John H. Chronister, York, for appellant.
Morrison B. Williams, Deputy Dist. Atty., York, for appellee.
Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Nix, JJ. Manderino, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
Appellant was convicted by a jury of voluntary manslaughter for the slaying of his paramour, Janet ("Peggy") Payne. Following the denial of post-verdict motions he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of from three to eight years in a state correctional institution. This direct appeal followed.
1. Sufficiency of evidence
The first question presented is whether the evidence is sufficient to sustain the verdict of voluntary manslaughter.*fn*
Our test for passing on the sufficiency of the evidence is well-known: "'[T]he test of sufficiency of evidence is whether accepting as true all the evidence, together with all reasonable inferences therefrom upon which the jury could properly have based its verdict, such evidence and inferences are sufficient in law to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.'" Commonwealth v. Carbonetto, 455 Pa. 93, 95, 314 A.2d 304, 305 (1974). See also Commonwealth v. Green, 464 Pa. 557, 347 A.2d 682 (1975); Commonwealth v. Long, 460 Pa. 461, 333 A.2d 386 (1975); Commonwealth v. Clark, 454 Pa. 329, 311 A.2d 910 (1973); Commonwealth v. Oates, 448 Pa. 486, 295 A.2d 337 (1972). In addition, we are to consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as the verdict winner. Commonwealth v. Green, supra; Commonwealth v. Rife, 454 Pa. 506, 509, 312 A.2d 406 (1973); Commonwealth v. Rankin, 441 Pa. 401, 404, 272 A.2d 886 (1971). Viewed with these requirements in mind, we have concluded that the evidence at trial was sufficient to sustain appellant's conviction.
The evidence established that on May 5, 1973, the defendant several times struck Peggy Payne on the head during the course of a domestic quarrel. As a result of this beating, Miss Payne was hospitalized for four days. At the time of her admission, she complained of sleepiness, headache and general lethargy. The admitting physician testified that he observed that she had bruises below and behind her right eye, tenderness behind her ear on the right side and bleeding into the white of her left eye. After it was determined that Miss Payne had not suffered a concussion, she was discharged from the
hospital. She was readmitted to the hospital on or about May 23, 1973, in a semi-comatose state. On May 27, 1973 she was examined by a neuro-surgeon, Dr. Steven Malina, who, following various tests, determined that she was afflicted with a subdural hematoma, or thick blood clot, on the right frontal portion of the brain. An operation was performed on that date to remove the clot. ...