No. 80-3-400, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, Criminal Division at No. 77052701-5, entered November 15, 1979.
Charles B. Coleman, Reading (Court-appointed), for appellant.
Charles M. Guthrie, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.
O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott and Hutchinson, JJ. Nix, J., concurs in the result.
Appellant Miguel Guzman Martinez appeals from a judgment of sentence of six to twenty years' imprisonment imposed by the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County on a jury's verdict of guilty of murder of the third degree. Appellant challenges the sufficiency and weight of the evidence to sustain his conviction for murder of the third degree, his competency to stand trial, trial counsel's failure to raise an insanity defense, numerous trial court rulings and the severity of his sentence. As none of appellant's claims merits relief, we affirm.
Appellant was tried on a charge of murder generally for the shooting death on April 3, 1973, of Candida Candelaria, on the front porch of Mrs. Candelaria's home. Viewed in
the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as verdict winner, the evidence established that, approximately an hour before the offense, the victim's daughter overheard a telephone conversation between the victim and appellant in which appellant said that "he was going to go to [the victim's] house and hit [the victim] and put her in the hospital." Appellant arrived at the victim's home shortly after 4:00 p. m., and said to the daughter, "I just came here to kill your mother." Appellant then took a .38 caliber revolver from his car and fired several shots, killing the victim. After the shooting appellant argued with the victim's daughter and then drove to the home of a friend, a local constable. He gave the constable the gun and asked to be taken to the police department. Upon appellant's arrest, a .38 caliber live cartridge was found in his pants pocket during a pat down search of his person. After being taken into custody, appellant consented to a dermal nitrate test, which subsequently showed gunpowder patterns on his hands.
The defense introduced expert testimony that at the time of the offense appellant was suffering from hypertension and chronic alcohol abuse. Appellant testified that he had drunk several "shots" of whiskey and several beers during the morning and afternoon immediately preceding the shooting. In his testimony, appellant attributed the shooting to an accident. He said that, although he could not recall the shooting itself, he recalled having seen the daughter come out of the house carrying the revolver. The daughter pointed the gun at him, and he then grasped the daughter's hand to push the gun away. After the gun had discharged, shooting the victim, the daughter threw the gun to the ground. According to appellant, he picked up the gun and took it with him to the home of his friend, the constable.
Contrary to appellant's contention, the evidence was clearly sufficient to prove the elements of murder of the third degree beyond a reasonable doubt. Nor is the jury's verdict against the weight of the evidence. Direct and ...