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COMMONWEALTH v. PARKS (09/19/73)

decided: September 19, 1973.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
PARKS, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Dec. T. 1970, No. 1163, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Charles Parks.

COUNSEL

Arthur S. Kafrissen, for appellant.

James J. Wilson and Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorneys, 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. Chief Justice Jones. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Manderino joins in this concurring opinion.

Author: Jones

[ 453 Pa. Page 297]

Appellant was convicted of voluntary manslaughter on September 15, 1971 for the killing of Mumford James (deceased) who died from a gunshot wound received on November 4, 1970. On September 24, 1971, appellant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three to twelve years. Post trial motions for a new trial and/or in arrest of judgment were denied on December 29, 1971 and this appeal followed.

[ 453 Pa. Page ]

The evidence establishes that deceased had spent most of the day in his apartment at 4508 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, Pa., with Arthur Page and Eugene Wilson. In the early evening Page, at the request of the deceased, attempted, without success, to contact appellant by telephone about some business matter between appellant and deceased. Appellant's wife, however, met with Page and deceased at about 10:30 p.m. on the corner of 45th and Walnut Streets. Deceased and Mrs. Parks quarrelled. Deceased told her that he did not appreciate appellant sending his wife instead of taking care of his business himself. Before she left deceased grabbed her by the arm. Mrs. Parks said she would send her husband around to see the deceased. Deceased and Page returned to the apartment.

[ 453 Pa. Page 298]

Approximately one half hour later, deceased answered either a bell or a knock on the door of the apartment, Wilson was reclining on a sofa in the living room and facing into a 32-foot long hallway that led to the door. He testified that deceased went to the door, inquired who was there and the person answered "Candy". Deceased opened the door about half way and "Candy" said something pertaining to deceased bothering his wife. Deceased then took a couple of steps backward and leaned against the hallway wall. "Candy" stepped forward into the hallway and shot deceased. Wilson positively identified appellant and stated that he had known appellant as "Candy" prior to the incident. Although Wilson didn't see a gun in appellant's hand he did hear the shot and saw sparks coming from appellant. Wilson further testified that he neither saw deceased pull a gun on appellant nor saw deceased carrying a gun on the evening in question.

[ 453 Pa. Page ]

Page was sitting on the other side of the living room and was unable to see the shooting. When deceased went to the door, Page heard some mumbling and then a shot. Page and Wilson took deceased to Pennsylvania General Hospital by car, and as they were getting into the car, Wilson saw appellant and another man driving off. Wilson stated that he also saw another man with appellant standing on the landing outside of the apartment when deceased was shot.

Deceased died at 2:00 a.m. on November 5, 1970. Appellant was subsequently arrested at his residence at approximately 3:30 a.m. on the same day and taken to police headquarters. Appellant first received his Miranda warnings at 5:20 a.m. and indicated that he understood his rights and was willing to make a statement. He was questioned at 5:20 a.m. for fifteen minutes and at 5:55 a.m. and 7:35 a.m.; each ...


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