William J. Brady, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellant.
F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Richard A. Sprague, 1st Asst. Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., Benjamin H. Levintow, Asst. Dist. Atty., Abraham J. Gafni, Deputy Dist. Atty. for Law, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Roberts, J., filed a concurring opinion in which Nix and Manderino, JJ., join. Eagen, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Jones, C. J., and O'Brien, J., join.
Appellant, William Haywood, was convicted by a jury of murder in the first degree, aggravated robbery, conspiracy and carrying a firearm on a public street without a license. After denying Haywood's post-verdict motions, the court imposed sentence of life imprisonment for the murder conviction and ten to twenty years imprisonment for the robbery conviction, the sentences to run concurrently.*fn1 This appeal from the murder conviction followed.*fn2
Haywood's arrest and the charges ultimately brought against him stemmed from the robbery and fatal shooting of one Roy Jordan, a gasoline station attendant in Philadelphia on February 20, 1973. While in police custody, appellant made two incriminating statements in which he admitted that, with four accomplices, he had perpetrated the robbery and had, himself, shot Jordan when it appeared that the latter was reaching for a gun. In his statement Haywood also declared that a short time prior to the robbery he and his four friends had consumed "four half-gallons" of wine. These statements
were introduced at trial by the prosecution in its case in chief.
At the close of trial, appellant submitted the following point for charge, which was denied.
"[I]ntoxication can go to the reduction of the crime of first degree murder to second degree murder if you believe the defendant was so distorted by his consumption of alcohol that he could not have formed the specific intent to kill and that hardness of heart which is necessary in all crimes under the heading of first degree murder."
In this appeal, Haywood alleges, inter alia, that the denial of this requested instruction to the jury constituted reversible error. We believe that an instruction substantially in accordance with the submitted point was warranted and, therefore, will reverse.
In denying appellant's motion for a new trial, the court held that the requested instruction was not appropriate because the principal theory by which the prosecution sought to obtain its conviction was that of felony-murder. In so holding, the court relied upon the law in this Commonwealth, as reiterated in this Court's decision in ...