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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ALBERT SCHOELLHAMMER (12/23/82)

filed: December 23, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ALBERT SCHOELLHAMMER, APPELLANT



NO. 2459 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of August 21, 1981, Court of Common Pleas, Montgomery County, Criminal, No. 232-80.

COUNSEL

Leigh P. Narducci, Norristown, for appellant.

Ronald Thomas Williamson, Assistant District Attorney, Norristown, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Cavanaugh, McEwen and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Mcewen

[ 308 Pa. Super. Page 362]

We here consider an appeal from the judgment of sentence imposed in the Common Pleas Court of Montgomery

[ 308 Pa. Super. Page 363]

County after appellant was convicted by a jury of arson endangering property intentionally, arson endangering property recklessly and recklessly endangering another person. Appellant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of from five to fifty-nine months and to make restitution in the amount of $7,500.00 upon the arson convictions. Sentence was suspended for the offense of recklessly endangering another person. We affirm.

The facts of this case were carefully delineated by the distinguished Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge William W. Vogel in his opinion and order entered upon the motions of appellant for a new trial and in arrest of judgment:

On December 15, 1979, at approximately 4:30 A.M., the garage situated on the premises of Catherine Baker at 638 S. York Road was substantially destroyed by fire. Based upon a determination that the fire was of suspicious origin, assistance from an arson detection expert from the State Police was requested. Trooper Walter B. Kerr investigated the scene on December 17, 1979 and determined that the fire was not a result of accidental factors and was, in fact, incendiary. As a result of that determination, an extensive investigation was launched.

The defendant, who had been observed at the scene of the fire, was contacted by Detective Richard Tidwell of the Upper Moreland Township Police Department and asked to come to the police station for an interview on January 3, 1980. On that date, prior to any questioning and pursuant to standard police procedure, the defendant was advised of his Miranda Warnings.*fn1 During the interview, the defendant accounted for his presence at the scene of the fire and denied responsibility for the blaze. Detective Tidwell then asked the defendant if he would submit to a polygraph examination, which he refused and the interview was terminated.

[ 308 Pa. Super. Page 364]

Later that same day, the defendant telephoned Detective Tidwell and indicated a new-found willingness to submit to the polygraph examination. An appointment was scheduled for January 4, 1980 at 9:00 a.m.

Prior to questioning on that date, the defendant was advised by Detective George Crowley that he was not obligated to answer questions. However, the defendant agreed and ultimately failed the examination. Thereafter, in a conversation with Detective Crowley, the defendant admitted setting the fire and, at Detective Crowley's ...


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