No. 171 April Term, 1979 Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Criminal Division, entered on January 30, 1979 at No. CC7803243.
Paulette J. Balogh, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Charles W. Johns, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Price, Brosky and Montgomery, JJ. Price, J., files a concurring and dissenting statement.
[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 603]
Terrance Lorenzo Bryant, the appellant, was indicted on five counts of robbery, four counts of theft by unlawful taking, five counts of aggravated assault and one count of criminal conspiracy. Appellant pleaded not guilty and waived jury trial. In a non-jury trial before Honorable Samuel Strauss, he was found guilty of four counts of robbery, three counts of theft by unlawful taking, four counts of aggravated assault, and the one count of conspiracy. Appellant was sentenced to not less than two and not more than four years for each of the four counts of robbery; these sentences were to run consecutively. Sentence was suspended on the remaining counts.
The relevant facts of the crimes are as follows:
On the evening of March 6, 1978, two armed, black males forcibly entered an apartment located in the North Side section of the City of Pittsburgh. At that time, the apartment was occupied by five individuals, Richard Sayers, Kevin McCallister, John Piatrantonia, -the three lessees-as well as Karen Steffy, and Jean Daley, visitors. The intruders demanded drugs and money, threatened the occupants with harm if neither were forthcoming, and emphasized their intent by physically assaulting the victims. Money and other valuables belonging to four of the five persons present were taken, the exception being Ms. Steffy.
At trial, Ms. Daley, Ms. Steffy, Mr. Sayers and Mr. McCallister identified Mr. Bryant as one of the assailants. They all described him as a black man with platted hair, wearing a navy blue pea coat and a blue demin hat. Three of them testified to being put through a photographic identification procedure and having picked Mr. Bryant's picture from police files. Two of them had picked appellant out of a line-up. Mr. Piatrantonia did not testify at trial, resulting in the counts against Mr. Bryant involving him being dropped. The defense presented was an alibi, several witnesses testifying that appellant was at home at the time of the robbery.
[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 604]
Initially, appellant argues that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to prove his identity as one of the perpetrators of the offenses for which he was convicted. In evaluating the sufficiency of this evidence, all evidence, direct or circumstantial, must be read in a light most favorable to the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth must be given the benefit of all reasonable inferences arising therefrom. Commonwealth v. Burns, 409 Pa. 619, 187 A.2d 552 (1963), Commonwealth v. Chasten, 443 Pa. 29, 275 A.2d 305 (1971).
The evidence compiled by the Commonwealth to establish Mr. Bryant's identity as one of the perpetrators is more than sufficient. The crimes in question took place over a twenty to thirty minute period, and during this time, the perpetrators were in close proximity to the victims, often under good lighting. The four victims who were present as witnesses at trial made in-court identifications of the appellant as one of the robbers; each remained positive of their identification following cross-examination. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Kloiber, 378 Pa. 412, 106 A.2d 820, cert. denied 348 U.S. 875, 75 S.Ct. 112, 99 L.Ed. 688, stated:
"Where the opportunity for positive identification is good and the witness is positive in his identification and his identification is not weakened by prior failure to identify but remains, even after cross-examination, positive and unqualified, the testimony as to identification need not be reviewed with caution-indeed the cases say that 'his [positive] testimony as to identity may ...