George A. Heitczman, Bethlehem, for appellant.
Charles H. Spaziani, Dist. Atty., Nicholas M. Zanakos, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.
Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Eagen, C. J., dissented. Pomeroy, J., filed a dissenting opinion. Jones, former C. J., took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
Appellant, Roy Wayne Graver, was tried by a judge and jury and convicted of three counts of voluntary manslaughter. No post-verdict motions were filed, and appellant
was sentenced to three consecutive prison terms of two to four years. Appellant subsequently petitioned the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County to be allowed to file post-verdict motions, nunc pro tunc. The request was granted and post-verdict motions were filed and later denied. This appeal followed.
Appellant argues that the court below erred in refusing to suppress his confession. Appellant contends that his confession should have been suppressed because the Commonwealth failed to show he had effectively waived his constitutional rights before giving the statement. We agree and grant appellant a new trial.
The facts pertinent to the above issue are as follows. At the time of the incident, appellant was a seventeen-year-old minor. The homicides occurred on January 10, 1974. During the next five days, appellant was questioned by police as part of their general investigation surrounding the homicides. On January 16, 1974, appellant was given his Miranda warning, which he waived. Appellant however made no inculpatory statement. Both appellant and his mother were questioned as suspects in connection with the above homicides. The police told appellant and his mother not to discuss their questioning with each other. The following day at 10:00 a. m., appellant and his mother were taken to the state police barracks. At 4:30 p. m., appellant, while separated from his mother, was again given his Miranda rights, which he waived. After approximately one and one-half hours of questioning, appellant admitted shooting the three victims.
In Commonwealth v. Chaney, 465 Pa. 407, 350 A.2d 829 (1975), this court stated:
". . . this court has in Commonwealth v. McCutchen, 463 Pa. 90, 343 A.2d 669 (1975); Commonwealth v. Starkes, 461 Pa. 178, 335 A.2d 698 (1975) and ...