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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. KENNETH N. NICKOL (12/23/77)

decided: December 23, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
KENNETH N. NICKOL, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

Michael J. Cefalo, Public Defender, Bruce S. Miller and Joseph F. Sklarosky, Asst. Public Defenders, for appellant.

Thomas J. Glenn, Jr., Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Packel, JJ. Roberts, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Manderino, J., joins.

Author: Pomeroy

[ 476 Pa. Page 77]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Kenneth Nickol, was convicted on January 24, 1975, in a non-jury trial of murder of the second degree, robbery and carrying a firearm without a license. Following denial of post-trial motions, appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment on the murder charge and to terms of imprisonment of seven and one-half to fifteen years on the robbery count and one to two years on the firearms conviction (the two latter sentences to run consecutively). These appeals followed.*fn1 We affirm the judgments of sentence.

The record discloses that on April 4, 1974, the appellant, his brother David, William Angelo and Debra Busse Knorr arrived at a supermarket in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in an automobile driven by Knorr. The vehicle stopped alongside the market and the driver kept the motor running while appellant entered the store. Once inside, Nickol proceeded to the manager's booth where he produced a gun and demanded that a paper bag be filled with money. The manager, Michael Grozio, observed these events and gave

[ 476 Pa. Page 78]

    chase to the appellant as he fled the store. Outside the store, Nickol ordered Grozio to stop, and fired a warning shot in the air; the manager, however, continued in pursuit. Nickol then turned and fired three or four shots at Grozio, fatally wounding him. Nickol rejoined his companions in the waiting car and the four drove to Hazelton, where they were apprehended by police the next morning. Nickol, however, escaped arrest and remained at large until his capture by FBI agents on July 9, 1974, in Fort Collins, Colorado. The appellant waived extradition and on July 17 was returned to Luzerne County where he was tried and convicted.

Three errors are alleged to have been made pretrial by the court of common pleas which require a new trial or a discharge. It is also claimed that judgment should be arrested on the weapons offense for insufficient evidence. We find no merit in any of these contentions.

(1) Appellant's first contention is that an oral statement given to police shortly after his arrest in Colorado should have been suppressed as the result of an unnecessary delay between arrest and arraignment. Pa.R.Crim.P. 130;*fn2 Commonwealth v. Futch, 447 Pa. 389, 290 A.2d 417 (1972).

The Luzerne County district attorney's office was notified of appellant's arrest on July 11, 1974, and undertook preparations to have Nickol returned. On July 15, three Wilkes-Barre police officers flew to Colorado, and on the following morning met with Nickol in the coffee room of the Lattimer County Colorado Prison. Nickol was advised of his constitutional rights, and waived them, subject to the condition that anything he said would not be written down or taped. Almost immediately after starting to talk, Nickol confessed to the robbery and the shooting of ...


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