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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DAVID ROBERT LEE (03/18/75)

decided: March 18, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
DAVID ROBERT LEE, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

John J. Dean, John H. Corbett, Jr., Pittsburgh, for appellant.

John J. Hickton, Dist. Atty., Robert L. Eberhardt, Asst. Dist. Atty., L. R. Paulick, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Jones, C. J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Pomeroy

[ 460 Pa. Page 376]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant was convicted by a jury of murder in the first degree for the stabbing death of his stepfather, William Donald. Following the denial of his post-verdict motions, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. This appeal followed.

Early in the evening of January 22, 1972, appellant returned to his home in the Oakland section of the City of Pittsburgh, which he shared with his mother, stepfather, brother and brother's wife and child. Before his arrival, his mother and stepfather had been arguing over who was the benefactor responsible for a new stove which had been delivered to the house that day. His mother, Mrs. Donald, had claimed that the stove was a gift from her mother, but her husband, Mr. Donald, accused his wife of having received it from an alleged paramour. When the appellant joined the others he asked

[ 460 Pa. Page 377]

    his stepfather what he thought of the new stove. This precipitated a tirade by Mr. Donald who inveighed against the appellant and the entire family. In the course of this verbal barrage appellant left the living room where the argument was taking place, entered the kitchen, removed a butcher knife from a cupboard, placed the knife in his trousers and returned to the living room. The quarrel was resumed, and in the course of it appellant stood over Donald, who was seated on the couch, and stabbed him 15 times in the area of the chest and head. From these blows the victim died.

Appellant has raised two grounds for appeal: that the evidence was insufficient to support a verdict of murder in the first degree, and that he was denied his constitutional right to a speedy trial.

This Court has often repeated the proper test for reviewing claims of insufficiency of the evidence to support a guilty verdict: "'The test of sufficiency of evidence is whether accepting as true all the evidence, together with all reasonable inferences therefrom, upon which the jury could properly have based its verdict, such evidence and inferences are sufficient in law to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.'" Commonwealth v. Carbonetto, 455 Pa. 93, 95, 314 A.2d 304, 305 (1974), quoting from Commonwealth v. Clark, 454 Pa. 329, 331, 311 A.2d 910, 911 (1973).*fn1 The Commonwealth, as verdict winner, is, of course, entitled to have the evidence considered in the light most favorable to it. Commonwealth v. Rife, 454 Pa. 506, 409, 312 A.2d 406 (1973); Commonwealth v. Rankin, 441 Pa. 401, 404, 272 A.2d 886 (1971). So viewed, we are satisfied that the evidence was sufficient to support the verdict.

Appellant contends particularly that there was insufficient evidence of ...


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