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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CHARLES EUGENE NORMAN (04/12/79)

submitted: April 12, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
CHARLES EUGENE NORMAN, APPELLANT



No. 1296 April Term, 1978, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, Criminal Division, No. 546 of 1977.

COUNSEL

Thomas P. Ruane, Jr., Public Defender, Uniontown, for appellant.

Gerald R. Solomon, District Attorney, Uniontown, for appellee.

Price, Hester and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Hester

[ 272 Pa. Super. Page 302]

Appellant Charles Eugene Norman was convicted in a jury trial with two accomplices in the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County of robbery, theft, conspiracy, and recklessly endangering another person.*fn1 Posttrial motions were argued and denied and a sentence of four to eight years imprisonment was imposed. On this direct appeal, appellant posits several issues for our consideration, all of which we find to be without merit.

Facts adduced at trial revealed the following scenario. On the evening of May 18, 1977, Evelyn Hess and her daughter Joyce Halbrook were working in Nickman's Store on Route 40 near Uniontown, Pennsylvania. A heavy rainstorm and leaky roof forced them to continually mop the floor and to scatter buckets at strategic points throughout the store to catch the drips. At approximately 7:30 p.m. two young men entered the premises, one of who approached

[ 272 Pa. Super. Page 303]

Miss Halbrook and asked to be shown a shag rug. She ushered the man, later identified as co-defendant John Ulery, to the rear of the store, where he suddenly produced a revolver and ordered the two employees into a back room. He then directed Miss Halbrook to assist the other young man, later identified as co-defendant William Lewis, in removing the money from the cash register. After receiving the cash in a brown bag, Lewis grabbed an AM-FM radio from the shelf, whereupon the two men fled out the door. In all, approximately fifteen to twenty minutes had elapsed.

At about this time, Trooper Joel Lander of the State Police was on routine patrol on Route 40 approaching Nickman's when he passed a black Mercury travelling in the opposite direction. As the car was in a run-down condition, the trooper quickly glanced at the inspection sticker and simultaneously observed the driver, whom he later identified as Ulery. He then responded to the armed robbery call at Nickman's and, upon interviewing the complainants and receiving their descriptions of the perpetrators, decided that the driver of the Mercury was one of the robbers. He radioed a description of the automobile and driver to his station.

Later that evening, the Mercury was stopped by police in Adah, Luzerne Township, with Ulery as the only occupant. A search of the vehicle produced a radio, identified by Joyce Halbrook as that taken in the robbery, as well as a .32 caliber revolver. Upon questioning by State Trooper Edward Dunkard, and after being advised of his constitutional rights, Ulery admitted he had planned the robbery with Lewis and appellant Norman and that they had later split the money. Appellant was arrested the next day and also questioned by Trooper Dunkard. In his confession, appellant stated that Ulery had needed money on the evening of May 18; that he had accompanied Ulery into Nickman's; that Ulery had the revolver and did all the talking; that he (appellant) had left the store and waited outside for Ulery, and that he had later received proceeds from the hold-up. Lewis gave no statement to the police upon his arrest.

[ 272 Pa. Super. Page 304]

Before trial, the Commonwealth moved to try all three suspects jointly, which motion was granted over defense objection. The extra-judicial statements of Ulery and Norman were redacted to omit all references to anyone other than the declarant, in accord with ...


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