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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROBERT JOYNER (12/01/77)

decided: December 1, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ROBERT JOYNER, APPELLANT (TWO CASES)



COUNSEL

Joseph Michael Smith, Philadelphia, for appellant.

F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Richard A. Sprague, First Asst. Dist. Atty., David Richman, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., James T. Ranney, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Nix, JJ. Jones, former C. J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Manderino, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. O'Brien, J., files a dissenting opinion in which Roberts, J., joins.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 475 Pa. Page 347]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Robert Joyner, was tried by a judge and jury and was convicted of murder of the first degree, assault and battery, aggravated assault and battery, assault and battery with intent to murder, possession of explosives, carrying a concealed deadly weapon, unlawfully carrying a firearm without a license, and conspiracy. Post-verdict motions were denied and appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder conviction. Appellant was also sentenced to prison terms of three and one-half to seven years (assault and battery, aggravated assault and battery, and assault and battery with intent to murder), five to ten years (possession of explosives), one and one-half to three years

[ 475 Pa. Page 348]

(weapons offenses) and one to two years (conspiracy). All of the sentences were concurrent, except the possession of explosives sentence, which was to run consecutively to the sentence imposed on the murder conviction. This direct appeal followed.*fn1

Appellant's convictions result from the shooting death of Philadelphia Park Police Sergeant Francis Von Colln and wounding of Park Patrolman James Harrington during an "attack" on the Cobbs Creek Guardhouse of Fairmont Park. In this appeal, he raises various issues, but finding none to be of merit, we affirm.

Appellant first argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions. We do not agree, as the evidence presented at trial showed that appellant, his brother, Alvin Joyner, Richard Thomas, Frederick Burton, Hugh Williams, and Russell Shoats participated in the planning and carrying out of the attack which resulted in the death of Sergeant Van Colln and the serious wounding of Officer Harrington.

Appellant raises three issues concerning the admissibility of statements given by him to the police. The facts surrounding the statements are as follows. Appellant was arrested at 1:40 p. m., on August 30, 1970, the day after the incident. He was taken to the Police Administration Building and was placed in an interrogation room. At 2:50 p. m., appellant was given his full Miranda warnings, which he waived. He originally denied any complicity in the incident, but by 5:20 p. m., he began to make an inculpatory statement. Because the detectives had been on duty for over twenty-four hours, a stenographer was called in, who typed appellant's statement as he gave it. An eight-page "informal" statement was completed by 7:45 p. m. Following a polygraph examination, appellant gave a "formal" statement. One of the detectives read back appellant's informal statement and appellant made a few minor changes in the

[ 475 Pa. Page 349]

    wording.*fn2 Appellant was arraigned at 2:00 p. m., on August 31, some ...


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