No. 79 March Term 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court at No. 670 April Term 1978 affirming the Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Criminal Division at No. 1077 of 1976
George B. Stegenga, Washington, for appellant.
Paul M. Petro, Asst. Dist. Atty., Washington, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ.
This is an appeal from the judgment of sentence (three years imprisonment) imposed on James Richard Greenwood following his conviction by a jury of involuntary manslaughter.*fn1 For the reasons that follow, we reverse and award a new trial.
The factual background of the killing which gave rise to the prosecution may be briefly stated thusly:
After gaining no response to repeated dialings of the phone number and knocks on the door of appellant Greenwood's farmhouse-residence, two young men entered the house through an unlocked basement door with the intent of stealing drugs. Shortly thereafter, Greenwood confronted the intruders armed with a loaded, .22 caliber rifle. As the intruders fled from the premises, Greenwood followed and pursued them for a distance of over 200 feet firing several shots. As one of the young men ran through a field located more than 400 feet from the Greenwood house, he was hit and fatally injured by a shot fired by Greenwood.
Greenwood testified on his own behalf at the trial, saying he fired the rifle to frighten the intruders only and not with any intent of hitting either of them. During cross-examination, the District Attorney was permitted to make the following inquiries over objection:
"Q. Is it correct that you are listed as Reverend James Greenwood in the telephone directory?
Mr. Stegenga: If the Court please, I am going to impose an objection to this type of ...