Edward G. Rendell, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Marianne E. Cox, Asst. Dist. Atty., Mark Sendrow, Asst. Dist. Atty., Asst. Chief, Appeals Division, Steven H. Goldblatt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Division, Abraham J. Gafni, Deputy Dist. Atty. for Law, F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., for appellee.
Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ.
The appellant, Johnny Mobley, was found guilty of murder in the third degree and criminal conspiracy by a judge sitting without a jury. These appeals followed.*fn1 Appellants sole contention is that the evidence presented by the Commonwealth was insufficient as a matter of law to establish his guilt of conspiracy to commit murder.
The evidence produced at trial consisted of appellant's statement to the police*fn2 and the testimony of Cleveland Johnson, an eyewitness to the crime. This evidence indicated that on May 27, 1974, appellant and fellow members of the "Valley" gang were walking on a street in Philadelphia when they encountered members of the rival "Norris Street" gang. Words were exchanged and appellant and his friends became incensed at remarks made by members of the "Norris Street" gang concerning the killing of a "Valley" gang member the year before. Several members of the "Valley" gang shouted "Valley" and began chasing the "Norris Street" gang.
In his statement to the police, appellant admitted that he engaged in a fight with Cleveland Johnson, a member of the "Norris Street" gang. When this individual affray ended, appellant turned and saw his brother, Anthony, and four other members of the "Valley" gang beating the decedent, Stephen Harris. Appellant noticed his brother with a knife and was with him when he discarded it into a sewer, but he denied witnessing the actual stabbing.
Cleveland Johnson testified that appellant stabbed him with a knife and then joined the group assaulting Stephen Harris. He identified the appellant as the actual slayer. However, the Commonwealth volunteered that, based upon their information,*fn3 Johnson was mistaken on this latter point and that appellant's brother, Anthony, committed the actual stabbing. However, the Commonwealth did not discredit the other portions of Johnson's testimony which indicated that the appellant had participated in the homicide.*fn4
Our scope of review in considering claims regarding the sufficiency of the evidence is well-known: "'the 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. Green, 464 Pa. 557, 565, 347 A.2d 682, 686 (1975), quoting Commonwealth v. Carbonetto, 455 Pa. 93, 95, 314 A.2d 304, 305 (1974), and cases cited therein. Furthermore, we must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as verdict winner. Commonwealth v. Green, supra; Commonwealth v. Rife, 454 Pa. 506, 509, 312 A.2d 406, 408 (1973); Commonwealth v. Rankin, 441 Pa. 401, 404, 272
A.2d 886, 887 (1971). Viewed in this light, the evidence was sufficient to ...