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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JAMES H. CARPENTER (04/28/77)

decided: April 28, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JAMES H. CARPENTER, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

Michael J. Stack, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellant.

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

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

Author: Eagen

[ 472 Pa. Page 512]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, James Carpenter, was convicted by a jury of murder of the third degree. Post-verdict motions were denied and a sentence of not less than seven and one-half nor more than fifteen years imprisonment was imposed. This direct appeal followed.

Carpenter asserts several trial errors which he urges require reversal of the judgment and the grant of a new

[ 472 Pa. Page 513]

    trial. We do not agree and for the reasons stated herein, we affirm the judgment of sentence.

The charges arose from the stabbing death of one Beatrice Wheeler in her residence at 1312 Fitzwater Street, Apartment 11-D, in Philadelphia on June 8, 1974. A brief review of the principal evidence will be helpful in understanding the specific errors asserted by Carpenter.

The Commonwealth initially put on Officer Lester Williams, a security guard for the Philadelphia Housing Authority, who was on duty at the Fitzwater Street housing project on the evening of June 8, 1974. Williams testified that at approximately 10:30 p. m. he saw Carpenter and the victim's four-year-old grandson entering the apartment building at 1312 Fitzwater Street. At approximately 11:05 p. m. Williams received a call at the Housing Authority headquarters about a disturbance at apartment 11-D, 1312 Fitzwater Street. He proceeded to that apartment, where he found the victim's body lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood. A large butcher knife was found on the floor next to the body.*fn1 Williams further testified various members of the victim's family, including her husband [Julius Wheeler], were present at the apartment when he arrived. Williams also related that he had known Carpenter for approximately seven months at that time, that Carpenter and the victim had been living together, and that he [Williams] had been called to apartment 11-D on numerous occasions to quell domestic disturbances between

[ 472 Pa. Page 514]

Carpenter and the victim. According to Williams, on at least two of those occasions the victim ...


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