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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DIANE HAMILL METZGER (10/05/82)

decided: October 5, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
DIANE HAMILL METZGER, APPELLANT



No. 80-3-411, Appeal from the Judgments of Sentence imposed by the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, dated January 4, 1980, at Nos. 4400 A-K, December Sessions, 1975.

COUNSEL

Drew Salaman, Andrea Commaker, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Vram Nedurian, Jr., Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.

O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott and Hutchinson, JJ.

Author: Mcdermott

[ 498 Pa. Page 679]

OPINION

This is a direct appeal of the judgments of sentence entered upon the convictions of appellant, Diane Hamill Metzger. Following a jury trial, appellant was found guilty on March 4, 1976 of first degree murder, burglary and

[ 498 Pa. Page 680]

    conspiracy.*fn1 On November 16, 1977 appellant was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment on the first degree murder conviction and concurrent terms of seven and one half to fifteen years on the burglary and criminal conspiracy convictions.

Appellant appealed to this Court and we ordered an evidentiary hearing on the claims of ineffective assistance of counsel on May 15, 1978. Appellant's sentence was vacated and evidentiary hearings were held on June 27, 1978, September 22, 1978 and November 3, 1978. The trial court denied appellant's allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel on November 30, 1979 and re-sentencing was scheduled for January 4, 1980, at which time appellant's earlier sentence was reimposed. This appeal followed.*fn2

The following facts were adduced at trial. On September 24, 1974, the four sons of Frank and Martha Metzger*fn3 were found abandoned at a motel in Dunkirk, New York. An arrest warrant charging abandonment, was issued for Frank Metzger. The New York State Police went to the farmhouse in Farnham, New York, where Frank Metzger and appellant had been living with the boys, in an attempt to arrest Frank Metzger on September 25, 1974. Finding no one at the farmhouse, the police inspected the premises and found in a freshly disturbed plot of ground, the decomposed body of Martha Metzger. Frank Metzger and appellant

[ 498 Pa. Page 681]

    were arrested by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Boise, ...


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