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COMMONWEALTH v. BRANCH (03/29/76)

decided: March 29, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
BRANCH, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, April T., 1974, Nos. 2254 to 2259, inclusive, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Tyrone Branch.

COUNSEL

Michael J. McAllister, Thomas Joseph Mettee, and Gutman and McAllister, for appellant.

Hugh J. Colihan, Mark Sendrow, and Steven H. Goldblatt, Assistant District Attorneys, Abraham J. Gafni, Deputy District Attorney, and F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, P.j., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Cercone, J. Spaeth, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Cercone

[ 239 Pa. Super. Page 18]

The instant appeal arises from the same incident

[ 239 Pa. Super. Page 19]

    which prompted our opinion in Commonwealth v. Holman, 237 Pa. Superior Ct. 291 (1975). On the night of April 15, 1974, at about 11:00 P.M., Marie Tomlin, Ruth Dinowski and Mary Cara were standing on a corner at 4th Street and Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia. The three women had just attended a bingo game and were awaiting their bus to go home. Four men emerged from a nearby taproom and one of the men said, "Oh, there's some bingo money." At that point three of the four men attacked the women. Shortly thereafter the fourth man, appellant herein, joined the assault in an effort to aid his brother who was holding Mary Cara at gunpoint. Ultimately all the ladies lost their purses to the thieves who then fled together. Marie Tomlin had been knocked down and was bleeding from a head wound; Ruth Dinowski had been punched and her glasses were broken; and, Mary Cara had been struck and was rendered momentarily unconscious.

Moments after the assaults police arrived on the scene and, shortly thereafter, captured the four assailants together, not far from the scene of the crime. Appellant was holding Mary Cara's purse which contained $97.00.

As a result of the incident appellant was charged with and convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery and theft, robbery of Mary Cara, simple and aggravated assault on Marie Tomlin, robbery of Ruth Dinowski, and aggravated assault on Ruth Dinowski.*fn1 Judgments of sentence were imposed from which appellant filed the instant appeal, alleging: (1) That the evidence was insufficient to find him guilty of any of the crimes committed against Mrs. Dinowski and Mrs. Tomlin; and, (2) That appellant's identification in court was the product of unconstitutional pre-trial confrontations. We find no merit in these allegations and will affirm.

[ 239 Pa. Super. Page 20]

"The test for sufficiency of the evidence is 'whether, accepting as true all of the evidence, be it direct or circumstantial, and all reasonable inferences arising therefrom upon which, if believed, the trier of facts could properly have based the verdict, it is sufficient in law to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime or crimes of which he has been convicted'. . . ." Commonwealth v. Johnson, 458 Pa. 23, 24-25, 326 A.2d 315, 316 (1974); Commonwealth v. Hornberger, 441 Pa. 57, 60 (1970); Commonwealth v. Dawkins, 227 Pa. Superior Ct. 558, 322 A.2d 715 (1974).

Also, we must consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, the verdict winner. Commonwealth v. Armbruster, ...


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