Nos. 399 and 430 January Term 1977, Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, Trial Division, Criminal Section, at Nos. 101-105, September Sessions 1976.
Edward G. Rendell, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Deputy Dist. Atty. for Law, Gaile McLauglin Barthold, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellant.
Robert B. Mozenter, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Manderino, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Pomeroy and Larsen, JJ., file dissenting opinions.
These appeals*fn1 were entered by the Commonwealth*fn2 from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia granting defendant David Stokes' motion to suppress certain incriminatory statements given to the police following his arrest. The court below ordered suppression of Stokes' statements on the basis that this evidence was the product of an illegal arrest. We agree and, accordingly, affirm the order.
The charges against Stokes arose out of the robbery and fatal shooting of John J. Meehan at 1133 N. 63rd Street, Philadelphia, on July 1, 1976.
On August 14, 1976, Detective Terrence Gibbs was assigned primary responsibility for investigating Meehan's death. That same day Detective Gibbs stopped a youth named Gregory Staulings on a street corner to ask if he knew anything about the Meehan Killing. Staulings told Detective Gibbs that he had been told by another youth, one Anthony Ramsey, that David Stokes had told Ramsey that "he and some other guys had got a body up on 63rd Street." Subsequently, Staulings gave a written statement at homicide headquarters.
On August 15, 1976, Detective Gibbs dispatched Sergeant Richard Strohm to question seventeen-year-old Anthony Ramsey about the Meehan killing. At about 5:00 p. m., in the presence of his mother at their home, Ramsey confirmed Staulings' information and added that Stokes had told him "they had shot the white man on 63rd Street when they were out to rob somebody and that the man died." Further, Ramsey said that Stokes had asked him not to tell anyone. Ramsey and his mother were taken to police headquarters where Ramsey gave a statement which was signed by Ramsey and his mother.
Solely on the basis of the information provided by Gregory Staulings and Anthony Ramsey, Detective Strohm concluded there was probable cause to arrest Stokes.*fn3 At 5:10 p. m., he radioed Detective Gibbs to make the arrest. At 5:15 p. m., Detective Gibbs and Officer Barlow went to Stokes' residence where they arrested him without a warrant in the presence of his father and sister and, thereafter, transported him to homicide headquarters. Stokes' subsequent oral and ...