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COMMONWEALTH v. WRIGHT (09/22/75)

decided: September 22, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
WRIGHT, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County, May T., 1974, No. 119, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Dean Dennis Wright.

COUNSEL

Taylor P. Andrews, with him John H. Broujos, for appellant.

Kevin A. Hess, Assistant District Attorney, with him Edgar B. Bayley, First Assistant District Attorney, and Harold E. Sheely, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Hoffman

[ 235 Pa. Super. Page 603]

The principal issue presented in this appeal is whether the Commonwealth produced sufficient evidence at trial to prove appellant guilty of burglary*fn1 beyond a reasonable doubt.

The basic facts are not in dispute. On the evening of January 3, 1974, appellant, his brother Gary, Dennis Varner, and Terry Worthington, were driving in appellant's car in a rural area of Cumberland County because they planned to go hunting. Gary Wright was driving the automobile. As they were riding in the vicinity of a home owned by Clarence Chestnut, Terry Worthington told Gary Wright to stop the car; Worthington and Varner then got out of the car, and instructed Gary Wright to return in a few minutes. At that point, appellant and his brother drove off, and Worthington and Varner entered the Chestnut residence. According to the testimony

[ 235 Pa. Super. Page 604]

    of Dennis Varner, neither he nor Worthington told the Wrights that they had planned to burglarize the home.*fn2

After they had taken eight guns from the Chestnut residence, Varner and Worthington returned to the road, and waited five minutes before appellant and his brother returned. All eight guns were placed in the automobile. Varner testified he did not discuss where he got the guns because he thought "that was obvious." Terry Worthington corroborated Varner's testimony but added that Gary Wright stated on several occasions that "he didn't want nothing to do with it."*fn3 Appellant suggested that they take the guns to the home of Raymond Johnson. When they arrived at the Johnson residence, Terry Worthington told Johnson that he was moving and needed a place to store the guns.*fn4 On May 14, 1974, appellant was found guilty of burglary by a jury and was sentenced to eleven to twenty-three months' imprisonment.

The record is devoid of evidence implicating appellant in the actual burglary of the Chestnut home. Therefore, appellant was properly convicted only if he is vicariously liable for the criminal acts of Varner and Worthington, within the meaning of 18 Pa.C.S. ยง 306.*fn5

[ 235 Pa. Super. Page 605]

"(a) General rule. -- A person is guilty of an offense if it is committed by his own conduct or by the conduct of another person for which ...


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