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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WILLIAM HENRY BROWN (07/08/77)

decided: July 8, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
WILLIAM HENRY BROWN, APPELLEE



COUNSEL

Robert E. Coville, Dist. Atty., Robert L. Eberhardt, Charles W. Johns, Asst. Dist. Attys., Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Paul R. Gettlemen, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Packel, JJ.

Author: Eagen

[ 473 Pa. Page 459]

OPINION

This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County quashing two related indictments. Appellee, William Henry Brown, was indicted by a grand jury on December 16, 1975, for murder and voluntary manslaughter in connection with the death of one Robert Maloney. The grand jury also returned an indictment against Brown on January 12, 1976, for conspiracy to commit murder in connection with Maloney's death. On May 26, 1976, Brown filed a motion to quash the indictments*fn1 and the trial court issued a rule upon the Commonwealth to show cause why the motion should not be granted. On June 7,

[ 473 Pa. Page 4601976]

, the trial court granted the motion to quash. This appeal by the Commonwealth followed.*fn2

The indictment charging murder alleged that on or about May 28, 1975, Brown "in and upon the body of one Robert Maloney . . . unlawfully and feloniously did make an assault, and then and there unlawfully and feloniously did intentionally kill and murder the said Robert Maloney . . . ." With respect to voluntary manslaughter, the indictment similarly alleged Brown ". . . feloniously did voluntarily without lawful justification kill and slay the said Robert Maloney . . . ."

The indictment charging conspiracy to commit murder alleged that on or about May 28, 1975, Brown "did conspire and agree with one William Long, Dwayne Baskin and one Frank McKeithen that they or one or more of them would engage in conduct which constituted the offense of [m]urder or of an attempt or solicitation to commit the same, and pursuant to said unlawful conspiracy as aforesaid and in furtherance thereof, the said William Henry Brown, William Long, Dwayne Baskin and Frank McKeithen . . . entered a motor vehicle operated by the said William Henry Brown and proceeded to seek the whereabouts of the said Robert Maloney in the Hill District of the City of Pittsburgh, where he was subsequently located in the 1600 block of Fifth Avenue, whereupon the said WILLIAM LONG left the motor vehicle and after addressing some remarks to the said Robert Maloney shot him five times with a hand gun resulting in his death . . . ."

Two weeks prior to entering the order quashing the indictments against Brown, the same trial judge who

[ 473 Pa. Page 461]

    granted the motion to quash presided over the jury trial of William Long, who had also been charged with murder, voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with Maloney's death. In that prior proceeding, the trial court granted a demurrer to the conspiracy charge and the jury acquitted Long of the murder and manslaughter charges. In the instant case, the trial court concluded that as a result ...


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