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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CHARLES HORTON (05/01/79)

decided: May 1, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
CHARLES HORTON, APPELLANT



No. 266 March Term, 1977, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence entered on October 14, 1977, in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Criminal Division at No. CC7609336

COUNSEL

Lester G. Nauhaus, John H. Corbett, Jr., Asst. Public Defenders, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Robert E. Colville, Dist. Atty., Robert L. Eberhardt, Charles W. Johns, Kemal Alexander Mericli, Asst. Dist. Attys., Pittsburgh, for appellee.

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

Author: Manderino

[ 485 Pa. Page 116]

OPINION

Appellant, Charles Horton, was tried before a judge and jury and convicted of murder in the third degree for the

[ 485 Pa. Page 117]

    stabbing death of Donald Bell. Post-verdict motions were denied, and sentence of five to ten years imprisonment was imposed. This direct appeal followed.

Appellant raises two issues here. First, he contends he should be discharged, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the jury's finding of guilt of murder in the third degree. As has been often said by us, when called upon to review the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain a criminal conviction, an appellate court is to determine whether all the elements of the crime charged have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Because the fact finder is free to believe all of, part of, or none of the evidence, we view all the evidence and all inferences properly deducible from it in the light most favorable to the prosecution as verdict winner. Commonwealth v. Toney, 474 Pa. 243, 378 A.2d 310 (1977); Commonwealth v. Rose, 463 Pa. 264, 344 A.2d 824, 825 (1975).

Viewed in this light, the evidence presented at appellant's trial established the following. Appellant had been dating a woman by the name of Antoinette Marie McMillan. About ten days prior to the homicide of which appellant was convicted, McMillan began to date the victim, Donald Bell, while continuing to see appellant. On December 11, 1976, Bell arrived at McMillan's apartment shortly after 5:00 P.M. They ate dinner and watched television together. Later in the evening, appellant telephoned. McMillan indicated that she had company and appellant hung up. Shortly thereafter, Bell discovered that the tires to his automobile had been slashed. While Bell went to get new tires, McMillan walked to a nearby bar where she confronted appellant, accusing him of cutting the tires. Appellant denied any knowledge of the incident.

Later that evening, McMillan and Bell were again at her apartment when the telephone rang for the second time. Bell answered and entered into a lengthy conversation with appellant. A short time later, appellant knocked at ...


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