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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN LOWERS (11/02/78)

decided: November 2, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOHN LOWERS, APPELLANT



No. 271 March Term, 1977, Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal, of Washington County, at No. 156 a,b of 1974

COUNSEL

Benjamin L. Costello, Washington, for appellant.

Jess D. Costa, Dist. Atty., Paul M. Petro, Asst. Dist. Atty., Washington, for appellee.

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

Author: O'brien

[ 481 Pa. Page 536]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This appeal arises from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County denying appellant, John Lowers, post-conviction relief. The facts surrounding this appeal are as follows.

On May 7, 1974, while represented by the Public Defender's Office of Washington County, appellant pled guilty to a charge of murder generally. The homicide charges arose out of the February 20, 1974, shooting of Shirley Bongiorni and Carolyn Wagner in Washington, Pennsylvania. Appellant was adjudged guilty on two counts of murder of the first degree and on May 23, 1974, the court below sentenced appellant to concurrent terms of life imprisonment for both murder convictions. No direct appeal was taken to this court.

In September, 1976, appellant, represented by counsel other than trial counsel, filed a Post-Conviction Hearing Act Petition.*fn1 He alleged, inter alia, in his petition and again on this appeal:

". . . (1) a statement he made without counsel present was used against him at the time of the hearing; (2) that his privilege against self-incrimination was violated; (3) that he did not have competent counsel; (4) that his plea of guilty was unlawfully induced; (5) that he was not furnished the right to appeal; and (6) that his plea was unconstitutional."

On December 23, 1976, a hearing on the above post-conviction petition was held, and on April 5, 1977, the court below denied all requested relief. On September 7, 1977, a hearing was held on appellant's petition for reconsideration of the denial of his post-conviction petition and on October 25,

[ 481 Pa. Page 5371977]

, the court below denied that petition. This ...


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