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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GEORGE GRAY (07/08/77)

decided: July 8, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
GEORGE GRAY, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

Morton Krase, Philadelphia, for appellant.

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

Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Roberts and Manderino, JJ., concurred in the result. Jones, former C. J., took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: O'brien

[ 473 Pa. Page 427]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, George Gray, was tried by a judge and jury and convicted of voluntary manslaughter. Post-verdict motions were denied, and appellant was sentenced to a prison term of five to ten years. This appeal followed.

The facts of the crime are as follows. On May 26, 1974, two Philadelphia policemen were approached by Herbert Gibbs, who expressed concern for Patricia Courley, the victim. Gibbs told the officers he had not seen the victim for a few days. Gibbs and the officers went to the victim's residence in South Philadelphia, but they found the door locked. Gibbs and one officer left to find a pass key while the other officer stayed at Ms. Courley's door. He was approached by appellant, who asked if anything was wrong. Appellant started crying and walked away.

When the officers obtained a pass key, they entered the building and discovered the victim's partially decomposed body lying face down on the sofa. During their investigation, police discovered that appellant had been dating the victim. Further, a witness saw appellant fighting with the victim outside her house at 1:00 a. m. on May 24, two days earlier. The victim's nextdoor neighbor told police that she heard the victim and a man fighting at 1:30 a. m. on May 24. With this information, police arrested appellant.

Appellant first alleges that the indictment in the instant case contained a fatal defect. He believes this defect entitles him to a new trial. We do not agree.

The indictment in the instant case charged appellant with killing Ms. Courley "on or about May 26, 1974." At trial, the medical examiner testifed that the victim had been dead from one to four days when he examined the body at 1:00 p. m. on May 26. Appellant argues that

[ 473 Pa. Page 428]

    he believed the offense was committed on May 26 and prepared his defense on this basis. We believe, however, that ...


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