No. 1 May Term, 1978, No. 114 May Term, 1977, Appeal from the Judgments of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, at Nos. 508 & 509 Criminal Division 1977.
Clarence C. Morrison, Harrisburg, for appellant at No. 114.
Marilyn C. Zilli, Asst. Public Defender, for appellant at No. 1.
Marion E. MacIntyre, 2nd Asst. Dist. Atty., Richard A. Lewis, Chief Deputy Dist. Atty., Jane G. Penny, Harrisburg, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Manderino, J., concurred in the result.
Appellants Odell Bradley and Carol Bradley, husband and wife, were convicted after a jury trial of murder of the third degree. Post-trial motions were filed, argued and denied, and this direct appeal followed.*fn1
The principal question raised is whether the evidence was insufficient to sustain the murder conviction. In determining whether the evidence presented is sufficient to sustain the conviction, the test is whether, accepting as true all of the evidence of the Commonwealth and all reasonable inferences arising therefrom, upon which if believed, a finder of fact could properly have based its verdict, it is sufficient in law to prove the elements of the crime in question beyond a reasonable doubt. Commonwealth v. Paquette, 451 Pa. 250, 253, 301 A.2d 837, 838-39 (1973); Commonwealth v. Eiland, 450 Pa. 566, 569, 301 A.2d 651, 652 (1973); Commonwealth v. Williams, 450 Pa. 327, 329, 301 A.2d 867, 869 (1973); Commonwealth v. Oates, 448 Pa. 486, 488, 295 A.2d 337, 338 (1972).
Viewed in this light, the following facts emerged during the trial. Early in the evening of January 9, 1977, Carol Bradley sent her eight year old son on an errand to purchase a loaf of bread and other groceries, handing him a five dollar food stamp coupon. When he returned home, he did not have change, only a receipt from an adding machine which indicated the balance due. Mrs. Bradley then went to the store and demanded that she be given her change which she believed to be approximately $4.00. The time was about 8:30 p. m. Mr. Mitchell, the storekeeper, refused, saying that she was not entitled to any change. Mrs. Bradley left
the store and returned to her home where she told her husband what had occurred. Together they walked the short distance to the store.
Just before 9 o'clock, twelve year old Randy Jackson entered the store, searching for a bag of potato chips. As he arrived, he noticed Carol and Odell Bradley. Carol Bradley was arguing with Mr. Mitchell. Randy purchased his snack and left the store, leaving the appellants and Mr. Mitchell inside. When he was two doors away he heard a shot and observed both Carol and Odell Bradley running from the store. One Sandra Turner, testifying for the Commonwealth, said that she saw the appellants heading in the direction of the store and that Carol Bradley was "swearing." Later, she heard a shot and also saw Carol and Odell Bradley running from the premises. She estimated the time to be 8:50 p. m. Another Commonwealth witness, Charles White, said that he saw Odell Bradley in the vicinity of the Mitchell store just before 9 o'clock. Mrs. Mitchell testified that she heard her husband call for her from the bottom of the steps which lead to the second floor living quarters. She ran down to assist her husband who said, "Call an ambulance, they shot me." When the police arrived money was found scattered on the floor but the cash register was locked and ...