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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LAMONT L. SAKAL (07/02/81)

decided: July 2, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
LAMONT L. SAKAL, APPELLANT



No. 80-1-119, Appeal from Order denying Post Conviction Petition entered June 6, 1980, in Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Criminal Division at No. CC7508885.

COUNSEL

Nicholas P. Brenlove, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Robert E. Colville, Dist. Atty., Robert L. Eberhardt, Deputy Dist. Atty., Robert A. Zunich, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.

O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, Kauffman and Wilkinson, JJ. O'Brien, C. J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 494 Pa. Page 287]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County denying a new trial as sought by appellant's petition, filed pursuant to the Post Conviction Hearing Act (PCHA).*fn1 We affirm.

Shortly after midnight on November 10, 1975 the Plum Borough Police Department radio dispatcher received a telephone call wherein the caller stated, "this is Sakal at 5056 Hialeah. I have just killed my wife." Police patrol cars were dispatched to the address. As the patrol cars arrived, a man subsequently identified as appellant, ran to the cars and yelled, "I killed my wife." The officers discovered the body of the deceased wife inside the home and then arrested appellant. Appellant made no more statements until a few hours later.

On November 12 and 14, 1975, appellant was examined by two psychiatrists at the Allegheny County Behavior Clinic,

[ 494 Pa. Page 288]

Dr. Bowman and Dr. Davis. The latter doctor ultimately testified for the defense at trial, advancing his opinion that appellant was insane under the M'Naghten test, i. e., at the time of the act he either did not know the nature and quality of the act or did not know that it was wrong. Commonwealth v. Hicks, 483 Pa. 305, 396 A.2d 1183 (1979). On November 25, 1975 appellant was adjudged incompetent to stand trial and was committed to Farview State Hospital. Seven months later appellant was deemed mentally fit for trial, which took place in August 1976 before a jury. The jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder of the first degree.

Post-verdict motions were filed, argued, and denied. Appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment. This Court heard a direct appeal and affirmed the judgment of sentence. Commonwealth v. Sakal, 480 Pa. 620, 391 A.2d 1058 (1978). By new counsel appellant filed his PCHA petition. After a hearing on the matter, the court of common pleas entered an order denying the prayer for relief.

Appellant here submits that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel, see Section 3(c)(6) of the PCHA, 19 P.S. ยง 1180-3(c)(6), in that his trial counsel (1) failed to move for the suppression of an inculpatory statement which was introduced at trial and ...


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