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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ANTONIO HORNE (07/14/78)

decided: July 14, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
ANTONIO HORNE, APPELLANT



No. 109 May Term, 1977, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, at No. 424 Criminal Division, 1977.

COUNSEL

Joshua D. Lock, Public Defender, for appellant.

Marion E. MacIntyre, Second Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ.

Author: Manderino

[ 479 Pa. Page 497]

OPINION OF THE COURT

On May 31, 1977, a jury found appellant, Antonio Lee Horne, guilty of murder of the third degree for the shooting death of seventeen-year-old Philip Robinson. Post-verdict motions were denied, and appellant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than seven nor more than fifteen years. This direct appeal followed. We now affirm the judgment of sentence.

Only two issues are raised. Appellant first argues that the prosecution's evidence is insufficient as a matter of law to support a conviction of murder of the third degree,

[ 479 Pa. Page 498]

    contending that the evidence is sufficient only to support a verdict of voluntary manslaughter. We must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, and the evidence is sufficient if, accepting as true all the evidence and all reasonable inferences upon which, if believed, the jury could have based its verdict, it is sufficient in law to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant is guilty of murder of the third degree. See, e. g., Commonwealth v. Motley, 472 Pa. 421, 372 A.2d 764 (1977); Commonwealth v. Pitts, 450 Pa. 359, 301 A.2d 646 (1973). Reviewing the record in this light, we are persuaded that the jury's verdict of murder of the third degree is supported by sufficient evidence.

The prosecution's evidence established that early on the evening of February 19, 1977, appellant and the deceased Philip Robinson engaged in a brief altercation, including the deceased twice hitting appellant with a large stick as appellant sought to walk away from the fight. Later that evening, appellant and the deceased inadvertently met at a Harrisburg bar. The two went outside the bar, some obscenities were exchanged, and appellant pulled out a .22-caliber handgun and fired three shots toward the deceased. The third shot hit the deceased in the eye, causing brain damage and death.

Appellant argues that he can be found guilty of no more than voluntary manslaughter because he was acting under a sudden and intense passion as a result of serious provocation by the decedent at the time of the shooting. Appellant claims he acted in self-defense. The jury found otherwise, and we are satisfied there was ample evidence to support that finding.

There was no dispute that appellant was the only one of the two armed with a firearm; the deceased had only an empty wine bottle which he picked up sometime prior to the third shot being fired. The trial court, after various eyewitnesses pointed out on a chart the relative position of the deceased and appellant at the ...


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