No. 72 Special Transfer Docket, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, Criminal Section of Philadelphia County at No. 889, July Term, 1975.
Timothy J. Savage, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Andrew B. Cohn, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Watkins, Manderino and Cirillo, JJ.*fn* Manderino, J., files a concurring opinion. This decision was reached prior to the death of Manderino, J.
[ 274 Pa. Super. Page 221]
This is an appeal from the judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division, by the defendant-appellant, Alfred Hoyle, after conviction by a jury of third degree murder. Post-trial motions were denied and the defendant was sentenced to a prison term of seven to fifteen (7-15) years.
[ 274 Pa. Super. Page 222]
On June 27, 1975, the defendant and the victim, Bryan Clark, engaged in a street brawl before many witnesses and the defendant stabbed the victim to death. There was testimony that there was bad blood between the defendant and the decedent for some time before the fatal incident resulting in two unsuccessful attempts by the defendant to prosecute the victim. Despite eye witness testimony by three Commonwealth witnesses directly implicating the defendant in the killing of Bryan Clark, and two other eye witnesses that corroborated their testimony as to the street fight with the exception that they did not see the actual stabbing, the nature of the decedent's fatal wound, and the fact that after the stabbing the defendant fled, the defendant contends that purported inconsistencies and contradictions in all the eye witness testimony made the evidence insufficient to sustain the third degree murder verdict beyond a reasonable doubt.
"The test of sufficiency of the evidence is whether, accepting, as true all the evidence and all reasonable inferences therefrom, upon which, if believed, the fact finder could properly have placed its verdict, it is sufficient in law to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime or crime of which he has been convicted. Commonwealth v. Glass, 486 Pa. 334, 405 A.2d 1236 (Pa. 1979, slip opinion at 4); Commonwealth v. Hamm, 474 Pa. 487, 494, 378 A.2d 1219, 1222 (1977)"
Viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as verdict winner, the testimony of three eye witnesses to the stabbing was more than sufficient to support defendant's conviction of third degree murder. Any inconsistencies in the Commonwealth's evidence were for the jury to resolve, and do not provide a proper basis for appellate relief.
It was a street fight before many witnesses and those called by both sides differed in many instances which is certainly not unusual. However, there were three witnesses whose testimony directly implicated the defendant in the ...