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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DARRELL TAYLOR (03/16/77)

decided: March 16, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
DARRELL TAYLOR, APPELLANT (TWO CASES)



COUNSEL

Edward G. Rendell, Philadelphia, for appellant.

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

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Roberts, Nix and Manderino, JJ., concurred in the result. Jones, former C. J., did not participate in the decision of this case.

Author: Eagen

[ 472 Pa. Page 8]

OPINION

Darrell Taylor was convicted by a jury in Philadelphia of murder of the second degree, robbery, and possession of instruments of crime and prohibited offensive weapons. Post-verdict motions were denied by a court en banc. Thereafter, judgments of sentence of life imprisonment and not less than five nor more than fifteen years imprisonment were imposed on the murder and robbery convictions respectively. Judgment of sentence on the other conviction was suspended. These appeals followed.*fn1

Taylor advances four assignments of error as grounds for a new trial. Since we agree a new trial is required, we shall discuss only two: that which mandates a new trial and the admissibility of an incriminatory statement given by Taylor to police.*fn2 The latter will undoubtedly be at issue in any further proceeding, accordingly, the interest of advancing the efficient administration of justice compels discussion of it here. Commonwealth v. Smith, 470 Pa. 220, 368 A.2d 272 (1977).

Prior to trial, a suppression hearing was held and the court ruled evidentiary use of the statement would be permitted at trial. Taylor argues this ruling was erroneous and the introduction of the statement into evidence at trial violated his rights because: 1) the statement is

[ 472 Pa. Page 9]

    the product of an illegal arrest; 2) the statement is the product of unnecessary delay between arrest and arraignment; and, 3) the statement was involuntarily given.

Because the suppression court determined the statement was admissible, in reviewing each of Taylor's contentions in regard thereto, we may consider only the evidence presented by the Commonwealth and so much of the evidence for the defense, as fairly read in the context of the record as a whole, remains uncontradicted. Commonwealth v. Johnson, 467 Pa. 146, 354 A.2d 886 (1976); Commonwealth v. Goodwin, 460 Pa. 516, 333 A.2d 892 (1975). So viewed, the record establishes the following:

On August 30, 1974, a robbery took place at a food market at 1632 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia. While the robbery was in progress, Elaine Jackson was fatally shot by the felon. Detective Scanzello was assigned to investigate the case and spoke with Joseph Clarke, Jackson's fifteen-year-old grandson, on the same day of the occurrence. Clarke told Scanzello that he was in the market when the crimes took place; that the robber was a "Negro male, approximately 5'6", . . . light complexioned, and small frame;"*fn3 that he (Clarke) ran out of the market to get his mother, Jackson's daughter, while the robbery was in progress; that, when he returned to the market, he saw the robber "run down Ridge Avenue and turn into Francis Street, a street that intersects with Ridge, and as he was running down the street,

[ 472 Pa. Page 10]

    he was stuffing money up under his jacket." Clarke did not identify Taylor as the perpetrator at any time prior to Taylor's arrest.

On September 2, 1974, Scanzello interviewed Michael Franklin at the Police Administration Building. Franklin, a 21-year-old male, told Scanzello that on the day of the robbery and shooting he had been walking down the street when he saw a man he knew as "Darrell hiding in the alley at Leland and Francis Streets, and that . . . he saw a wad of money stuffed in [Darrell's] pants pocket, and Darrell was peeking out of the alley, and the bus came and Darrell ran from the alley and caught the bus and left, and he said he then continued to the food market and found out that subsequently -- that [Jackson] had died, and other people had been in the store."

Franklin told Scanzello that he knew where "Darrell" lived although he did not know the street number. Scanzello went with Franklin to Hunting Park Avenue, and Franklin pointed out "Darrell's" residence. Scanzello subsequently determined Darrell Taylor lived in the residence. Scanzello obtained a photograph of Taylor and showed it to Franklin. Franklin then identified Taylor as the man he saw hiding in the alley.

Scanzello also obtained physical descriptions of the robber from numerous persons who were eyewitnesses and information about the direction in which he fled, i. e. down Ridge onto Francis and then onto Leland, from persons who viewed the flight. All of this information led him to believe Taylor was the felon.

It was also established that Ridge Avenue runs parallel to Leland and that Francis Street intersects both Leland and Ridge, and that Francis Street intersects Ridge approximately one and one-half blocks from the market.

Scanzello reported his findings to a superior in the police department, and requested that Taylor be arrested by detectives working a day shift. As a result, Detective

[ 472 Pa. Page 11]

Verbrugghe was ordered to "pick up" Taylor and he did so at 7:00 a.m. on September 4, 1974. The arrest was made without a warrant.

Taylor was transported to the Police Administration Building by Verbrugghe and Detective McMillan. Taylor arrived there at 7:45 a.m. and was taken to the homicide division. At 7:53 a.m., Taylor was placed in an interview room and searched. Taylor was then asked if he wanted anything to eat but indicated he only wanted coffee. He was given coffee and then left alone until 8:12 a.m. At the time, Verbrugghe and McMillan entered the room. Taylor told them he was twenty-one years of age and also gave the officers his address, date of birth, place of employment and social security number. Verbrugghe advised Taylor that he was being questioned with regard to the "homicide by shooting of Elaine Jackson, forty-seven, Negro female, residence, 1534 Parrish Street, and the robbery of a Premier Food Market that occurred on Friday, August 30, 1974, inside the food market." Taylor was advised of his constitutional rights but indicated he did not wish to remain silent and did not wish to have a lawyer present. An interview followed during which Taylor denied any knowledge of the crimes but consented to a polygraph test. At 8:31 a.m. this interview concluded. Taylor then read and signed a polygraph examination agreement.

Taylor was left alone until a polygraph examination room became available. At 9:10 a.m., he was taken to a polygraph examination room. An examination was administered and concluded at 10:30 a.m. At that time, Taylor was taken to a lavatory and given water. At 10:36 a.m., Taylor was taken to an interview room. Verbrugghe then told Taylor he had failed the polgraph examination and read each question and answer which was asked and given during the polygraph ...


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