No. 84 January Term, 1979, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, Trial Division, Criminal Section, at Nos. 709-711 February Term, 1978, dated February 8, 1979.
Stanley P. Stern, Philadelphia (Court-appointed), for appellant.
Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Div., Philadelphia, for appellee.
O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Roberts, J., filed a dissenting opinion.
Following a jury trial in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, appellant, T. H. Styles, was convicted of third degree murder and possession of an instrument of crime in connection with the shooting death of Salone Ferrell. Post verdict motions were denied, and appellant was sentenced to concurrent prison terms of 7 to 20 years for the murder conviction and 2 1/2 to 5 years for the weapons offense. Appellant here argues that the trial judge (1) erred in allowing the Commonwealth to introduce evidence of subsequent
criminal conduct and (2) abused her discretion in denying appellant's motion for a mistrial after an outburst by a spectator in the courtroom. Finding both of these contentions to be without merit, we affirm the judgment of sentence.*fn1
The relevant facts are as follows: At approximately 3:00 p. m. on February 2, 1978, appellant discovered his wife sitting in a parked car with Ferrell near the 1201 Bar in South Philadelphia. He ran over, opened the car door, grabbed her by the collar and slapped her. During the argument that followed, Ferrell told appellant to "pick on me." Appellant then drove to his mother-in-law's house and obtained a loaded shotgun.
Later that afternoon, appellant confronted his wife at a neighbor's house and threw a shotgun shell at her, stating, "This one is for you." He then left the house and returned to the 1201 Bar, where Ferrell was employed as a bartender. Holding the loaded shotgun, appellant entered the bar, walked to within a few feet of a pool table where Ferrell was standing, said, "I told you I'd be back," and shot him. Appellant began to aim the shotgun again, but a patron in the bar struggled with him and prevented a second shot. With the gun still in his hands, appellant fled, but was apprehended outside the bar by two passing police officers.
Following his arrest, appellant was taken to Graduate Hospital where Ferrell, who was in critical condition, identified him as his assailant. Appellant was then charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and various lesser offenses in connection with the shooting. Later that night, he was released on bail. Ferrell died early the next day, however, and an arrest warrant was issued charging appellant with murder.
At approximately 6:30 p. m. on the day after the shooting, appellant was again arrested when he was observed by police walking down the ...