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COMMONWEALTH v. GREENE (03/25/74)

decided: March 25, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
GREENE, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Aug. T., 1972, No. 1633, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Mary Ann Greene.

COUNSEL

Joseph A. C. Girone, for appellant.

James Garrett, and David Richman, 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. Mr. Justice Eagen, Mr. Justice O'Brien and Mr. Justice Nix concurred in the result. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.

Author: Pomeroy

[ 456 Pa. Page 196]

Mary Ann Greene, the appellant, was found guilty, in a non-jury trial, of voluntary manslaughter. Post-trial motions were refused, and appellant was sentenced to an imprisonment of five to twelve years at the State Correctional Institution. This appeal followed, and we affirm.

The sole question presented is the admissibility in evidence of appellant's confession. The facts are as follows: The homicide arose out of a lovers' quarrel between appellant and one Fred Brock. Appellant encountered Brock in the street one evening in the company of another woman, who departed shortly thereafter. Words were exchanged, and Brock struck appellant several times. Appellant then pulled out a knife, stabbed Brock once in the chest, and fled.

A few moments later, Officer Henry Williams and his partner arrived at the scene and found Brock lying on the pavement. An unidentified person emerged from the crowd of bystanders and named appellant as the assailant. After summoning an ambulance, Officer Williams drove to appellant's nearby home. On his way, he heard a police radio bulletin naming appellant as a suspect in the stabbing. Finding the front door to appellant's house open, Williams walked in and observed appellant sitting in a living room chair, visibly upset. He asked her name and "did she want to tell me what happened at 24th and Master", where the stabbing occurred. At Williams' suggestion, they moved to the doorway, out of earshot of appellant's

[ 456 Pa. Page 197]

    children. Appellant then told Williams that she had a fight with her boyfriend and had stabbed him because he was punching her. She asked about Brock's condition, which Williams did not know at that time. He then escorted her to police headquarters.

At headquarters, appellant was interviewed by a Detective McDonald. She asked about Brock's condition, and McDonald advised her that he had been pronounced dead at the hospital. When appellant had regained her composure, McDonald informed her of her Miranda rights, which she waived. A formal statement was subsequently taken, in which appellant admitted stabbing Brock.

Appellant challenged the admissibility of her statement to Williams and McDonald in a pre-trial suppression motion. The statement to Williams was ruled inadmissible, but the later statement to McDonald was not suppressed, and was in due course admitted into evidence at trial. The hearing judge found that appellant received and understood the required constitutional warnings at the police station before she gave her inculpatory statement to McDonald. The admissibility of this statement is ...


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