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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. PAUL VALDERRAMA (07/14/78)

decided: July 14, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
PAUL VALDERRAMA, APPELLANT (TWO CASES)



Nos. 155 and 169 January Term, 1978, Appeals from Judgments of Sentence dated November 18, 1975, of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Trial Division, of Philadelphia, at Nos. 32, 34 and 35 September Term, 1974.

COUNSEL

David Weinstein, Philadelphia, for appellant.

F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., Deborah E. Glass, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Pomeroy, J., files a dissenting opinion. Jones, former C. J., took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: O'brien

[ 479 Pa. Page 503]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Paul Valderrama, was convicted in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia of murder of the first degree, rape and criminal conspiracy. Post-verdict motions were filed and denied. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder conviction and three-to-twenty years for the rape conviction, the sentences to run concurrently. Sentence was suspended on the conspiracy conviction. He now appeals the judgment of sentence for murder to this court. He appealed the other judgments to the Superior Court, which certified them to this court for disposition.

Appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction for murder of the first degree. We do not agree.

In Commonwealth v. Rose, 463 Pa. 264, 267-68, 344 A.2d 824, 825-826 (1975), we stated the following standard of review for determining sufficiency of evidence:

"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. Commonwealth v. Robson, 461 Pa. 615, 625, 337 A.2d 573, 578 (1975); Commonwealth v. Boyd, 461 Pa. 17, 24, 334 A.2d 610, 613 (1975); Commonwealth v. Murray, 460 Pa. 605, 608, 334 A.2d 255, 257 (1975). Moreover, it is the province of the trier of fact to pass upon the credibility of witnesses and the weight to be accorded the evidence produced. Commonwealth v. Robson, supra; Commonwealth v. Murray, supra; Commonwealth v. Smith, 457 Pa. 638, 326 A.2d 60, 61 (1974); Commonwealth v. Paquette, 451 Pa. 250, 257, 301 A.2d 837, 841 (1973). The fact-finder is free to believe all, part, or none of the evidence. Commonwealth v. Robson, supra; Commonwealth v. Smith, supra."

[ 479 Pa. Page 504]

Viewing the evidence in the above light, the facts are as follows. Margaret Haderahan and her boyfriend, Kevin Wolf, went by car to the grounds of the Philadelphia Art Museum at approximately 11:00 p. m. on June 26, 1973, where they parked and fell asleep. During the early morning hours of June 27, they were awakened by six men who forced their way into the car. Four of them took Haderahan to a nearby wooded area and raped her. They then joined the other two, who had Wolf near a pool in front of the museum. Four men held Wolf under water in the pool until he drowned.

Haderahan was unable to identify any of the perpetrators. The only evidence linking appellant to the crime was the testimony of Juan Garcia, who admitted taking part in it and implicated appellant along with Juan Marrera, Miguel Rivera, and Fidel and Israel Santiago. He identified himself, appellant, Rivera and Fidel Santiago as having raped Haderahan and Marrera, Rivera and the Santiagos as having drowned Wolf. This evidence, when ...


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