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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ANDREW EASLEY (01/24/79)

decided: January 24, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
ANDREW EASLEY, APPELLANT



No. 782 January Term 1977, Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court at No. 1941 October Term 1975, affirming the Judgments of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, Criminal Section of Philadelphia, at Nos. 314 and 316 October Term 1974.

COUNSEL

Benjamin Lerner, Defender, John W. Packel, Asst. Defender, Chief, Appeals Div., Patricia J. Pierce, Philadelphia, for appellant.

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

Eagen, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. O'Brien, J., and Pomeroy, former J., did not participate in the decision of this case. Larsen, J., dissents.

Author: Eagen

[ 483 Pa. Page 339]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Andrew Easley was convicted by a jury of simple assault, aggravated assault, and violating The Uniform Firearms Act.*fn1 Post-verdict motions were denied, and judgment of sentence of not less than five years nor more than ten years imprisonment was imposed on the aggravated assault conviction. The trial court also imposed a concurrent term of not less than one year nor more than three years imprisonment on the firearms convictions. An appeal was filed in the Superior Court, which affirmed the judgments of sentence. Commonwealth v. Easley, 245 Pa. Super. 41, 369 A.2d 283 (1976).*fn2 We granted a petition for allowance of appeal, and now reverse and remand for a new trial.

The prosecution arose from the shooting of Linda Wilson on September 5, 1974, in a public housing project in Philadelphia. At trial, the Commonwealth established, through the testimony of the complainant, Wilson, the following facts:

At approximately 5:30 p. m. on the above date, Wilson opened the door to her apartment in order to permit Easley, whom she knew as "Bo," to enter. Easley, accompanied by his brother,*fn3 entered the apartment and shoved the complainant against a refrigerator. He then pointed a gun at

[ 483 Pa. Page 340]

    her and threatened to "blow her brains out" because she allegedly beat his mother. Wilson fell to the kitchen floor, and Easley kicked her, threw hot grease on her, and struck her with a kitchen utensil. As the complainant lie on the floor, Easley attempted to fire the gun at her, but the bullets kept ejecting and falling on the floor. He then threw Wilson into the living room and struck her with a wine bottle. Easley next demanded the address of a person who previously lived with the complainant. When Wilson went into her bedroom to get the address, Easley pushed her onto a bed and shot her in the chest.

Easley was apprehended by the police as he left the building project. At the time, he had in his possession a .25 caliber automatic revolver, a clip for the weapon, and a box of ammunition.

Testifying in his own defense at trial, Easley claimed the shooting was in self-defense. He admitted visiting Wilson's apartment on the day of the shooting, but only to determine the veracity of rumors which related she had been involved in the beating of his mother. Easley accounted that he was conducting a friendly conversation with the complainant until he mentioned his mother's beating; that, at that time, she tried to "dash" a pan of grease on him; that he jumped out of the way; that she then took a gun from between the stove and sink and pointed it at him; that he then grabbed a wine bottle and threw it at her; that, as she flinched, he rushed her and grabbed the gun; and, that, as they tussled, the gun went off wounding her. According to Easley, he then ...


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