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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CHRISTOPHER E. MARTIN (10/05/78)

decided: October 5, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
CHRISTOPHER E. MARTIN, APPELLANT (TWO CASES)



No. 543 January Term, 1976, No. 22 January Term, 1977, Appeal from the Judgments of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, Trial Division, Criminal Section, at Nos. 226,227, 228, 231 September Sessions, 1975

COUNSEL

Manuel Grife, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Edward G. Rendell, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Deputy Dist. Atty. for Law, Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Div., Glen Gitomer, Philadelphia, for appellee.

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

Author: Eagen

[ 481 Pa. Page 517]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Christopher E. Martin, was convicted after a jury trial in Philadelphia of murder of the second degree and robbery of Willie Keaton, of attempted robbery of Jerome White, and of criminal conspiracy to commit the foregoing crimes. Martin was sentenced to life imprisonment on the murder conviction to run concurrently with a sentence of not less than five nor more than fifteen years imprisonment on the robbery charge. Sentence on the other convictions was suspended. These appeals followed.*fn1

The evidence presented at trial, viewed in a light most favorable to the Commonwealth as the verdict winner, establishes the following:

On July 13, 1975, between 1:00 and 1:30 a. m., the decedent, Keaton, and White left together from a bar on the corner of Twenty-eighth and York Streets, Philadelphia.

[ 481 Pa. Page 518]

While they were walking near the intersection of Newkirk and Cumberland Streets, a short distance from the bar, they were approached from behind and White heard a voice say, "Give it up." White understood "it" to mean money. White turned around to find himself confronted by Martin who attacked him and prevented him from going to the aid of Keaton who was under attack from three or four other males. White was able to break away from Martin and ran for his aunt's house around the corner, but was stabbed in his left arm by Martin just before he fled. White's aunt called the police and, upon returning five minutes later to the place where Keaton and he had been attacked, Keaton was found lying on the ground, bleeding, trouser pockets inside out, his wallet and papers strewn about, and some small change beneath the wallet. The police arrived and found Keaton lying in a pool of blood. He was taken to the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital and pronounced dead upon arrival. The cause of Keaton's death was determined to be stab wounds of his right front chest, left arm, and mid-back.

In these appeals, Martin contends that his motion in arrest of judgment should have been granted since the evidence was insufficient to sustain guilty verdicts, and that he is entitled to a new trial on the grounds that the circumstances of the pretrial photographic identification made by White was violative of his constitutional right to due process, and that the subsequent in-court identification was tainted by the prior out-of-court identification.

In regard to Martin's first contention challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, our standard is whether, viewing all the evidence admitted at trial in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth and drawing all reasonable inferences favorable to the Commonwealth, there is sufficient evidence to enable the trier of fact to find every element of the crime(s) charged. Commonwealth v. Bastone, 466 Pa. 548, 552, 353 A.2d 827, 829 (1976). In the ...


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