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COMMONWEALTH v. HUDSON (01/24/74)

decided: January 24, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
HUDSON, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgments of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, July T., 1970, No. 1626 and Aug. T., 1970, No. 1645, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. James R. Hudson.

COUNSEL

David N. Savitt, with him Donald J. Goldberg, for appellant.

James T. Ranney, Assistant District Attorney, with him David Richman, Assistant District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for appellee.

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

Author: Roberts

[ 455 Pa. Page 118]

Appellant, James R. Hudson, was found guilty by a jury of the crimes of murder in the first degree and aggravated robbery. Post-trial motions were denied, and, on July 28, 1973, concurrent sentences of life imprisonment on the conviction for murder and ten to twenty years on the robbery conviction were imposed. This direct appeal followed.*fn1 We affirm.

[ 455 Pa. Page 119]

At trial, the Commonwealth introduced substantial evidence showing that on March 8, 1970, appellant entered a neighborhood tavern in Philadelphia. He there approached a man wearing a leather jacket of the type worn by Philadelphia police and asked him whether he was a policeman. The man responded in the negative.

Appellant then left the tavern briefly and returned. He went to the bar, ordered and paid for a drink, pulled out a revolver, and demanded that one of the two bartenders then working give him the money in the cash register. The bartender complied. Hudson ordered the first bartender to serve drinks to the several patrons in the tavern. Appellant's attention being momentarily distracted, the second bartender pushed a button on the back of the bar which activated a silent alarm summoning the police. After finishing his drink, appellant decided to leave the tavern. When Hudson, gun in hand, reached the door, he found himself face to face with a police officer. He shot the officer and fled.

The bullet lacerated the officer's liver and penetrated his diaphragm and one lung. The officer was immediately hospitalized, but died on April 6, 1970, almost one month later. The grand jury returned indictments charging murder, attempts with intent to kill, aggravated robbery, burglary, carrying a deadly weapon, and resisting arrest.*fn2

Four issues are raised on this appeal. First, it is contended that appellant was not properly indicted for murder. The indictment returned by the grand

[ 455 Pa. Page 120]

    jury on July 30, 1970, reads: "The . . . Grand Jury, by this indictment presents: That . . . James R. Hudson, did feloniously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought kill and murder one Harry Davis. During the commission of the above murder the said defendant was in possession of a firearm, to wit, revolver . . . ." At the beginning of trial on January 13, 1972,*fn3 over the objection of the defense, the ...


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