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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROBERT IRVIN WALTERS (08/13/82)

filed: August 13, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ROBERT IRVIN WALTERS, APPELLANT



No. 49 Pittsburgh, 1981, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Fayette County, Nos. 813 and 8131/2 of 1978.

COUNSEL

Alphonse P. Lepore, Jr., Uniontown, for appellant.

Gerald R. Solomon, District Attorney, Uniontown, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Hester, Popovich and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Hester

[ 303 Pa. Super. Page 205]

Appellant Robert Irvin Walters was convicted by a jury of murder of the first degree and criminal conspiracy. Post-trial motions were denied and appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder conviction and a consecutive prison term of five (5) to ten (10) years for the conspiracy conviction. The facts and issues involved in the instant appeal are almost identical to those involved in Commonwealth v. Contakos, 492 Pa. 465, 424 A.2d 1284 (1981). Both cases concern the killing of Charles Jacob Lowry. The principal Commonwealth witness in both cases was Thomas Harry Colvin, who had previously pled guilty to third degree murder of the victim. Colvin testified that the appellant contacted him to arrange for the killing of Lowry for $1,500.00. He further testified that he and Contakos killed Lowry on October 6, 1977.

Initially we will address the issues presented which are the same issues which were presented to the Supreme Court in Contakos, supra. Following our full review of the record and the lower court's opinion, and viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, we agree that ". . . the testimony of Colvin alone is sufficient to establish all of the elements of both murder of the first degree and criminal conspiracy." Contakos, supra, 492 Pa. at 469, 424 A.2d at 1286.

As in Contakos, appellant also challenges the jurisdiction of the lower court and contends that the charges must be dismissed due to the fact that neither of the Informations had been personally signed by the district attorney. Both Informations were rubber stamped with the district attorney's signature. However, as in Contakos, both Informations were also marked "approved 12/20/78 R.C.W." Ralph C. Warman was the Assistant District Attorney of Fayette

[ 303 Pa. Super. Page 206]

County assigned to the case. Under these circumstances, the approval of the Informations against appellant satisfies the Judicial Code and Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 225(b). Contakos, supra, 492 Pa. at 469-470, 424 A.2d at 1286-1287. See also Commonwealth v. Dupree, 290 Pa. Super. 202, 434 A.2d 201 (1981); Commonwealth v. Emanuel, 285 Pa. Super. 594, 428 A.2d 204 (1981).

As in Contakos, appellant also challenges the lower court's refusal to order the pre-trial discovery as request by appellant. Appellant requested the production and disclosure by the Commonwealth of certain investigatory notes which were taken by the prosecuting officer when he interviewed Commonwealth witnesses.

In Contakos, supra, 492 Pa. at 472, 424 A.2d at 1287, the Supreme Court held:

"While a defendant may be seeking only notes of interviews with a Commonwealth witness, those portions of the notes which contain either verbatim, or substantially verbatim, statements which are relevant ...


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