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COMMONWEALTH v. HARVELL (10/16/74)

decided: October 16, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
HARVELL, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, April T., 1970, Nos. 1719, 1720 and 1721, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Gordon Harvell.

COUNSEL

Rudolph S. Pallastrone, with him George Bachetti, for appellant.

Louis A. Perez, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, with him Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Nix

[ 458 Pa. Page 407]

Appellant, Gordon Harvell, was convicted by a jury of murder in the first degree, aggravated robbery, and conspiracy for the robbery-murder of one Thomas Holley on December 5, 1969. Following the denial of post-trial motions appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment on the murder conviction and to a concurrent term of ten to twenty years imprisonment for the robbery and one to three years for conspiracy. This appeal followed.*fn1

Appellant assigns as error the prosecutor's remarks during his summation to the jury asserting that they

[ 458 Pa. Page 408]

    were so prejudicial as to require reversal. We agree. In view of our disposition of this issue we need not consider the remaining contentions offered by appellant.

In his closing remarks the prosecutor made the following statements to the jury to which defense counsel interposed a timely objection:

"Now, you have heard all of the evidence. You have heard all of the facts. There is no question that the Commonwealth has made out a prima facie case and a full case beyond a reasonable doubt of the guilt of this defendant.

". . . I say to you now don't be fooled. Don't let this defendant come into this courtroom and fool you into acquitting him and letting him walk out on this street again where he can rob and beat others. You are the community. You are to judge this defendant based upon what you have heard about him, based upon the facts of this case.

"It's awfully hard to walk the streets today. People don't want to go out at night. They want to hurry from work and get in before it gets dark. They're afraid to walk to their mailbox to drop a letter in the mail to a child, a mother or a father. Men are afraid to walk the streets themselves, afraid to walk their dogs out; afraid to run out to the car for something for fear that they won't come back home because individuals like this defendant are out preying along the streets, beating people, robbing people, taking things which don't belong to them. Now, you can sit back and ...


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