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COMMONWEALTH v. WASHINGTON (06/24/75)

decided: June 24, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
WASHINGTON, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, March T., 1973, Nos. 1236 and 1237, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Jacob P. Washington.

COUNSEL

Arthur L. Gutkin, and Berkowitz and Gutkin, for appellant.

Eric Henson, Mark Sendrow, and Steven H. Goldblatt, Assistant District Attorneys, Abraham J. Gafni, Deputy District Attorney, and F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Van der Voort, J. Hoffman, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Van Der Voort

[ 235 Pa. Super. Page 341]

The instant case arises on direct appeal following the conviction, after jury trial, of the appellant, Jacob P. Washington, on two charges of assault and battery with intent to murder. The victims of the assaults were the wife of the appellant and a female friend of the wife. It was not disputed that appellant participated in a vicious knife assault on both women; his main claim on appeal is that he should have been found "temporarily insane" at the time of the assaults, and thus not guilty of the crimes charged.

The record shows that on February 15, 1973, the wife of the appellant was separated from him and was living with the couple's two small children at the Philadelphia

[ 235 Pa. Super. Page 342]

    residence of the wife's mother. On that morning, the wife was visited by a girlfriend as a result of earlier plans the two had made to go shopping. Sometime shortly after noon, the appellant went to his mother-in-law's home; instead of approaching the residence himself, he asked a neighbor's child to knock on the door of his wife's residence and to ask for the appellant's son to come out.

The wife went to the door cautiously in response to the child's knock. She was being careful because her husband had, for almost a week, continuously threatened to kill her, saying he would then turn himself in. Seeing the small child outside, and unsuspecting of the ruse which was being perpetrated by her husband, she opened the door. As soon as the door was opened, the appellant leaped toward his spouse; he had a knife in his hand.

It is not pleasant for the writer of this opinion to have to relate any of the gruesome details of the assault that followed, but some of the record facts, pertinent to the issues raised on appeal, must be noted. Before appellant struck the first blow, he said the following to his wife: "I've got you now . . . I want to see if you'll survive this . . . you are going to die." Appellant first stabbed his wife in the head. He had difficulty in removing the blade, but finally did so and seriously stabbed his wife at least five more times, once in the spine so that she became paralyzed. He then turned his attentions from his wife to her unfortunate friend. He first castigated her and then stabbed her in the face and back. Finally, he returned to where his wife lay helpless, and stabbed her again, this time in her stomach.

Appellant then gathered up his children, took them from the house, and walked quickly from the house. After a short time, he ran. Approximately one hour later appellant turned himself into police as "the one ...


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