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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. BOBBY HARRIS (02/08/80)

filed: February 8, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
BOBBY HARRIS, APPELLANT



No. 1163 October Term, 1978, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 4471 - 76

COUNSEL

Ronald F. O'Driscoll, Assistant Public Defender, Norristown, for appellant.

James A. Cunningham, Assistant District Attorney, Norristown, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Van der Voort, Hester and Wieand, JJ. Wieand, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Van Der Voort

[ 275 Pa. Super. Page 21]

Appellant has been found guilty by a jury of rape, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person and possession of instruments of crime with intent. This case arises on appeal from the judgment of sentence which followed conviction.

The testimony of the victim, Lillian Hutchinson, a black woman, 47 years of age, was uncontradicted and in large part corroborated. In the early morning hours of September 18, 1976, she was awakened from sleep at her home in Philadelphia by a knock on the door. Dressed only in her nightgown, she went to the door but did not open it until she was informed by a young female, speaking through the door, that her son was hurt and required her immediate help. She then opened the door and at that moment appellant, who until then had been hidden, entered the house and shoved a gun into Mrs. Hutchinson's mouth, warning her to keep quiet. Appellant grabbed Mrs. Hutchinson by the hair, dragged her out of the door and into a white car with a maroon top. She was refused an opportunity to put on any clothing. She was in her menstrual period and bleeding. Inside the car were three young females.

The car was then driven from Philadelphia to the Norristown area in Montgomery County. During the ride, one of the females who was in the rear seat with Mrs. Hutchinson held a knife to her chest. Mrs. Hutchinson asked why she was being kidnapped and the appellant told her that he was going to punish her because her son had double-crossed him and taken his money. In the course of this conversation, the appellant identified himself by name as Bobby Harris.

[ 275 Pa. Super. Page 22]

After driving for several hours, the appellant stopped the automobile near a deserted field in the Norristown area of Montgomery County and proceeded to drag the victim forcibly from the car. She was first beaten by the appellant and his female companions. Then appellant attempted to shoot her several times, but his gun consistently misfired. Incensed, the appellant raped the victim, then stabbed her three times, in the chest, in the side and in the vagina. When Mrs. Hutchinson attempted to rise to her feet, appellant picked up a rock, threw it at her and screamed, "Bitch, you are not dead yet."

Ultimately, the appellant rejoined his female companions and left Mrs. Hutchinson badly wounded. However, she managed to get to nearby Highway 309 where she received help from a passing tow truck operator who observed her standing on the shoulder of the road, completely naked. The driver gave Mrs. Hutchinson a towel for cover, placed her in the cab of his truck and took her to the hospital. As she was climbing into the truck, she noticed appellant standing near the highway fence in weeds up to his waist, pointing a gun at her. She asked the driver to observe appellant, which he did before the appellant disappeared from sight into the woods. At the trial, the driver corroborated Mrs. Hutchinson's identification of the appellant.

Appellant was tried in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County on December 2, 1976 and convicted on charges of criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, burglary and possession of an instrument of crime with intent.

On February 9, 1977, he was convicted in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County (the case here under review) of rape, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person and possession of an instrument of crime with intent. Charges of kidnapping and criminal conspiracy were quashed prior to ...


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