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COMMONWEALTH v. AYERS (03/29/76)

decided: March 29, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
AYERS, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, May T., 1974, Nos. 656, 658, 660, and 661, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Donald Ayers.

COUNSEL

Ernest Kardas, Assistant Public Defender, and Kenneth P. Barrow, Public Defender, for appellant.

Anna Iwachiw Vadino, Ralph B. D'Iorio, and William J. Davies, Assistant District Attorneys, and Stephen J. McEwen, Jr., District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Price

[ 239 Pa. Super. Page 266]

On October 8, 1974, appellant-defendant Donald Ayers was convicted by a jury of burglary, aggravated assault, attempted murder, possession of a firearm without a license, and criminal conspiracy. On this appeal, appellant contends that the lower court erred in failing to suppress certain evidence. He also maintains that the evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to support his convictions. We find no merit to appellant's contentions, and, therefore, will affirm the judgment of sentence of the lower court.

The facts, read in a light most favorable to the verdict-winner, Commonwealth v. Young, 233 Pa. Superior Ct. 429, 335 A.2d 498 (1975), are as follows: On the morning of March 20, 1974, the victim, Martha C. Ferrell, was finishing her housework when she heard a knock at the door. Before she could respond to the door, the telephone rang. Mrs. Ferrell answered the telephone first. A woman on the other end of the line identified herself as a Mrs. Anderson, and informed Martha Ferrell that her (Mrs. Anderson's) husband was on his way to the Ferrell home to look at some antique cars owned by Mr. Ferrell. The caller then asked to be able to speak to her husband upon his arrival. Mrs. Ferrell told the caller that someone was presently at her door, and asked the caller to remain on the line while she answered it.

The person at the door turned out to be the appellant, who identified himself as Mr. Anderson, and Mrs. Ferrell led him to the phone. A conversation ensued between the caller and the appellant, out of Mrs. Ferrell's presence. When appellant finished his call, he and Mrs. Ferrell began to discuss antique cars. Mrs. Ferrell informed appellant that her husband did not keep his antique cars at home, which, to Mrs. Ferrell's surprise, seemed to drive appellant into a rage. He grabbed Mrs. Ferrell by the throat and began to choke her. Mrs. Ferrell managed to bite appellant severely on

[ 239 Pa. Super. Page 267]

    his gloved finger and appellant struck her on the head with a lamp, drawing blood. Finally, Mrs. Ferrell told appellant that he would not "get away with it" because he was being observed by a neighbor across the street. Upon hearing this, appellant ceased his attack. He asked for time to comb his hair, straighten his clothing, and regain his composure. Then, he left.

When appellant began to drive away, Mrs. Ferrell ran from her home, screaming that she had been attacked. A young neighbor, building a house across the street, heard her, saw the blood streaming from the wound on her head, and set out in pursuit of the fleeing appellant. He followed appellant long enough to identify the make, model and license number of appellant's automobile. Meanwhile, Mrs. Ferrell had summoned the Ridley Township Police, who arrived within minutes. When the neighbor returned to the Ferrell home, he gave his information to the police. The police radioed the information to their department, and the department issued a bulletin ordering police officers in the area to arrest the occupant of the vehicle. The bulletin contained a brief description of appellant and of the vehicle and stated that appellant was wanted on the charge of assault.

Minutes later, Officer Raymond Suydam of the Springfield Township Police Department observed the suspect vehicle pulling into the Sproul Shopping Center. The officer pulled into the parking lot and parked behind appellant's vehicle. Appellant saw the officer and got out of his car. He walked back towards the officer, carrying a briefcase in his hand. Officer Suydam told appellant to stand near his car and asked to see appellant's driver's license.

At that moment, Officer Jack Francis, also of the Springfield Township Police Department, arrived. Appellant handed his license and registration to Officer Francis, and Officer Francis then proceeded to frisk ...


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