No. 80-3-444, Appeal From the Order of the Court of Common Pleas Of Northumber-land County Refusing Defendant's Motion For A New Trial and/or Arrest of Judgment
Frank E. Garrigan (Court-appointed), Shamokin, for appellant.
Guy W. Schlesinger, Shamokin, for appellee.
O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott and Hutchinson, JJ.
For the second time a jury convicted appellant on September 14, 1978 of first degree murder in the shooting of his wife.*fn1 Post-trial motions were argued before the Court en banc and were denied. He appealed his sentence of life imprisonment. We affirm.
Appellant first contends the evidence at trial was insufficient to establish his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Specifically, he contends the best the Commonwealth's evidence showed is that he could have arrived home within the one hour range of time during which the Commonwealth established the victim died.
In evaluating this contention we view the entire record in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, and drawing all reasonable inferences therefrom favorable to the Commonwealth, determine whether there is sufficient evidence to enable the trier of fact to find every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Commonwealth v. Hudson, 489 Pa. 620, 414 A.2d 1381 (1980); Commonwealth v. Smith, 484 Pa. 71, 398 A.2d 948 (1979); Commonwealth v. Boyle, 470 Pa. 343, 368 A.2d 661 (1977). Moreover, while a criminal conviction may not be based on mere conjecture, the Commonwealth's burden of proof may be sustained by means of wholly circumstantial evidence. Commonwealth v. Berrios, 495 Pa. 444, 434 A.2d 1173 (1981).
So viewed, the record reveals the following:
Early in the evening on December 8, 1973 appellant Norbert E. Pronkoskie left the trailer located in a rural area in
the Southwestern portion of Northumberland County which he shared with his wife, Ruby Mae Pronkoskie and their three year old daughter, and drove the quarter mile to the home of Ruby Mae's parents, Ivan and Sophie Boyer and their son, Edward. Sometime between 7:30 p. m. and 8:00 p. m., appellant accompanied Edward and five other young men on a van trip from Ashland to Pottsville thence to Lykens, Gratz and Erdman. All the young men drank beer and appellant consumed about six cans. At ...