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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JAMES M. GILES (03/11/83)

decided: March 11, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JAMES M. GILES, APPELLANT



No. 80-3-357, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, Criminal Section of Philadelphia County, Imposed on Information Nos. 983 and 985, August Session, 1978

COUNSEL

Nino V. Tinari, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Div., Mariana Sorensen, Asst. Dist. Attys., Philadelphia, for appellee.

Roberts, C.j., and Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson and Zappala, JJ.

Author: Larsen

[ 500 Pa. Page 415]

OPINION

On August 2, 1978, 62-year-old Willa Mae Hill was brutally stabbed to death and her apartment was ransacked. In connection with these crimes, a jury found appellant James M. Giles guilty of murder of the second degree and robbery. Following the denial of post-verdict motions, appellant was sentenced to concurrent terms of life imprisonment for murder and ten to twenty years imprisonment for robbery. This direct appeal followed.

Appellant first contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions.

The test of sufficiency of the evidence is whether, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth and drawing the proper inferences favorable to the Commonwealth, the trier of fact could reasonably have found that all of the elements of the crime had been established beyond a reasonable doubt.

Commonwealth v. Pitts, 486 Pa. 212, 215, 404 A.2d 1305, 1306 (1979).

Viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, the record in this case reveals the following facts: The decedent, Willa Mae Hill, lived in a second floor apartment above a bar owned by appellant's family. It was her custom to come into the bar each month to pick up her food stamps and Social Security check. On the afternoon of August 2, 1978, the decedent came into the bar, picked up an envelope, and left. Appellant, who lived in the third floor apartment above the bar and who worked in the bar, was in the bar when the decedent came in. Some time thereafter, appellant left the bar.

At about 4:20 p.m., police officer Dominic Bellizzie, responding to a radio call, found appellant lying on the sidewalk outside the apartment building. Appellant was surrounded by a group of spectators; appellant's cheek was bleeding and a broken knife was lying on the ...


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