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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROY WILLIAMS (06/11/82)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


June 11, 1982

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ROY WILLIAMS, APPELLANT.

No. 640 Philadelphia, 1980, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, Philadelphia County, at No. 1433/1436 June Term, 1979.

Before Cercone, P.j., Wieand, and Hoffman, JJ.

Per Curiam:

The judgment of sentence of the lower court is affirmed.

MEMORANDUM

This is an appeal from the judgment of sentence imposed by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. The sole issue raised on appeal is whether the evidence was sufficient to support appellant's conviction for conspiracy.*fn1 Finding the sufficiency claim to be meritless, we affirm the judgment of sentence.

On June 12, 1979, at approximately 5 p.m., as Josephine Meehan was parking her car on Warnock Street near Champlost Street in the City of Philadelphia, she noticed five men standing nearby on the sidewalk. When Ms. Meehan exited her car, she was immediately grabbed and pushed up against her car by one of the two men. This man, later identified as appellant, Roy Williams, pointed a shotgun at Ms. Meehan. The accomplice went behind Ms. Meehan and remained positioned there during the entire course of the criminal episode. During the ensuing struggle, appellant ordered his accomplice to "come on, get it;" apparently, appellant was referring to the victim's pocketbook. The attack was interrupted, however, by a civilian who yelled to the assailants to leave the victim alone. At this point appellant walked away, but immediately rejoined his accomplice, and together they fled from the scene. Police officers arrived at the scene and pursued the two men, who split up, but then returned to the same house where they were apprehended.

As this is a sufficiency claim, we must review the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as verdict winner below, accepting as true all evidence upon which the fact finder could have based the verdict and then we must ask whether that evidence, along with all reasonable inferences, was sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Commonwealth v. Anderson, Pa. Superior Ct. , 402 A.2d 546 (1979); Commonwealth v. Eddington, 255 Pa. Superior Ct. 25, 386 A.2d 117 (1978); Commonwealth v. Luther, 266 Pa. Superior Ct. 240, A.2d (1979).

Criminal conspiracy is defined as:

(a) Definition of conspiracy.--A person is guilty of conspiracy with another person or persons to commit a crime if with the intent of promoting or facilitating its commission he:

(1) agrees with such other person or persons that they or one or more of them will engage in conduct which constitutes such crime or an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime; or

(2) agrees to aid such other person or persons in the planning or commission of such crime or of an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime.

18 P.S. ยง 903 (1973).

"The essence of criminal conspiracy is a common understanding, no matter how it came into being, that a particular criminal objective be accomplished." Commonwealth v. Carter, Pa. Superior Ct. , 416 A.2d 520 (1979); Commonwealth v. Anderson, supra. By its very nature, the crime of conspiracy is frequently not susceptible of proof except by circumstantial evidence. Commonwealth v. Carter, supra. Commonwealth v. Kwatkoski, Pa. Superior Ct. , 406 A.2d 1102 (1979). And although a conspiracy cannot be based upon mere suspicion or conjecture, Commonwealth v. Anderson, supra, a conspiracy "may be inferentially established by showing the relationship, conduct or circumstances of the parties, and the overt acts on the part of the co-conspirators have uniformly been held competent to prove that a corrupt confederation has in fact been formed." Commonwealth v. Carter, supra, quoting Commonwealth v. Horvath, 187 Pa. Superior Ct. 206, 211, 144 A.2d 489, 492 (1958). The facts of the instant case bear out the validity of the conspiracy conviction. There was an association between appellant and his accomplice. Both men participated in the robbery as appellant held a gun on the victim while the accomplice stood behind her in an apparent attempt to prevent the victim's escape or deter anyone else from interfering. Under the given circumstances, the lower court was correct in finding that there was an unlawful agreement between appellant and his accomplice to commit the crime.*fn2

Judgment of sentence affirmed.


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