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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. HECTOR M. CARTAGENA (08/06/79)

submitted: August 6, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
HECTOR M. CARTAGENA, APPELLANT



No. 247 Special Transfer Docket, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division, Criminal Section on March 16, 1978, No. 1389 May Term, 1977

COUNSEL

Herbert R. Weiman, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, Manderino and Cirillo, JJ.*fn* This decision was reached prior to the death of Manderino, J.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 272 Pa. Super. Page 487]

Appellant was convicted after a trial before a judge, sitting without a jury, of murder of the third degree. Post-verdict motions were denied, and appellant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three and one-half to twelve years. This appeal followed.

Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence on two grounds. First, appellant contends that the evidence of medical causation was insufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant's acts caused the victim's death. Second, appellant contends that the evidence was insufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant acts with malice. We have viewed the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution and have accepted as true all the evidence from which, if believed, the fact finder could have based its finding of guilt. Commonwealth v. Roberson, 485 Pa. 586, 403 A.2d 544 (1979). We conclude that the prosecution met its burden of proving appellant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Appellant was convicted of stabbing the victim after an argument which involved appellant, the victim, and the victim's wife. The victim died approximately one and one-half years after the stabbing incident. Appellant admits

[ 272 Pa. Super. Page 488]

    stabbing the victim. However, appellant contends that the evidence produced at trial did not establish the necessary causation beyond a reasonable doubt. We must reject that contention.

The testimony as to causation of Dr. Aronson, a medical witness for the prosecution, was summarized by the trial judge as follows:

"As to internal injuries, Dr. Aronson found there had been an operation on the spine of the type to alleviate the effects of an injury to the spinal cord. In the area of the spinal cord, he also found puckering or scarings [sic] of the ligaments characteristic of injury and he found that the nerves within the spinal column had atrophied.

Dr. Aronson found decubitus ulcers, or bed sores, which involved the thorax, or chest, and the pelvis, or hips. There was also a point in the right side of the chest in the back where the bed sores had been deep enough to obliterate the muscles between the ribs. This area was contiguous with an area of infection between the lung and the chest wall. Dr. Aronson said he also noted other ...


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