No. 2032 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of July 8, 1981 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, No. 2136-2139 July Term, 1980.
F. Michael Medway, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Robert B. Lawler, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Cercone, President Judge, and Johnson, and Montemuro, JJ.
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Appellant, Maria Rodriquez, takes this appeal from her convictions for robbery, murder in the second degree (felony murder), and possessing an instrument of crime. In this appeal, appellant raises two issues: (1) Whether the Court erred when it refused appellant's motion to suppress her pre-trial statement, and (2) Whether the evidence was sufficient to support her conviction.
On June 2, 1980, at approximately 12:30 a.m., appellant was sitting with several other women on the steps of a house at 5th and Willard Streets in Philadelphia. This house was adjacent to the Home Plate Inn, a bar. At the
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time mentioned above, appellant was approached by two men from the neighborhood, known as Santana and Little Hawk, who pointed through the window of the bar to one Carlos Rivera, a patron in the bar, and told appellant that Rivera had a lot of money on him. Appellant understood this to mean that the two men wanted her to coax Rivera outside so that the men could rob him. Appellant, however, replied that she knew Rivera and didn't want to bother him. Hearing this, the two men went away and did not return. However, when Rivera left the bar about a half of an hour later, appellant followed him on her bicycle and caught up with him at the corner of 5th and Allegheny. There, appellant and Rivera engaged in conversation for a while. As for what happened next, we quote from the pretrial statement which appellant gave:
APPELLANT: We talked for a couple minutes and I figured he wanted to take me somewhere, so I thought now I could get some money off him. I reached with my left hand to go in his pants pocket (Det. Aiken then asked Maria to demonstrate what happened and she rose from chair, placed her left hand in the top part of Det. Aiken's right front pants pocket, then she placed Det. Aiken's right hand around her left wrist, and said she told Carlos several times to leave her be, he held on real tight, then she placed her right hand in her back pocket and stated that she took the razor blade from her back right pants pocket and told Carlos she was going to cut him, he said Go ahead, so she then took the razor blade, which she had in her right hand, and made a slashing motion on Carlos right arm).
POLICE: How many times did you cut him?
QUESTION: Did he then let go of your hand?
ANSWER: Yea, right after I cut him.
QUESTION: What did Carlos do then?
ANSWER: He ran, right up 5th St., near where the houses are, and I was chasing after him to stop the bleeding, I saw it was bad. Thats when he ran into a
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fence and fell down, I went to pick him up and fell down with him. Then I saw his money stickin out from his pocket, the edge of the money, So I decided to take it. I reached in his pocket and took all the money he had in that pocket.
QUESTION: How much money did you take from Carlos?
QUESTION: What kind of bills did he have, 1's, 5's, 10's, what did you get from him?
ANSWER: A couple of 20's and some 10's, it came to a hundred.
QUESTION: What did you do then?
ANSWER: I stood up, and I was bloody, and I hollered call the Police, he's hurt and people were coming then. Sonia [appellant's friend] came up and saw the blood on me, she said for me to leave, they'll see the blood. I said why should I leave and she made me go. So I went to my mother's.
QUESTION: Describe what you cut Carlos with?
ANSWER: It was a double edged razor blade, silver, it was in a silver thing that you just slid the razor blade out.
QUESTION: Where did you by [sic] the blades?
ANSWER: I had bought them at the Puerto Rican grocery store at 6th & Tusculum St. that same day, to shave my eyebrows.
QUESTION: What did you do with the razor blade after you cut Carlos?
ANSWER: I just dropped it after I cut him, right there, I let it go.
QUESTION: Did you know Carlos Rivera to carry large sums of money with him?
ANSWER: I knew he had 100 to 200 dollars with him always, he had no wife, he never spent much money. He always worked and had money.
QUESTION: On the night you cut Carlos, did you see Carlos with any money?
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ANSWER: Yes, in the bar I saw him put money in his pants pocket.
QUESTION: Was that the same pocket (Det. Aiken points to right front pants pocket) that you tried to take Carlos money from at 5th & Allegheny, and then ...