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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DONALD LEONARD (12/10/82)

decided: December 10, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
DONALD LEONARD, APPELLANT



No. 489 January Term, 1979, Appeal from the Judgments of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, Trial Division, Criminal Section, at Nos. 150 & 152 June Term, 1978, entered December 11, 1979.

COUNSEL

Barry S. Yaches, Philadelphia (Court-appointed), for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Div., Gail Thackeray, Asst. Dist. Attys., for appellee.

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

Author: Roberts

[ 499 Pa. Page 359]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant Donald Leonard appeals from judgments of sentence imposed by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia upon a jury's verdicts of guilty of murder of the first degree and criminal conspiracy. Appellant seeks a new trial, both on the ground that trial counsel was ineffective and on the contention that an inculpatory statement which he gave to police was the product of an unlawful arrest and hence inadmissible. After an evidentiary hearing with new counsel on post-verdict motions raising these claims, the court denied relief and sentenced appellant to a term of life imprisonment for murder of the first degree and a concurrent

[ 499 Pa. Page 360]

    term of five to ten years for criminal conspiracy. We affirm.

I

Appellant was charged in connection with the death of Adolph Cooper. The Commonwealth's case against appellant was established largely through the testimony of Marjorie Hightower, an eyewitness to the killing. She testified that she had been sitting in her father's car listening to the radio from approximately 11:00 to 11:30 p.m. on the day of the victim's death. At some point during this period, she saw a man pursued by three others running toward her. At trial she identified one of the pursuers as appellant and one as "Butch," both of whom she had previously known. She stated that she had not recognized the third pursuer or the victim.

Marjorie Hightower testified that the victim fell to the ground at the corner of York and Napa Streets, whereupon Butch stabbed him and appellant kicked and punched him. The victim then got up and ran to the next corner, fell again, and was again stabbed by Butch and kicked and punched by appellant. She then went into her house and called the police. When she returned, she saw the victim lying on the sidewalk where he had fallen the second time. She then saw the victim get to his feet and run one block farther, at which point the concerted attack on him resumed, this time with appellant using a long iron pipe to beat the victim on the side of the head. The victim was later found lying on the sidewalk by a police officer responding to the telephone call. An autopsy revealed that the victim had died as a result of multiple head injuries and stab wounds in the back.

Appellant was arrested in his home early the next morning without a warrant. At police headquarters, Detective Frank O'Brien obtained a search warrant and, pursuant to the warrant, took possession of appellant's jacket and trousers, both of which contained spots of blood later ...


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