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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RANDY JOE REIFF (04/25/80)

decided: April 25, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
RANDY JOE REIFF, APPELLANT



No. 179 March Term, 1979, Appeal from imposition of Sentence dated September 20, 1979, at No. 393 of 1978 of the Court of Common Pleas of Crawford County, Criminal Division, Meadville, Pennsylvania.

COUNSEL

Bruce A. Barrett, Asst. Public Defender, Meadville, for appellant.

Donald E. Lewis, First Asst. Dist. Atty., Meadville, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Roberts, J., filed a concurring opinion in which Eagen, C. J., and Nix, J., join.

Author: Larsen

[ 489 Pa. Page 13]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Randy Joe Reiff, was convicted by a jury of murder of the first degree, unlawful restraint, and terroristic threats. The convictions arose from the fatal shooting of Douglas Castle in Meadville, Pennsylvania, on August 14, 1978. Following the denial of post-trial motions, appellant was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment on the murder of the first degree charge and to a concurrent term of two and one-half to five years imprisonment on the remaining charges. This direct appeal followed.*fn1

Appellant presents two issues for review, both of which concern the trial court's instructions to the jury. Appellant first contends that the lower court erred in refusing his requested instruction on the defense of voluntary intoxication. That request was made pursuant to Section 308 of the Crimes Code, 18 Pa.C.S.A. ยง 308 (enacted April 7, 1976), which provides:

Neither voluntary intoxication nor voluntary drugged condition is a defense to a criminal charge, nor may evidence of such [intoxication] be introduced to negative the element

[ 489 Pa. Page 14]

    of intent of the offense, except that evidence of such intoxication or drugged condition of the defendant may be offered by the defendant whenever it is relevant to reduce murder from a higher degree to a lower degree of murder.

Appellant alleges that sufficient evidence was introduced at trial to establish that he was "intoxicated" at the time of the shooting and, therefore, incapable of forming the specific intent necessary to commit murder of the first degree.

The testimony at trial established that appellant and a friend, Donald Buchanan, were at Kacy's Saloon in Meadville from approximately 9:30 p. m. until 1:00 a. m. on the night of the shooting. This testimony (Buchanan and Richie Cady, the bartender)*fn2 showed that appellant drank approximately two and one-half quarts of beer during this period of time. This testimony further revealed that appellant exhibited no signs of intoxication and that there was nothing unusual about ...


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