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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ANTHONY HARPER (07/05/79)

decided: July 5, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
ANTHONY HARPER, APPELLANT



Nos. 244 and 414 January Term 1977, Appeals from the Judgments of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, Criminal Section, of Philadelphia at Nos. 179, 180 and 181 October Term 1975.

COUNSEL

Ralph Schwartz, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Div., Asst. Dist. Atty., Victor M. Fortuno, Philadelphia, for appellee.

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

Author: Eagen

[ 485 Pa. Page 575]

OPINION OF THE COURT

On March 3, 1976, appellant, Anthony Harper, was convicted by a jury in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia of murder of the first degree, robbery, possessing instruments of crime-generally, possessing instruments of crime-concealed weapon, and possessing a prohibited offensive weapon. The convictions stem from the September 13,

[ 485 Pa. Page 5761975]

robbery and fatal shooting of Matthew Boylan. Following the denial of post-verdict motions, a sentence of life imprisonment was imposed on the murder conviction. Prison sentences were also imposed on the robbery conviction (ten to twenty years) and the weapons convictions (two and one-half to five years),*fn1 these sentences to run consecutively to the sentence of life imprisonment, but concurrently to one another. Harper filed a direct appeal to this Court from the judgment of sentence on the murder conviction. The judgment of sentence on the robbery and weapons convictions were appealed to the Superior Court which certified that appeal to this Court.

Harper claims the evidence presented at trial is insufficient to support the verdict of the jury. In evaluating the sufficiency of the evidence, the test is whether, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, and drawing all reasonable inferences favorable to the Commonwealth, there is sufficient evidence to find every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Commonwealth v. Smith, 484 Pa. 71, 398 A.2d 948 (1979); Commonwealth v. Perkins, 473 Pa. 116, 373 A.2d 1076 (1977); Commonwealth v. Robinson, 468 Pa. 575, 364 A.2d 665 (1976). The Commonwealth may sustain its burden of proving every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt by means of wholly circumstantial evidence. Commonwealth v. Dawson, 464 Pa. 254, 346 A.2d 545 (1975); Commonwealth v. Alston, 461 Pa. 664, 337 A.2d 597 (1975). Moreover, in applying the above test, the entire trial record must be evaluated and all evidence actually received must be considered, whether or not the trial court's rulings thereon were correct. Commonwealth v. Boyd, 463 Pa. 343, 344 A.2d 864 (1975); Commonwealth v. Tabb, 417 Pa. 13, 207 A.2d 884 (1965). Finally, the trier of fact, while passing upon the credibility of witnesses and the weight to be afforded the evidence produced, is free

[ 485 Pa. Page 577]

    to believe all, part or none of the evidence. Commonwealth v. Murray, 460 Pa. 605, 334 A.2d 255 (1975).

Viewed in this light, the record reveals the following:

At approximately 11:00 a. m. on September 13, 1975, Harper conversed with Charles Linton, a Commonwealth witness, outside Linton's place of employment, a grocery store located approximately one and one-half city blocks from the scene of the robbery and fatal shooting. Harper had been a customer of the store for a "few years." After conversing with Linton for approximately "three or four minutes," Harper pedalled a red bicycle east on Paschall Avenue towards the scene of the robbery and fatal shooting.*fn2

Between 11:20 a. m. and 11:25 a. m., Robert Pelligrino, a youngster who resided next door to a grocery store operated by Boylan, entered the victim's store to purchase a soda. Boylan was alone in the store which is located on the northwest corner of Paschall Avenue and Hobson ...


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