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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. HOWARD TINSLEY (01/29/76)

decided: January 29, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
HOWARD TINSLEY, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

Abraham T. Needleman, Gerald A. Stein, Needleman, Needleman, Tabb & Eisman, Philadelphia, for appellant.

F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., 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. Manderino J., concurs in the result.

Author: Nix

[ 465 Pa. Page 331]

OPINION

Appellant Howard Tinsley was tried and convicted of murder of the second degree by a judge sitting without a jury in the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County.*fn1 After the denial of post-trial motions, appellant was sentenced to two and one-half to ten years imprisonment.*fn2 This direct appeal followed.

Appellant contends that the Commonwealth's evidence was insufficient to support the conviction. In passing upon the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain a criminal conviction, the evidence must be read in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth. Commonwealth v. Caye, 465 Pa. 98, 348 A.2d 136 (1975); Commonwealth v. Williams, 458 Pa. 319, 326 A.2d 300, 302 (1974).

[ 465 Pa. Page 332]

Moreover, the test of the sufficiency of the evidence is whether, accepting as true all the evidence and all reasonable inferences therefrom, upon which if believed the trier of fact could properly have based its verdict, it is sufficient in law to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the crime or crimes of which he has been convicted. Commonwealth v. Cox, 460 Pa. 566, 333 A.2d 917, 918 (1975); Commonwealth v. Tillery, 457 Pa. 466, 467, 326 A.2d 329, 330 (1974).

The Commonwealth's principal witness, Ms. Josephine Hayes, testified that she was in her second floor bedroom at approximately 9:30 P.M., February 23, 1973, when she heard what sounded like gunshots in the street below. Within seconds she looked out her window and saw appellant running from the area where she observed Mr. Mealy, the victim. She watched as Mr. Mealy clutched his stomach, staggered and fell to the sidewalk.*fn3 The witness then observed appellant, holding a gun in his left hand, run back across the street past the deceased, enter his car which had been parked with the door opened and the motor running, and drive off. Ms. Hayes further testified that the street was well lighted, her view unobstructed, and that no one else was seen on either side of the street as these events transpired. The identification of appellant by Ms. Hayes was further strengthened by the fact that she knew appellant who lived in one of the homes across the street from her residence.

The ballistics expert testified that two bullets were retrieved from the body of the deceased and the four spent shell casings were found on the street and sidewalk. An examination revealed that the casings and bullets were fired from the same weapon.

The Commonwealth also established that a police bulletin was issued the night of the ...


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