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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. MARY BELLE FIRTH (HEININGER) (07/14/78)

decided: July 14, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
MARY BELLE FIRTH (HEININGER), APPELLANT



No. 71 May Term, 1977, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence imposed February 18, 1977 by the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal, for the County of York, at No. 1202 August Sessions, 1974.

COUNSEL

Thompson J. McCullough, Asst. Public Defender, for appellant.

John C. Uhler, Dist. Atty., Floyd P. Jones, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.

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

Author: O'brien

[ 479 Pa. Page 335]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Mary Belle Firth, was convicted by a jury of murder of the third degree. Post-verdict motions were denied and appellant was sentenced to four to eight years' imprisonment. This direct appeal followed.

Appellant claims that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the conviction for murder of the third degree. We do not agree.

The facts are as follows. In late August, 1974, appellant discovered that she was pregnant. The alleged father, Bobby Nave, also the victim in this case, had told appellant he was a widower living with his sister. Appellant discovered, however, that he was married and living with his wife.

On September 7, 1974, appellant decided to confront Nave and his wife. Since she did not have a car, she went to Frank's Cafe in York, Pennsylvania to find a ride to Nave's house in New Freedom, Pennsylvania. While in the tavern, appellant drank four double shots of ginger brandy and two beers. She then was offered a ride to Lamotie's Cafe, which was next door to Nave's house. There she drank another beer and then bought a six pack of beer to take to the Nave's residence.

For the next two hours, appellant and the Naves drank the beer and some wine and argued. Appellant finally asked to be driven home. The trio left for appellant's home, stopping for a six pack of beer along the way. After arriving at appellant's house, the three went inside and continued their drinking.

At some time during the evening, appellant secured a rifle and was sitting with the gun on her lap. The victim's wife went upstairs to use the bathroom and upon returning downstairs saw her husband lying on a bed, writhing in ...


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