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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RICHARD WILLIAMS (10/17/79)

filed: October 17, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
RICHARD WILLIAMS, APPELLANT



No. 221 April Term, 1978, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence in the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, at No. CC7608392A.

COUNSEL

Louis R. Dadowski, Assistant Public Defender, Appeals Division, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Charles W. Johns, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Cercone, Wieand and Hoffman, JJ. Hoffman, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Cercone

[ 271 Pa. Super. Page 116]

Appellant, Richard Williams, was convicted of robbery,*fn1 two counts of aggravated assault,*fn2 and criminal conspiracy,*fn3 at a jury trial in Allegheny County. Post-trial motions were denied. Appellant was sentenced to an aggregate of eleven to forty-two years imprisonment. Based on the arguments preserved for our review, we affirm the judgment of sentence.

At approximately 11:00 P.M. on November 1, 1976, three black males arrived at the home of Mae Gamble, age 91, and her nephew, George Miller, age 65. The visitors inquired about renting rooms; Mr. Miller informed them there were none. One of the three males then shoved Mr. Miller across the room into a chair, and hit him across the face with a cue stick which knocked Mr. Miller's glasses off. The two other men entered the home and ransacked it. In the process, one of the men assaulted Mrs. Gamble by repeatedly striking her with her own cane. Mrs. Gamble was also threatened with a butcher knife one of the men took from her kitchen.*fn4 The victims testified that the men took approximately $1,200, a gold watch, three rings, earrings, Mr. Miller's wallet, checkbook, and a portable radio. Mr. Miller testified the men were in the home for approximately thirty minutes, during which time he was able to view the men several times at a distance as close as two to three feet.

A neighbor saw the men leave the Gamble home and drive away in a white convertible having a license number beginning with "51," and having a "9" as one of the remaining numbers. The witness telephoned police with this information and a description of the men similar to the one Mr. Miller gave.

[ 271 Pa. Super. Page 117]

Based on this information, the police apprehended appellant, Frank Johnson and Lamont Harris, in a white convertible about three blocks from the Gamble home at approximately 12:15 A.M. Their search of the car revealed a portable radio, a paper bag full of money, a cue stick, and several rings that coincided with what had been taken during the crime.

Other police officers had taken Mr. Miller to a nearby hospital where he received five stitches for the face wound he sustained. Within an hour of the crime, the three suspects were taken to the hospital for identification by Mr. Miller. The victim identified the men as a group as they stood outside beside the police van, saying they were the ones who had robbed and assaulted him. Later at the preliminary hearing, Mr. Miller identified three men. Motions to suppress these identifications were denied and appellant was convicted at a jury trial. Post-trial motions were denied and this appeal followed.

Appellant raises three issues for our review: first, whether the in-court identification by Mr. Miller should have been suppressed as being tainted by the prior suggestive hospital identification; second, whether there was sufficient evidence to prove appellant's identity; and third, whether appellant's trial ...


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