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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CHRISTOPHER JACKSON (01/27/75)

decided: January 27, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
CHRISTOPHER JACKSON, APPELLANT (TWO CASES)



COUNSEL

Jerome E. Bogutz, Philadelphia, for appellant.

F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Richard A. Sprague, First Asst. Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Division, John H. Isom, Carolyn Temin, Asst. Dist. Attys., Abraham J. Gafni, Deputy Dist. Atty. for Law, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Pomeroy, J., concurs in the result for the reasons set forth in his concurring opinion in Betrand Appeal, Author: Jones

[ 459 Pa. Page 671]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Christopher Jackson, was indicted for murder, aggravated robbery, conspiracy and carrying a concealed

[ 459 Pa. Page 672]

    deadly weapon. Pre-trial motions to suppress appellant's statements were unsuccessful, and, after a trial by jury, appellant was found guilty of murder in the first degree and aggravated robbery. Post-trial motions in arrest of judgment and for a new trial were filed and denied, and appellant was sentenced to concurrent terms of imprisonment for life and from five to ten years. From those sentences these appeals followed.*fn1 We reverse.

At approximately 9:30 p.m. on July 11, 1972, Karl Klaiss, Sr., an off-duty railroad detective, was walking north on 56th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As he neared the intersection of 56th and Ludlow Streets, two youths approached him from behind. Moments later one of the youths shot Mr. Klaiss four times. They then fled through a driveway that connected 56th Street with 57th Street. Coincidentally an off-duty policeman, standing one-half block away, and two officers in a patrolling police van, just entering 56th Street from Chestnut Street, heard the shots and watched the assailants flee. Two of these three policemen, Officers Pourran and Ricks, gave chase but were forced to abandon the footrace -- one due to a chronic back injury and the other to render assistance to the victim.

From the officers' observations and that of two additional witnesses, a description of the assailants was flashed over the police radio. The suspects were described as two Negro males in dark clothing, 5'6" to 5'8" in height, with medium builds, medium to dark complexions and semi-bush haircuts.*fn2

[ 459 Pa. Page 673]

Approximately one hour and one block from the scene of the crime, Officer John Clinkscale, patrolling in a squad car, observed a black youth receiving money from an elderly man. The man was backing away and Officer Clinkscale suspected a robbery. He stopped his car, approached the pair and asked the man if anything was wrong. The man responded in the negative. Officer Clinkscale then noticed that the youth, the appellant herein, matched the physical description of the suspects to the slaying of the previous hour. Officer Clinkscale noted, however, that appellant wore light colored trousers and no shirt rather than the described dark clothing. Nonetheless, based on the remaining similarities, Clinkscale arrested the appellant.

After taking the appellant into custody, Clinkscale proceeded one-half block and arrested four other youths who also matched the description.*fn3 Appellant and the others arrested in connection with the slaying were taken to police headquarters. Appellant was placed in a detention room with the other suspects until the police commenced his interrogation approximately six hours after his arrest. Shortly thereafter appellant confessed.

Appellant raises several grounds for reversal, only one of which we need consider. He primarily contends that the arrest was without probable cause and that, therefore, his confession should have ...


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