A. Richard Gerber, Thomas E. Waters, Jr., Gerber, Davenport & Wilenzik, Norristown, for appellant.
Milton O. Moss, Dist. Atty., William T. Nicholas, 1st Asst. Dist. Atty., Stewart J. Greenleaf, J. David Bean, Asst. Dist. Attys., Norristown, for appellee.
Jones, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Eagen, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Nix, J., did not participate in the decision of this case.
William Davis was convicted of murder in the second degree for the 1964 stabbing death of Robert Cross. At the time of the killing, both Cross and Davis were inmates at the Eastern State Correctional Institution at Graterford.
Following return of the jury's verdict on January 6, 1965, appellant was unable to appear for sentencing because he was suffering from a "chronic brain syndrome
with psychotic reaction" and had been transferred to Fairview State Hospital. In 1972 it was decided that appellant had recovered sufficiently to permit sentencing. He was sentenced on November 6, 1972, to serve a term of five to fifteen years imprisonment.*fn1
Davis appealed to this Court. We noted that "a serious question, incapable of resolution on the present record, arises whether he was competent to stand trial. . . . [W]e cannot on this inadequate record pass on his claim of incompetency at the time of trial." Commonwealth v. Davis, 455 Pa. 596, 598, 317 A.2d 211, 212 (1974) (footnotes omitted). Accordingly, we remanded, directing the trial court to "hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether appellant was competent to stand trial in June*fn2 1965 and file its determination with this Court." Id. at 598-599, 317 A.2d at 213. We retained jurisdiction pending adjudication of appellant's competence.
The evidentiary hearing which we ordered was held on June 28, 1974. The hearing judge determined that appellant was competent at the time of trial. Concluding that this determination is not supported by the record, we reverse and grant a new trial.
The test of competency to stand trial was articulated for a unanimous Court by Mr. Justice Eagen in Commonwealth ex rel. Hilberry v. Maroney, 424 Pa. 493, 227 A.2d 159 (1967):
"[T]he test to be applied in determining the legal sufficiency of [a defendant's] mental capacity to stand trial . . . is . . . his ability to comprehend his ...