for a term of 10 to 20 years.

Immediately after sentence was imposed, the court advised Parker of his right to appeal from the judgment of sentence and of his right to have the assistance of counsel free of charge in filing and prosecuting the appeal in the event he was indigent. However, no appeal was filed.

On July 2, 1971, Parker filed a petition seeking post-conviction relief. After an evidentiary hearing the petition was dismissed and this appeal challenges the correctness of that order. Throughout the instant proceedings, Parker has been represented by court-appointed counsel.

It is asserted Parker's conviction and sentence should be set aside for two reasons: (1) the guilty plea was not knowingly and intelligently entered because it was motivated by the prior conviction of Collins; and (2) Parker's constitutional right against self-incrimination was violated "when he testified against himself" ...


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