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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. BELVA GILL (12/29/81)

December 29, 1981

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
BELVA GILL, APPELLANT



No. 225 Harrisburg, 1980, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence dated October 16, 1980 Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Dauphin County, No. 811 CD of 1979.

Before Brosky, Beck and McEWEN, JJ.

Per Curiam:

Judgment of sentence is affirmed.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA vs. BELVA GILL; COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA vs. LORETTA ANN FORNWALT

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF DAUPHIN COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

NO. 811 CRIMINAL DIVISION 1979 CHARGE: THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF DAUPHIN COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

NO. 1001 CRIMINAL DIVISION 1979 CHARGE: THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING

MEMORANDUM

The defendants were convicted by a jury on June 24, 1980, of the crime of theft by unlawful taking and conspiracy and their post-trial motions are now before us.

Defendants initially question the sufficiency of the Commonwealth's evidence by which they were convicted, which consisted of the testimony of George Bricker, a self-confessed participant in the theft. Bricker and Gill were employees of Kratzer's Amoco Station. When it appeared the station was about to close, Bricker testified that they decided to stage a robbery and keep and divide the receipts on hand. Apparently Fornwalt became a participant in the scheme at the invitation of Gill, for she appeared at the station in Gill's company on March 29, 1979, and the three people thereupon planned the theft.

It was made to appear that Bricker was locked in a closet by a holdup man and a door panel was broken out to simulate his escape. Pursuant to their plans, on March 30, 1979, Bricker called the police from the gas station and indicated he had just been robbed and in this manner approximately $2700.00 in cash was taken from the owner of the station. During the investigation of the alleged robbery Bricker confessed and implicated the defendants. At trial Gill and Fornwalt vehemently denied being involved in the scheme and alibi witnesses were presented on their behalf. The jury convicted defendants and it is obvious the Commonwealth's evidence was sufficient. The cases depended entirely on credibility and Bricker's testimony alone, if believed, was sufficient basis for the conviction. See COMMONWEALTH v. GORDON, 254 Pa. Superior Ct. 267, 385 A.2d 1013 (1978).

The only real issue in the case is whether the defendants were brought to trial promptly and they have raised objections under Pa R.C.P. 1100, which they argue require dismissal of the within cases.

The complaint against Gill was filed on April 23, 1979, and against Fornwalt on May 21, 1979. A joint trial was set in both cases for October 15, 1979, but prior to that time both defense counsel were engaged in a protracted trial in federal court, and it was known that lengthy continuances and extensions would be ...


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