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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GEORGE BUTTS (09/24/81)

decided: September 24, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
GEORGE BUTTS



No. 218 January Term, 1979, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia Trial Division Criminal Section, Imposed on Bill Nos. 120, 123, September Term, 1978

COUNSEL

Stephen J. Margolin, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Eliot Present, Philadelphia, for appellee.

O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, Kauffman and Wilkinson, JJ.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 495 Pa. Page 530]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant was tried by a jury in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia and convicted of murder of the first degree and conspiracy.*fn1 After the denial of post-trial motions,

[ 495 Pa. Page 531]

    appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment on the murder conviction and to a concurrent term of one to five years on the conspiracy conviction. This appeal followed. We affirm the judgments of sentence.

The evidence showed that early in the morning of August 28, 1976, the victim, appellant, his co-conspirator*fn2 and several others were attending a party at the home of Caroline Baylor. Appellant and the co-conspirator remained at the party for only a short time. At 4:30 a.m., Janice Brown and Diane Newsome left the party. Soon thereafter they encountered appellant and his confederate sitting in a bluish green car. As they approached the car, both women noticed the co-conspirator seated in the back seat with a shotgun in his lap. Both women testified that appellant, in response to Diane Newsome's inquiries, stated that he was going to "get revenge" on the victim for a stab wound which the victim's stepfather had previously inflicted upon appellant and that he was "going to kill that . . . ."

The victim left the party shortly after the departure of the two women and stood alone on the sidewalk in front of Caroline Baylor's home. A sixteen year old boy, Anthony Prosser, then approached him and the two sat down on the steps to talk.

Moments later, Prosser testified, appellant's co-conspirator was seen crossing the path of a bluish green car, which pulled slowly up to a nearby corner, and walking in their direction carrying a shotgun. The victim stood up and took a few steps toward the co-conspirator. At this point, the co-conspirator fired the weapon, at close range, striking the victim in the chest. He died a few hours later. The assailant then ran to the car, its headlights on and engine running, jumped in the ...


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