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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. EDGAR RODGERS (03/11/83)

decided: March 11, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
EDGAR RODGERS, APPELLANT



No. 80-3-575, Appeal from the Judgments of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, PHILADELPHIA COUNTY, TRIAL Division, Criminal Section Imposed on Information Nos. 843 and 846, April Session, 1979.

COUNSEL

Stanley W. Bluestein (Court-appointed), Philadelphia, for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Div., Asst. Dist. Atty., Alan Sacks, Philadelphia, for appellee.

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

Author: Nix

[ 500 Pa. Page 407]

OPINION

This is a direct appeal from the judgments of sentence for murder of the first degree and criminal conspiracy. Consecutive terms of imprisonment were imposed. Appellant seeks

[ 500 Pa. Page 408]

    relief claiming that the evidence was insufficient to establish his shared criminal intent, necessary to support the findings of guilt. In the alternative, appellant argues that the Commonwealth's failure to disclose the name of a particular witness during pretrial discovery warrants at least the grant of a new trial. Upon examination it is apparent that both of these complaints are without merit and we affirm the judgments of sentence.

In March, 1979 appellant was engaged in selling drugs in his neighborhood housing project in conjunction with several other individuals including a Frank Jenkins. In the early part of that month, appellant stated to a friend, Brenda Cropper, that he intended to kill the deceased, Willie "Omar" Tinsley. The cause of the animosity was Tinsley's intrusion upon appellant's business interests. At the residence where appellant's illicit business was being conducted, Tinsley was shot and killed on March 20, 1979. Tinsley died from shotgun wounds fired by Frank Jenkins in the presence of appellant. Appellant assisted in the disposal of the body and arranged for the concealing of the murder weapon. A few days after the incident, appellant admitted to a friend, Butler Branch, that he had killed Tinsley, and admonished him not to disclose that confidence. The cause of death was determined to have been a shotgun blast from a distance of three (3) to five (5) feet to the face of the victim.*fn1

Addressing first the sufficiency of evidence claim,*fn2 our law is clear that a conspiracy may be inferentially

[ 500 Pa. Page 409]

    established. Commonwealth v. Tate, 485 Pa. 180, 401 A.2d 353 (1979); Commonwealth v. Holmes, 482 Pa. 97, 393 A.2d 397 (1978); Commonwealth v. Roux, 465 Pa. 482, 350 A.2d 867 (1976). To sustain the instant judgments, the evidence would have to support a finding that appellant shared the intent to kill Tinsley. Commonwealth v. Bradley, 481 Pa. 223, 392 A.2d 688 (1978); Commonwealth v. Wilson, 449 Pa. 235, 296 A.2d 719 (1972); Commonwealth v. Yobbagy, 410 Pa. 172, 188 A.2d 750 (1963); Commonwealth v. Neff, 407 Pa. 1, 179 A.2d 630 (1962). We accept appellant's contention that mere presence will not satisfy that burden. Commonwealth v. Smith, 490 Pa. 374, 416 A.2d 517 (1980); Commonwealth v. Garrett, 423 Pa. 8, 222 A.2d 902 (1966). Here the testimony demonstrates much more than mere presence, contrary to what appellant would have us believe. The evidence of appellant's stated intention to kill the victim, his ...


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