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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. REGINALD MCFADDEN (01/28/77)

decided: January 28, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
REGINALD MCFADDEN, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

Nino V. Tinari, Philadelphia, for appellant.

F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., Philadelphia, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Nix, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Pomeroy, J., joins in this opinion and filed a concurring opinion. Manderino, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Roberts, J., joins.

Author: Eagen

[ 470 Pa. Page 606]

OPINION OF THE COURT

The appellant, Reginald McFadden, was convicted by a jury of murder of the first degree, burglary, aggravated robbery, larceny and conspiracy.*fn1 A sentence of life imprisonment was imposed on the murder conviction and concurrent prison sentences were imposed on the burglary, robbery, larceny and conspiracy convictions. This one appeal followed.

The trial evidence established that McFadden, along with three other young males, entered the Philadelphia residence of sixty-year-old Sonia Rosenbaum, for the

[ 470 Pa. Page 607]

    purposes of theft. Mrs. Rosenbaum was forced to disclose the whereabouts of valuables in the house and was then bound and gagged. She suffocated and died as a result of the gag placed in her mouth.

During the second trial, evidence of oral incriminating admissions made by McFadden to the police was introduced into the record over objection. The sole question posed by this appeal is whether or not this evidence was properly admitted against the accused. The pertinent facts, as disclosed by the record, are these.

The burglary and other crimes here involved occurred on the night of December 7, 1969. Subsequently, McFadden's accomplices were taken into custody and implicated him. About 4:30 a. m. on December 11, the police went to the McFadden residence to take him into custody and to search the house.*fn2 When the officers knocked on the door, Mrs. McFadden, Reginald's mother, came to an upstairs bedroom window. The officers identified themselves and informed her of the purpose of their visit. Mrs. McFadden responded that she would come down to open the door but that Reginald was not at home since he was incarcerated in New York on a stolen car charge. Mrs. McFadden then went to the bedroom where Reginald slept, informed him that the officers were there to arrest him and advised him to flee.*fn3 She then went downstairs and opened the door.

In the meantime, Reginald hid in a closet until after the officers looked into his room. Then he went out an upstairs window onto a porch roof. However, he was

[ 470 Pa. Page 608]

    apprehended when he leaped to the ground. The apprehending officer brought Reginald inside the house for identification. His mother identified him as her son, Reginald.

Once police determined who he was, they promptly placed him under arrest. They informed him, while his mother stood immediately alongside, that he was under arrest for the murder of Sonia Rosenbaum and proceeded to inform him, also with his mother present, of his constitutional rights, as mandated by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). He was then handcuffed to a chair and left with his mother in the living room for approximately ten minutes while the officers completed their search of the house.*fn4

During the search of the house, the police officers found and confiscated a sum of money in excess of $600.*fn5 When Mrs. McFadden discovered that the money had been confiscated, she began to insist that the money be returned to her. After the search had been completed, Mrs. McFadden was informed that Reginald was to be taken to the Police Administration Building and Reginald was taken away. Several police officers remained at the home for a short time thereafter, and when they were leaving, they offered Mrs. McFadden, who was crying over the confiscation of her money, a ride to the Police Administration Building. She accepted and was ...


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