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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN EDWARD STONER (02/13/81)

filed: February 13, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOHN EDWARD STONER, JR., APPELLANT



No. 247 March Term, 1978, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Criminal Division, at Nos. 561 and 516 (a) of 1978.

COUNSEL

Marilyn C. Zilli, Assistant Public Defender, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Marion E. MacIntyre, Assistant District Attorney, Harrisburg, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Cercone, President Judge, and Watkins and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Montgomery

[ 284 Pa. Super. Page 368]

The Appellant, John Edward Stoner, Jr., files this direct appeal to our Court following his conviction, after a trial before a jury, on charges of statutory rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and corrupting the morals of a minor. He was represented at trial by privately retained defense counsel, who also filed post-trial motions. On this appeal, he is represented by the Dauphin County Public Defender. He raises several claims of error.

We will initially review Appellant's contention that the verdict was against the evidence and the weight of the evidence. Appellant's conviction resulted chiefly from the uncorroborated testimony of the twelve year old victim. Appellant argues that her testimony did not establish the essential elements of the crimes charged, and further, did not outweigh the contradictory evidence offered by several defense witnesses. We find no merit in such claims.

The evidence, read in a light most favorable to the Commonwealth [ Commonwealth v. Thomas, 465 Pa. 442, 350 A.2d

[ 284 Pa. Super. Page 369847]

(1976)], showed that the prosecutrix was a neighbor of the Appellant and his family. She accompanied them and some others to a vacant lot which the Appellant was then in the process of purchasing. The purpose of the trip, on an April evening in 1978, was to remove an inoperable vehicle from the lot. While at the site, the Appellant permitted the victim to consume several cans of beer. Late in the evening, the Appellant, his male friend and the victim walked to a nearby firehouse to use the bathrooms. The victim testified, in detail, that while she was in the building, the Appellant called her into the women's bathroom and told her to bend over the toilet. The victim then recited that the Appellant ". . . ate me out and had intercourse with me." The victim testified that the graphic description was the only way she knew how to explain what had occurred. The District Attorney requested a ruling from the court as to whether such testimony was "sufficient." The court indicated that it was, stating: ". . . we all understand what that means." Defense counsel made no objection but stated that the ". . . mere fact that [he was] not entering an objection [did] not mean that [he was] admitting." The victim also testified to other circumstances of the incident, which established that ejaculation had occurred. After the incident, the victim testified that the Appellant stated that he did not want her to report what had happened to anyone. The next day, he purportedly told her ". . . the next time he was going to use vasoline." The victim told her girlfriend about the incident the day after it occurred, and the friend reported it to her own mother, who in turn advised the victim's family of what had occurred. The Appellant and several defense witnesses testified that the victim had never been inside of the firehouse on the night in question.

We believe that the victim's testimony was sufficient to establish Appellant's guilt on the sexual crimes charged. In cases such as the instant one, the uncorroborated testimony of the victim, if believed by the trier of fact, is sufficient to support a conviction, despite contrary evidence from defense witnesses. See Commonwealth v. McKinley,

[ 284 Pa. Super. Page 370181]

Pa. Super. 610, 123 A.2d 735 (1956); Commonwealth v. Kettering, 180 Pa. Super. 247, 119 A.2d 580 (1956). The jurors were simply not bound to accept the contrary testimony offered by defense witnesses. Thus, we reject Appellant's ...


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