Nos. 148 and 149 Special Transfer Docket, Appeals from Judgments of Sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, Criminal Section, Philadelphia County. Nos. 2046, 2047, 2048, 2049 December Term, 1975
Stanley M. Shingles, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Victor M. Fortuno, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Montgomery, O'Brien and Honeyman, JJ.*fn* O'Brien, J., concurs in the result.
[ 271 Pa. Super. Page 210]
After a lengthy trial by jury, the appellant was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, burglary, conspiracy and possession of instrument of crime. Post trial motions were denied and sentence of four years to ten years was imposed for the voluntary manslaughter and concurrent terms on the non-homicide charges. From judgments of sentence these appeals were taken. In support thereof, appellant raises twenty-four bases therefor. For the purposes of this opinion we will address ourselves to only nine, because the others appear to be either frivolous, harmless error, or to have been waived.
On November 1, 1975, at noon time, appellant and Robert Williams, went to appellant's second floor apartment at 2820 North Broad Street, Philadelphia. They discovered that the
[ 271 Pa. Super. Page 211]
electricity therein had been turned off. Shirley Jones, baby-sitter for appellant's children had also come to the apartment with them. Appellant went down to the first floor apartment of his landlord, Rinaldo Capellupo, aged 70, and requested him to turn on the current. Appellant returned to the apartment and found that the lights were on and sent Williams down to the landlord to so inform him. Thereafter, Williams got into an argument with Capellupo in the first floor hallway and struck him causing him to bleed. Appellant then went down and joined in the fight, wherein appellant kicked Capellupo three or four times and struck him with a metal smoking stand at least once. In the course of the fight, the three moved inside Capellupo's apartment. Capellupo was seated therein when the police arrived. Appellant and Williams left the premises before the police came. Capellupo suffered a fractured skull, fractured ribs, a fractured chest bone and a burst right lung. He was removed to Temple Hospital by the police. Shortly after his arrival a police detective asked him if he had been robbed and if it was by a tenant. To both questions Capellupo nodded affirmatively. He did not die until November 15, 1975.
First, appellant asserts that the trial judge's instructions to the jury on causation were fatally defective; that the evidence was insufficient to support a finding of death being caused by the conduct of appellant; and that the chain of causation between the conduct of the appellant and death was broken as a matter of law. To dispose of these contentions it is necessary to state some additional facts. In the course of ministering to the needs of Capellupo at the hospital, he was placed on a respirator, and was given blood transfusions. On November 12, 1975, he had experienced either a cardiac or pulmonary arrest following a malfunction in the respirator. On November 14, 1975 he suffered an adverse reaction to a blood transfusion. The following day, he died. The medical examiner, a pathologist, testified for the Commonwealth that, in his opinion, Capellupo's death was due to multiple impact injuries to the head and chest.
[ 271 Pa. Super. Page 212]
A cardiologist witness for the appellant testified that, but for the events of the 12th and the 14th, in his opinion, Capellupo would have survived the injuries he sustained at the hands of appellant and Williams on the first.
Appellant complains that the instructions by the trial judge were factually defective because he utilized, as illustrations, two Pennsylvania Supreme Court cases which concerned questions of causation. He argues that by doing this, the trial judge effectively took away from the jury the issue of causation. We do not agree. There is nothing improper in the use of illustrations so long as they are not misleading. ...