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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WILLIAM A. BENTLEY (03/07/80)

filed: March 7, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
WILLIAM A. BENTLEY, APPELLANT



No. 528 April Term, 1978, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence imposed August 10, 1977, in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Criminal Division, at No. CC7607394-A.

COUNSEL

Bernard S. Rubb, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Robert L. Eberhardt, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Cercone, President Judge, and Hoffman and Wieand, JJ. 418 Pa. Super. *

Author: Wieand

[ 276 Pa. Super. Page 44]

William A. Bentley was tried non-jury and found guilty on two counts of carrying a firearm without a license*fn1 and one count of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.*fn2 Post-trial motions were denied, and a sentence of six to twelve months imprisonment was imposed. On appeal Bentley argues (1) that the evidence was insufficient to prove that the firearms or the marijuana had been in his possession; and (2) that the lower court erred in refusing to suppress the firearms and marijuana, which had been seized following a warrantless search of the vehicle which appellant had been driving.

The test to be applied in determining the sufficiency of the evidence is whether, accepting as true all of the evidence and all reasonable inferences arising therefrom upon which, if believed, the trier of the facts could properly have based the verdict, it is sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the crime or crimes with which he has been charged. Commonwealth v. Santiago, 476 Pa. 340, 342, 382 A.2d 1200, 1201 (1978); Commonwealth v. Meadows, 471 Pa. 201, 205-06, 369 A.2d 1266, 1268 (1977); Commonwealth v. Terenda, 433 Pa. 519, 523, 252 A.2d 635, 637 (1969). As with all challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence, we consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict winner, in this case the Commonwealth, which is entitled to the benefit of all reasonable inferences arising therefrom. Commonwealth v. Graves, 484 Pa. 29, 32, 398 A.2d 644, 646 (1979); Commonwealth v. Williams, 476 Pa. 557, 560, 383 A.2d 503, 504 (1978). Moreover, the entire trial record must be evaluated and all evidence actually received must be considered, whether or not the trial court's rulings thereon were correct. Commonwealth v. Waldman, 484 Pa. 217, 222-23, 398 A.2d 1022, 1025 (1979); Commonwealth v. Tabb, 417 Pa. 13, 16, 207 A.2d 884, 886 (1965), Commonwealth v. Williams, 273 Pa. Super. 578,

[ 276 Pa. Super. Page 45417]

A.2d 1200 (1980). Finally, the trier of the fact is free to believe all, part, or none of the evidence. Commonwealth v. Waldman, supra, 484 Pa. at 223, 398 A.2d at 1025; Commonwealth v. Murray, 460 Pa. 605, 609, 334 A.2d 255, 257 (1975).

Viewed in this light, the record reveals the following. On August 24, 1976, at or about 10:45 o'clock, P.M., Police Officer Edward Steliga was dispatched to investigate an accident on Route 30 in the Borough of North Versailles, Allegheny County. At the scene he found that a Chevrolet station wagon, registered to appellant's wife, Linda Bentley, had collided with a truck. When Steliga arrived, appellant was seated in the driver's seat, and the passenger's seat was occupied by another male person who was not then identified. An ambulance arrived, but appellant, who was bleeding from the face, and his passenger refused to be taken to a hospital. One of the ambulance attendants delivered to Steliga two .38 caliber bullets which he had found on the ground beside the driver's door of the station wagon. Appellant and his passenger appeared to make hasty efforts to lock the station wagon before leaving in a car with friends who happened upon the accident scene.

Steliga subsequently looked in the window of the station wagon and, with the aid of a flashlight, observed the barrel of a gun protruding from beneath a loose speaker on the floor in front of the driver's seat. He retrieved the weapon and discovered that it was a loaded .38 caliber handgun. He then decided to search the interior of the car. The rear seat of the station wagon was in a lowered position so as to make a level surface which covered the entire rear portion of the vehicle. Immediately behind the driver's seat, just inside the door, Steliga saw a covered box which, when opened, was found to contain four plastic bags of marijuana. The station wagon was towed to the police station where Steliga conducted a further search which included a well in which the spare tire was carried. There he found a green gym bag, which he unzipped. This revealed a towel which, when unraveled, was found to conceal a .45 caliber Colt handgun. Appellant did not have a license for either weapon. The

[ 276 Pa. Super. Page 46]

    total marijuana was found to be 1,775.7 grams, having a ...


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