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COMMONWEALTH v. BUTCHER (05/04/73)

decided: May 4, 1973.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
BUTCHER, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Jan. T., 1969, Nos. 97 and 97D, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Gary Rayford Butcher.

COUNSEL

Lawrence E. Wood, Assistant Public Defender, with him W. Peter Barnes, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

James R. Freeman, Assistant District Attorney, with him William H. Lamb, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Nix. Mr. Justice Roberts and Mr. Justice Manderino concur in the result. Mr. Justice Pomeroy took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Author: Nix

[ 451 Pa. Page 360]

In December, 1968, appellant, Gary Rayford Butcher, was arrested and charged with murder, robbery, burglary and conspiracy. Following a jury trial, appellant was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy.*fn1 After post-trial motions were denied, appellant was sentenced to a term of six to twelve years on the voluntary manslaughter conviction and a term of one to two years on the conspiracy conviction, the sentences to run consecutively. This is a direct appeal from the judgment of sentence entered in the court below.*fn2

Appellant raises three issues on this appeal: (1) whether he was properly advised of his constitutional rights before giving a statement to police: (2) whether the trial judge correctly charged the jury that one may

[ 451 Pa. Page 361]

    be guilty of a felony-murder even though the intent to commit the felony is formed after the commission of the homicide; and (3) whether a jury should be permitted to convict of voluntary manslaughter when the evidence does not support the charge. We find all of appellant's contentions to be without merit and affirm his conviction.

The evidence offered by the Commonwealth was as follows: On December 6, 1968, at approximately 8:30 A.M., the body of Doctor Armstead O. Grubb, an elderly professor at Lincoln University, was found in the cellar of a residence located on the campus. Initial investigation of the crime led the police to appellant and Richard Twyman and they both were arrested. Appellant, who was then fifteen years of age, was taken into custody around noon on December 6, 1968, at which time he was advised of his constitutional rights. Upon arrival at the police station, Miranda*fn3 warnings were given for the second time. A short time later, subsequent to giving the Miranda warnings a third time, the police commenced preliminary questioning. At that point the police determined that appellant was a juvenile and contacted his mother, Mrs. Porter. When she arrived she was informed that her son had been arrested for the murder of Doctor Grubb, and that the authorities were in the process of obtaining a statement, but had stopped pending her arrival.

Thereafter, according to the testimony of the Commonwealth witnesses, appellant was advised of his constitutional rights in the presence of his mother who indicated that she understood what had been related to her son. Appellant's statement was then taken and both he and Mrs. Porter read and signed it.

Appellant now contends that although his mother was present for questioning, she ...


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