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COMMONWEALTH v. MOORE (11/26/73)

decided: November 26, 1973.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
MOORE, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Sept. T., 1969, No. 744, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Irvin Moore.

COUNSEL

Dennis Haggerty, for appellant.

William J. Stevens, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, with him Robert B. Lawler 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. Justice Pomeroy.

Author: Pomeroy

[ 454 Pa. Page 338]

On the evening of July 11, 1969, one Granville Sawyer was fatally shot in the abdomen at his home in Philadelphia. One week later the appellant, Irvin Moore, aged 23, was arrested in connection with the incident and gave two incriminating statements to the

[ 454 Pa. Page 339]

    police. He was subsequently indicted, and, after a jury trial, was convicted of first degree murder and aggravated robbery. Post-trial motions were denied and Moore was sentenced to life imprisonment. This is a direct appeal from the judgment of sentence.

The principal contention urged upon us in support of reversal is that appellant's two inculpatory statements were involuntary and should have been suppressed. It is also asserted that the trial judge committed error in charging the jury on felony murder when the jury had asked only for further instructions as to voluntary manslaughter.*fn1 We conclude that the court below was correct in denying the motions in arrest of judgment and for a new trial, and will, therefore, affirm.

I. Voluntariness of the Confession

The attack on appellant's statements to the police is that, at the time of his interrogation, he was undergoing severe heroin withdrawal pains to the extent that he could not, of his own free will, make a decision to confess. Appellant was arrested at his home on July 18, 1969, a week following the shooting, at about 3:30 in the morning. After being taken to Police Headquarters and given full Miranda*fn2 warnings, Moore gave his first statement to the police detectives. The written statement was substantially prepared between 6 and 7 o'clock. Appellant, then complaining of stomach cramps and watering eyes, was examined by a police doctor. The doctor made a report in which he found that Moore was "suffering from acute withdrawal symptoms and is a manifestation of narcotic addiction." The report continued: "However, it is my opinion that he is quite alert and is lucid and fully capable of making

[ 454 Pa. Page 340]

    a valid statement." Appellant then completed, read and signed his statement at 7:20 a.m. Two hours later the detectives took appellant to the Philadelphia General Hospital for treatment of the withdrawal symptoms. Upon returning to Police Headquarters at about 11 ...


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