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COMMONWEALTH v. DANCER (05/23/73)

decided: May 23, 1973.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
DANCER, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, No. 1832 of 1971, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Mack Ceasar Dancer.

COUNSEL

Daniel H. Shertzer, for appellant.

Ronald L. Buckwalter, Assistant District Attorney, with him Henry B. Rutherford, 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 Roberts. Mr. Justice Nix and Mr. Justice Manderino join in this dissenting opinion. Dissenting Opinion by Justice Manderino.

Author: Eagen

[ 452 Pa. Page 223]

This appeal is from the judgment of sentence imposed upon Mack Ceasar Dancer following his conviction by a jury of murder in the second degree. We affirm.

The Commonwealth's evidence established the following facts:

At approximately 12:30 a.m. on the morning of October 23, 1971, Albert Tatum, brandishing a knife, entered the house of Suzy Hayes with the announced purpose of killing Elsie Turner, Mrs. Hayes aunt. Tatum, evidencing some degree of intoxication, searched about briefly for Mrs. Turner and when asked to leave, swung at the Hayes woman with his knife. At this point, Dancer, the appellant, who had been making repairs to a room of the house, armed himself with a knife and intervened, scuffling briefly with the victim. As the door was locked against him, Tatum said, "Mack you cut me" and "I'll be back."

About 2:30 a.m. Tatum's body was discovered by the Lancaster police on the sidewalk about thirty yards from the Hayes' house. Medical examination revealed he had been dead from one and a half to two hours, and death was caused by a single puncture wound in the left mid-thoracic region which resulted in massive hemorrhaging.*fn1

During the course of the police investigation, a somewhat equivocal statement was obtained from Dancer which was later admitted in evidence at trial. Therein, Dancer admitted the altercation with Tatum, saying that after the latter had thrust his knife at Mrs. Hayes, he [Dancer] "made a hit at him [Tatum] with my knife. I don't know if he was hit or not, I did not stab him. I made a cutting motion with the knife. It

[ 452 Pa. Page 224]

    was all over then, he said, 'I'll be back.' When he walked out the front door he said, 'You cut me, I'll get you.'"

Although two issues are presented by appellant for determination, only one of them is properly before this Court. In support of his request for a new trial, appellant contends: (1) the lower court committed error in permitting the Commonwealth to impeach its own witness, Mrs. Hayes, by introducing on redirect examination a prior inconsistent statement; and (2) the court ...


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