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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. KENNETH WAYNE SMITH (03/23/78)

decided: March 23, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
KENNETH WAYNE SMITH, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

David Schaumann, McNeal & Schaumann, York (Court-appointed), for appellant.

Donald L. Reihart, Dist. Atty., Floyd P. Jones, York, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Roberts, J., concurs in the result. Manderino, J., files a dissenting opinion.

Author: O'brien

[ 477 Pa. Page 507]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Kenneth Wayne Smith, was convicted by a jury of murder of the first degree. Post-verdict motions were denied and appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment. This appeal followed.

This case involves a conviction for murder of the first degree; therefore, we have an independent duty to review the sufficiency of the evidence. Act of February 15, 1870, P.L. 15, § 2, 19 P.S. § 1187. The facts are as follows.

On November 17, 1973, Charles Jeffers, the victim, was lured into a residence at 315 S. Queen Street, York, by Suzanne Grendall. Waiting inside the home were appellant, Raymond Johnson and Derek Spells. Once the victim was inside the residence, he was shot in the chest and stabbed numerous times. Death was caused either by the shotgun wound in the chest, or a deep stab wound in the chest, or both. These wounds were inflicted by Johnson. Appellant,

[ 477 Pa. Page 508]

    however, was responsible for at least three stab wounds to the victim's arm, neck and stomach. A next door neighbor heard the victim scream, "Oh my God, now you have killed me, Kenny." Appellant admitted furnishing the gun and being a participant in the killing, but claimed he acted under duress.

In Commonwealth v. Rose, 463 Pa. 264, 267-68, 344 A.2d 824, 825-26 (1975), we stated:

"The test of sufficiency of the evidence is whether, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth and drawing the proper inferences favorable to the Commonwealth, the trier of fact could reasonably have found that all of the elements of the crime had been established beyond a reasonable doubt. . . . Moreover, it is the province of the trier of fact to pass upon the credibility of witnesses and the weight to be accorded the ...


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