Jerry Zaslow, Philadelphia, Ronald T. Williamson, Paoli, 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. Jones, former C. J., took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. Nix, J., files a concurring opinion. Roberts, J., files a dissenting opinion in which Manderino, J., joins. Manderino, J., files a dissenting opinion.
Appellant, Alphonso Bridges, was tried by a judge sitting without a jury and was found guilty of murder of the third
degree for the beating-stabbing death of Gerald Flowers. Post-verdict motions were denied, and appellant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than two nor more than ten years in a state correctional institution. This appeal followed.
The facts surrounding this appeal are as follows. On January 20, 1975, James Gaddy and Daniel Lee, members of the "Clang Gang," solicited the decedent to buy a bottle of wine for them. This group proceeded to a state liquor store at Stenton and Ogontz Avenues in Philadelphia. Flowers entered the store while Gaddy and Lee remained outside. Before Flowers could buy the bottle of wine, members of "Sommerville," a rival gang, approached Gaddy and Lee. Both Gaddy and Lee urged Flowers to hurry, but these urgings went unheeded. The Sommerville Gang attacked Gaddy and Lee, during which attack Lee was stabbed.
After escaping from the Sommerville attack, Gaddy and Lee returned to a store located at 67th and Ogontz Avenue and telephoned for medical assistance for Lee. Gaddy and Lee decided that Flowers had delayed his departure from the state store in order to set them up for the Sommerville attack. Gaddy promised Lee that he would get Flowers. Upon leaving the store, Gaddy met four other members of the Clang Gang, appellant, Mark Savage, Miguel Garcia and Bernis Shelton. Gaddy informed the other gang members about the incident and then stated: "We're going to get him, now, going to go up and get him." The five then proceeded to search for Gerald Flowers. The Clang members encountered Flowers at 66th and Ogontz. Gaddy interrogated Flowers as to why he had delayed his departure from the state store and thus caused Lee's stabbing by the Sommerville gang. Flowers denied prolonging his stay in the store for the purpose of aiding the Sommerville gang to attack. This explanation was unsatisfactory to the Clang members. Flowers was then knocked down and all five individuals proceeded to punch and kick Flowers about the head and stomach. During the altercation Garcia pulled a knife and stabbed Flowers. The Clang gang was then
frightened away from the scene by the arrival of a mail truck. Flowers died shortly thereafter.
Appellant first argues that the Commonwealth failed to prove that he should be vicariously liable under § 306 of the Crimes Code for the death of Gerald Flowers. We do not agree.
Section 306 of the Crimes Code provides in pertinent part:
"(a) General rule. -- A person is guilty of an offense if it is committed by his own conduct or by the conduct of another person for which he is legally accountable, or both.
"(b) Conduct of another. -- A person is legally accountable for the conduct of another person when:
"(1) acting with the kind of culpability that is sufficient for the commission of the offense, he causes an innocent or irresponsible person to engage in such conduct;
"(2) he is made accountable for the conduct of such other person by this title or by the law defining the offense; or
"(3) he is an accomplice of such other person in the commission of the offense.
"(c) Accomplice defined. -- A person is an accomplice of another person in the ...