John Edward Calior, Rodgers, Marks & Perfilio, Sharon, for appellant.
Robert F. Banks, Asst. Dist. Atty., Joseph J. Nelson, Dist. Atty., Mercer, for appellee.
Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Jones, C. J., took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
The appellant, Gary Roman, was convicted by a jury of murder in the second degree.*fn1 Following the denial of a motion in arrest of judgment and a motion for a new trial, a prison sentence was imposed. This appeal followed.
The prosecution emanated from the killing of one Mark Chancellor on a farm located in a rural section of Mercer County on which John Gilkey, his wife Mary and their six children resided.
To connect Roman with Chancellor's killing, the Commonwealth relied mainly on the testimony of Mary Gilkey, which may be summarized in this manner.
Prior to and in October 1973, there existed in the Northeastern United States an organization known as "The Breed Motorcycle Gang" (The Breed), which included, among others in Ohio, one chapter in Masury, which is located across the state line from Sharon, Pennsylvania. John Gilkey was a member of The Breed and president of the Masury Chapter, but in October 1973, the membership of this chapter had dwindled to a few individuals and Gilkey was considering withdrawing from the organization.
On Saturday, October 7, 1973, Roman who was "Sergeant-at-Arms" of the Mother, or governing, Chapter in New Jersey and a William Zillgitt, a member of a New York Chapter, arrived at the Gilkey dwelling house with orders from those in charge of the Mother Chapter to save the Masury Chapter by "getting more new members into it" and also to dissuade Gilkey from withdrawing. Roman was armed with a .32 caliber revolver and Zillgitt
with a .25 automatic. Roman was also the operator of the lead motorcycle whenever members of The Breed ventured on the road for a shoot-out with a rival gang.
That evening the Gilkeys and a Frank Howell, who lived with them and was a member of The Breed, accompanied Roman, Zillgitt and a Tina Kendell to Capuzzi's Bar in Brookfield, Ohio. While there Roman engaged in an argument with one of the female patrons whom he had never seen before. Then, as this person started to walk to a phone booth, Roman pulled his revolver and "started shooting at her feet." Later, after departing the bar and during the return trip to the Gilkey farm in an automobile, Roman fired his revolver from an open window of the moving vehicle.
On Sunday, October 8, 1973, Roman, Zillgitt and Tina Kendell went back into Ohio and returned with a John Messer, a member of The Breed, who had not been attending the required meetings. When Messer arrived, Mary Gilkey, her children and Tina Kendell were told to leave the house because the club had some private business. Later, when Mrs. Gilkey returned she saw Messer's face was bloody, bruised and swollen. She also saw Messer being beaten by Roman, Gilkey, Zillgitt and Howell. She also saw Roman use his revolver to fire a series of bullets into the wall behind Messer, outlining his head, and into the floor near Messer's feet. Later she saw Messer being escorted from ...