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COMMONWEALTH v. JOHNSON (10/16/74)

October 16, 1974

COMMONWEALTH
v.
JOHNSON, APPELLANT.



Appeals, Nos. 34 and 257, Jan. T., 1974, from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Dec. T., 1971, Nos. 1034 and 1035, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Vincent Johnson. Judgment of sentence affirmed.

COUNSEL

James D. McCrudden, for appellant.

Maxine J. Stotland, Assistant District Attorney, with her David Richman, Assistant District Attorney, Abraham J. Gafni, Deputy District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Eagen, O'brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Nix, JJ.

Author: Roberts

[ 457 Pa. Page 556]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS.

Appellant, Vincent Johnson, was found guilty by a jury on March 21, 1973, of murder in the first degree and aggravated robbery. Post-trial motions were denied and concurrent sentences of life imprisonment on the conviction for murder and ten to twenty years on

[ 457 Pa. Page 557]

    the robbery conviction were imposed. This direct appeal followed.*fn1 We affirm.

On October 29, 1971, Kenneth Wakefield was assaulted and sustained severe head injuries, which resulted in his death. In connection with the investigation of this incident, the police requested appellant's father to bring appellant (then age 17) to the Police Administration Building. The father did so on November 5, 1971, and appellant was taken into custody at 5:35 p.m. Miranda*fn2 warnings were administered, and police detectives began questioning appellant regarding the assault on Wakefield.

Initially, appellant denied any involvement, but at 9:00 p.m. he began an oral statement in which he admitted the assault. This statement was completed at 9:50 p.m., after which appellant, in the presence of his father, repeated the substance of the statement.

The following day at 4:40 p.m., a formal, written statement - substantially identical to the earlier oral statement - was taken. This statement was completed at 8:00 p.m. Appellant was arraigned at some later time, not shown by the record.

Appellant raises two objections to the failure to suppress his written statements.*fn3 He argues, first, that the formal statement was not voluntarily made. The suppression court heard conflicting testimony on this claim at appellant's August 27, 1972 suppression hearing and resolved the issue ...


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