Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, April T., 1973, No. 3060, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. John Bundy.
John R. Cook, Assistant Public Defender, with him John J. Dean, Assistant Public Defender, and George H. Ross, Public Defender, for appellant.
J. Kent Culley, Assistant District Attorney, with him Robert L. Eberhardt, Assistant District Attorney, and Robert W. Duggan, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Nix. Mr. Justice Roberts took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
Appellant, John Bundy, was indicted on charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter. Prior to trial
a motion to suppress evidence was filed, heard and denied. Thereafter, trial was had before a judge and jury and appellant was adjudged guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced to imprisonment for life. Motions for a New Trial and in Arrest of Judgment were denied and this direct appeal follows.
The first assignment of error addresses the sufficiency of the evidence. The testimony offered by the Commonwealth tended to establish that on February 24, 1972, at approximately 2:00 A.M., Marianne Smith was murdered at her residence on Buena Vista Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Death was attributed to two gunshot wounds resulting in thoracic and retroperitoneal injuries. The autopsy also revealed that at the time of death the victim was pregnant.
A ballistics expert with the City and County Crime Laboratory, testified that the bullets removed from the decedent's body were from a .38 caliber weapon and determined to have been fired from the same weapon as a bullet found in a wooden plaque in Ms. Smith's kitchen. The deceased is reported to have stated to her estranged husband that an unknown assailant had discharged a weapon through her kitchen window approximately a week before the killing.
The decedent's aunt testified that she spoke with the appellant less than a month prior to the homicide, at which time the appellant threatened to kill her niece: "I love your niece and she made a fool of me and I'm going to kill her." Officer Ronald Freeman stated that during the questioning of the appellant, Bundy acknowledged that he had been "going with" the deceased for seven or eight months and admitted on several occasions beating Ms. Smith. Furthermore, Bundy admitted that Ms. Smith expressed the desire that she wanted nothing further to do with him after he had refused to give her money for an abortion. Officer William McGinley testified that on January 31, 1972,
the deceased signed a complaint against the appellant for aggravated assault and battery arising out of an incident upon a highway in which the appellant had forced the car in which Ms. Smith had been riding off the road and subsequently ...