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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN MONELLI (01/29/76)

decided: January 29, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOHN MONELLI, JR., APPELLANT



COUNSEL

Patrick J. Flannery, Asst. Public Defender, Wilkes-Barre, for appellant.

Patrick J. Toole, Jr., Dist. Atty., Wilkes-Barre, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Manderino, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Roberts, J., joins.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 465 Pa. Page 300]

OPINION

Judgment of sentence affirmed.

MANDERINO, Justice (dissenting).

I dissent since the appellant should be granted a new trial.

On January 9, 1973, John Monelli, Jr., the appellant, was arrested for the murders of his wife, Emily Monelli, and a caseworker for the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare, Reverend W. Lewis Jones. Appellant was convicted of first degree murder in the case of his wife, and second degree murder in the case of Reverend Jones. Post-verdict motions were filed and denied, and this appeal followed.

In a tape recorded statement given by appellant to the police, the following facts were established:

On the morning of January 9, 1973, appellant, his wife and two children were residing with his wife's parents, where they had been staying for about two and one-half weeks, because of a water problem of some kind at their home. Appellant stayed home from work because he did not feel well. Appellant and his wife had an argument about staying at his in-laws' home. Appellant wanted his wife to return to their home with him. She complained about the lack of heat and coal at their home. She was angry because the appellant had not gone to look at another house several days earlier as he had promised. Appellant complained to his wife that she stayed at her mother's home too often. He wanted her to return home with him and also complained that he thought the environment in that neighborhood was not good for his children.

[ 465 Pa. Page 301]

Failing to persuade his wife, appellant did what he said he frequently did after similar arguments; he went to a local tavern where he spent several hours drinking. He arrived at the tavern at 11:15 a. m., and remained until 1:30 p.m., during which time he consumed three shots of blackberry brandy and ten glasses of beer. Returning to his wife, appellant learned that she had secured employment and was to go to work that afternoon. He became angry because he did not want her to work and said that there would be nobody to watch their children that afternoon since his mother-in-law would not be at home. Appellant again left and went to his own home where he picked up and loaded his hunting rifle, drank a glass of beer and walked back with the rifle to his inlaws' home, intending to shoot his wife. When he arrived there, he found his wife talking to Reverend Jones, a caseworker for the Department of Welfare. Appellant thought he was a relief investigator because the appellant was on partial relief. Appellant asked his wife to return home with him, but she refused. Reverend Jones stood up and appellant shot him and then his wife. Appellant said that he felt sorry for what ...


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