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COMMONWEALTH v. IRONS (09/23/74)

decided: September 23, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
IRONS, APPELLANT



Appeals from judgments of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Nos. 133 and 1496 of 1973, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Lincoln Irons.

COUNSEL

William H. Saye, Public Defender, for appellant.

Marion E. MacIntyre and Rolf W. Bienk, Deputy District Attorneys, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Spaeth, J.

Author: Spaeth

[ 230 Pa. Super. Page 57]

Appellant was convicted by a jury of aggravated assault and battery and of assault with intent to murder. The assaults were one year apart and there was a separate indictment for each. The issue is whether it was proper to consolidate these indictments for trial.*fn1

[ 230 Pa. Super. Page 58]

Both assaults were on one Mary Green, and her testimony and the testimony of the other Commonwealth witnesses may be summarized as follows:

Mrs. Green had lived with appellant as his common law wife for about three years, off and on, and had had one child by him. On May 19, 1972, she, her children (appellant's child and two children by a prior marriage), and several couples were at her home; the adults were drinking. At about 2:30 a.m. appellant arrived and announced that he was going to take his child elsewhere because they were drunk. When he brought the child downstairs, Mrs. Green argued with him. One of the guests stepped in to aid her, and appellant hit him. After further argument appellant picked up a wine bottle and broke it across Mrs. Green's face, inflicting numerous cuts, blackening both her eyes, and knocking her unconscious. The police officer who arrived on the scene testified that he found Mrs. Green lying unconscious in a pool of blood and still bleeding from the face with bits of broken glass scattered around her.

From the time Mrs. Green filed a complaint in connection with this incident appellant constantly threatened her with harm unless she dropped the charges. On one occasion he fired shots into a trailer in which she was living, but that case was dismissed when, because of appellant's threats, she failed to appear at the preliminary hearing. On May 4, 1973, appellant came to Mrs. Green's trailer and told her she would never walk into a courtroom to testify against him. On May 5, he came back to the trailer. This time Mrs. Green's niece, Rhonda Fields, was with her. Appellant told Mrs. Green he wanted to talk to her privately, so they went into the bedroom. Miss Fields was summoned to the bedroom by a scream from Mrs. Green, who was standing on the bed holding a gun; she told Miss Fields to call the police. Mrs. Green testified that she had had to

[ 230 Pa. Super. Page 59]

    take the gun from appellant. After Miss Fields left to call the police, Mrs. Green jumped off the bed and attempted to leave the room, but a fight ensued and the gun went off, hitting her in the finger. Appellant got the gun and shot her in the abdomen, leg, and buttocks; when she fell to the floor, appellant shot her in the leg again. A surgical resident at the hospital to which she was taken testified that she had a total of six wounds and had lost one-third to one-half of her blood.

Appellant testified and gave a different version of these incidents. He denied hitting Mrs. Green with the bottle. He said her cuts were probably from falling down from intoxication when she ran away from him. As for the shooting, he said the gun was Mrs. Green's, ...


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