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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RUSSELL FLEWELLEN (12/23/77)

decided: December 23, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
RUSSELL FLEWELLEN, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

Lester G. Nauhaus, John H. Corbett, Jr., Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Robert E. Colville, Dist. Atty., Robert L. Eberhardt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Packel, JJ. Eagen, C. J., concurred in the result.

Author: Roberts

[ 475 Pa. Page 443]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, tried for murder, voluntary manslaughter and robbery, was convicted by a jury of voluntary manslaughter. After post-verdict motions were denied, the court sentenced him to imprisonment of five to ten years. The issue on this appeal*fn1 is whether the court erred in refusing to suppress evidence as the fruit of an illegal arrest.*fn2 We affirm.

[ 475 Pa. Page 444]

I

Sometime between 11:30 p. m., June 13, 1975, and 1:00 a. m., June 14, 1975, Thomas Kennedy was killed by a crushing blow to the skull apparently inflicted with a large piece of concrete found lying bloodstained beside the body. The victim's pockets had been turned out. A witness interviewed between 2:00 a. m. and 3:00 a. m. told police that she had observed two men scuffling in the place where the body was discovered. According to the witness, one of the men, wearing a tan suit, crossed the street after the disturbance and entered the building in which appellant lived.

Around 3:00 a. m., the officer in charge of the investigation dispatched several officers to question the residents of appellant's building. The officers went to the building, knocked, and were admitted by one of the residents, Mr. Everett. They asked Everett if he knew anything about the killing and if anyone else was in the building. Everett professed ignorance of the killing, but said that three others, including appellant, lived on the premises. The police then inquired at each door on the first and second floors, after which they knocked at appellant's apartment on the third floor. Appellant, dressed for bed, allowed the officers to enter.

Appellant stated that he knew nothing of the killing, claiming that he had been out jogging. He also mentioned that while running he had lost his watch and, discovering the loss when he returned, had gone out again in the vicinity in which the body was found to search for the timepiece. He did not find the watch and went to bed about 12:30 a. m. During this conversation, the police noticed a tan suit draped over a chair.

After the investigating officers returned to the police station around 4:35 a. m., they ...


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