No. 315 January Term, 1978, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, Criminal Section of Philadelphia County, Imposed on Indictment No. 735, February Term, 1977
Robert B. Mozenter, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Robert B. Lawler, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Division, Kenneth S. Gallant, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Eagen, C. J., concurred in the result.
Appellant, Dolores Gardner, was convicted of murder in the first degree in the shooting death of Sandra Singleton. After denial of post-verdict motions, appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment. This direct appeal follows.
The deceased and Carol Chandler, the appellant's daughter, had an argument which led to some blows being struck. Thereafter, Carol went to her mother and after being questioned, told her what had happened. The appellant went with her daughter to the high rise project where the deceased lived for the purpose of resolving the matter. The deceased was looking out of the window, saw them coming,
and after some words stated she would come right down. They all met in the lobby of the dwelling where the earlier argument was renewed. The appellant then ended the affray by fatally shooting the deceased.
Appellant's first contention is that the evidence is insufficient to establish an intent to kill. However, we find the evidence taken in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, as verdict winner, does in fact demonstrate a specific intent to kill. Commonwealth v. Robson, 461 Pa. 615, 337 A.2d 573 (1975); Commonwealth v. Boyd, 461 Pa. 17, 334 A.2d 610 (1975); Commonwealth v. Murray, 460 Pa. 605, 334 A.2d 255 (1975). In Commonwealth v. Taylor, 461 Pa. 557, 337 A.2d 545 (1975), (opinion of the Court), we stated:
"'To sustain a conviction of murder of either degree, the evidence must establish that the killing was committed with malice. Commonwealth v. McFadden, 448 Pa. 277, 292 A.2d 324 (1972).' Commonwealth v. Coleman, 455 Pa. 508, 510, 318 A.2d 716, 717 (1974). '[Malice] consists either of an express intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm or of a "wickedness of disposition, hardness of heart, cruelty, recklessness of consequences and a mind regardless of social duty" indicating an unjustified disregard for the probability of death or great bodily harm and an extreme indifference to the value of human life. Commonwealth v. Carroll, 412 Pa. 525, 194 A.2d 911 (1963).' Commonwealth v. Chermansky, 430 Pa. 170, 175, 242 A.2d 237, 240-41 (1968). See Commonwealth v. Coleman, supra. 'The existence of legal malice may be inferred and found from the attending circumstances of the act resulting in the death. Commonwealth v. Bowden, 456 Pa. 278, 309 A.2d 714 (1973).' Commonwealth v. Coleman, supra, 455 Pa. at 510, 318 A.2d at 717; Commonwealth v. Chermansky, supra; Commonwealth v. Lawrence, 428 Pa. 188, 193, 236 A.2d 768, 771 (1968)." Commonwealth v. Boyd, 461 Pa. 17, 22, 334 A.2d 610, 613 (1975).
"'[w]hether, accepting as true all the evidence and all [the] reasonable inferences therefrom upon which if believed the [finder of ...