Jerome E. Furman, Philadelphia, for appellant.
F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., Deborah E. Glass, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Former Chief Justice Jones did not participate in the decision of this case. Nix, J., concurs in the result.
Appellant James Taylor appeals from judgments of sentence entered after a jury convicted him of murder of the
first degree and aggravated robbery.*fn1 We reverse the judgment on both charges because a defense witness was improperly impeached by admissions of arrests which had not resulted in convictions.
Robert Morgan, a housepainter by trade, was beaten on September 1, 1971. He died of injuries two weeks later.
Shortly after the incident took place, police officers investigating the beating were called to a nearby State Liquor Store where appellant and a guard had been fighting. The guard had subdued appellant only by threatening him with a gun. The police arrested appellant and frisked him, taking a Byn brand watch from his pocket. The watch was flecked with what looked like paint. A warranty for Byn brand watch was found in Robert Morgan's wallet. When arrested, appellant's shoes and the bottom of his trousers were wet with what turned out to be type A blood. Robert Morgan had type A blood. Appellant did not.
About twenty-four hours passed between arrest and arraignment. During this time, appellant gave several ...