No. 129 March Term 1978, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, Allegheny County, at No. CC7506139A
John H. Corbett, Jr., Asst. Public Defender, H. Patrick McFalls, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Robert E. Colville, Dist. Atty., Robert L. Eberhardt, Deputy Dist. Atty., Charles W. Johns, Asst. Dist. Atty., Pittsburgh, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Larsen, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Kauffman, J., joins.
On July 9, 1976, a jury found Gary Pounds guilty of murder of the first degree, possession of an unlicensed firearm, crime with a firearm, two counts of theft, and one count of receiving stolen property. Post-verdict motions were denied on June 9, 1978, and, on June 27, 1978, Pounds was sentenced to life imprisonment on the murder conviction. Sentence was suspended on the other offenses. This appeal is from the judgment imposed on the murder conviction.
The trial record discloses the following:
At 1:28 a. m. on July 24, 1975, the body of Joe McGuane, Pound's father-in-law, was found at Gregg Station where he was employed as an oil tank gauger and truck driver. The cause of death was later determined to be multiple gunshot wounds of the head, face, neck, and hands. Analysis of bullet fragments removed from the body indicated the bullets had come from a revolver of .32 or larger calibre. The victim was last seen alive at 6 a. m. on July 23, 1975 and several phone calls to the victim from his supervisor made between 7 and 8 a. m. had gone unanswered.
Ann McGuane, the victim's wife, testified that she was awakened on July 23, 1975 at approximately 6:30 a. m. by
the sound of their garage door going up and that she roused her son, Terry McGuane, told him to get his gun, and then called the police. Terry McGuane testified that, after being awakened by his mother and getting his shotgun, he saw Gary Pounds run past the side of the house towards a wooded area to the rear, chased him, and fired a shot at him. The police arrived at approximately 7 a. m. and found in the wooded area, inter alia, a cold six-pack of Duquesne beer, the brand Gary Pounds normally drank, and a windbreaker containing three spent and three live .38 calibre ammunition. In the garage underneath Mrs. McGuane's automobile, the officers found a stained work shirt similar to those worn by Gary Pounds which contained a partial pack of Phillip Morris cigarettes, the brand Gary Pounds normally smoked. Subsequent analysis of blood stains on the shirt indicated the blood was consistent with Joe McGuane's blood type.
Gary Pounds was arrested on the evening of July 24, 1975 at which time a .38 special revolver was found in the car he was driving. The revolver had been stolen from a trailer owned by Dan Leonard.
Beverly Herrick, a friend of Pounds, testified that Pounds had come to a motel where she resided at approximately 10:30 a. m. on July 23, 1975; that he asked her to follow him in her automobile to a strip mine so he could dispose of the automobile he was driving (later determined to have been the victim's, Joe McGuane's) for a friend in order to collect the insurance; that, after disposing of the McGuane vehicle, the two retrieved Pounds' automobile from behind a culm pile in the vicinity of Gregg Station; and, that they dropped Pounds' automobile off at a local shopping mart. Herrick also testified Pounds had told her he had killed his father-in-law.
Jerome Harris, an inmate of the jail in which Pounds was originally incarcerated, testified Pounds had told him he, Pounds, had shot Joe McGuane some time between 6 and 7 a. m. on July 23, 1975 after an argument.
Testifying in his own behalf, Pounds denied shooting Joe McGuane, disposing of his ...