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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ALAN MITCHELL (05/30/80)

decided: May 30, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ALAN MITCHELL, APPELLANT



No. 318 January Term, 1978, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Trial Division, of Philadelphia, at Nos. 67-69 November Term, 1977

COUNSEL

S. David Fineman, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Division, Alan J. Sacks, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ.

Author: O'brien

[ 489 Pa. Page 538]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Alan Mitchell, was convicted in a non-jury trial of voluntary manslaughter. Post-verdict motions were denied and appellant was sentenced to serve two to five years on the work release program in the Philadelphia County Prison. This appeal followed.

Appellant first argues the Commonwealth failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant was not acting in self-defense. The facts are as follows.

[ 489 Pa. Page 539]

On October 20, 1977, Leslie Hargrove invited four friends, one of whom was Lawrence McGriff, to his apartment at 1910 N. 54th Street in Philadelphia. The apartment was located on the second floor above a store known as the Blue Denim Boutique. Appellant owned both the clothing store and Hargrove's apartment.

Hargrove told his cohorts that he wanted to speak to appellant and the foursome waited in the car while Hargrove entered the store to speak with appellant. Hargrove began arguing with appellant, as he had learned that the gas company, at appellant's instructions, had discontinued service to his apartment. When appellant reached for a gun, Hargrove hit appellant in the face but subsequently slipped and fell to the floor. Appellant grabbed his gun and began firing at Hargrove, who was able to run from the shop uninjured, with appellant in pursuit.

When the group waiting in the car heard the shooting, the victim and two companions exited from the car. When they saw appellant chasing Hargrove with a gun, the threesome ran around the corner to avoid the shooting. After the shooting had apparently stopped, the victim returned to the store. When appellant approached the door to his store, McGriff, empty handed, attempted to speak with appellant. Suddenly, ...


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