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COMMONWEALTH v. WILLIAMS (03/16/73)

decided: March 16, 1973.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
WILLIAMS, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Adams County, Oct. T., 1970, No. 47, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Raymond Sylvester Williams.

COUNSEL

Robert W. Geigley, for appellant.

Oscar F. Spicer, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Jones

[ 450 Pa. Page 328]

This is an appeal from a sentence of life imprisonment on a conviction of first-degree murder imposed upon Raymond Williams on October 27, 1971.

Appellant's conviction derived from events of the evening of August 8 and the early morning of August 9, 1970. The appellant and victim were patrons of a Gettysburg dramshop, the Dorsey Stanton Legion. A confrontation between the appellant and victim, and others, led to harsh words and fisticuffs immediately outside the barroom premises. Several hours after the cessation of initial hostilities, at about 2:00 a.m. on August 9, 1970, the appellant and two confederates, David Stull and Gregory Williams, set out in appellant's automobile in search of the victim. They found the victim, David Gebhart, sitting alone in a parked car a short distance from the scene of the earlier confrontation. According to the testimony of his confederates, appellant alighted from the passenger side of the car with a shotgun and approached the victim, who was still seated in the parked vehicle. The same testimony indicates that appellant spoke as he moved to the parked vehicle: "There you are you big bad sonofabitch, I'll teach you to beat my ass."

The victim responded: "Hey, take it easy buddy."

Appellant then shot Gebhart through the neck at close range, mortally wounding him. Appellant was apprehended at his home in a bedroom with the shotgun disassembled on the bed. Part of the gun was found wrapped in a blanket and hidden beneath a mattress at a neighbor's home.

[ 450 Pa. Page 329]

The questions raised by this appeal reduce themselves to (1) whether the verdict is supported by the evidence presented by the Commonwealth, and (2) whether the Commonwealth's alleged suppression of material evidence and presentation of false evidence has denied the appellant due process.

In determining whether the evidence presented is sufficient to sustain the conviction, the test is, whether accepting as true all of the evidence of the Commonwealth and all reasonable inferences arising therefrom upon which the jury could properly have reached its verdict, was it sufficient in law to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant was guilty of the crime of which he stands convicted. Commonwealth v. Wrona, 442 Pa. 201, 275 A.2d 78 (1971); Commonwealth v. Whitaker, 440 Pa. 143, 269 A.2d 886 (1970); Commonwealth v. Winebrenner, 439 Pa. 73, 265 A.2d 108 (1970); Commonwealth v. Commander, 436 Pa. 532, 260 A.2d 773 (1970); Commonwealth v. Frye, 433 Pa. 473, 252 A.2d 580 (1969).

Appellant, in his brief, has reconstructed the evidence presented by the Commonwealth for the purpose of highlighting the minor discrepancies in testimony which arose when several witnesses testified with respect to the detailed factual circumstances presented by this case. Notwithstanding these discrepancies, a consideration of the evidence more than amply supports this jury verdict. A recounting of immaterial conflicts does not alter the fact that the Commonwealth presented eyewitness testimony and strong ...


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