No. 1394 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division, Criminal Section, at Nos. 134-39, December Term 1980.
Allan L. Tereshko, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Robert B. Lawler, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.
McEwen, Johnson and Hoffman, JJ.
[ 312 Pa. Super. Page 185]
We here consider an appeal from the judgment of sentence in which appellant challenges the denial of his motion to vacate his negotiated plea of guilty to second degree murder for which he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment for life. We affirm.
Appellant argues that his guilty plea was not entered knowingly and voluntarily since: (1) the prosecutor "bargained unfairly with an unrealistic threat of a potential death penalty"; and (2) he was not informed of his right to participate in the selection of prospective jurors. He also
[ 312 Pa. Super. Page 186]
alleges that trial counsel was ineffective (1) for failing to withdraw as counsel so as to allow new counsel to be appointed to represent him in seeking the vacation of his guilty plea; and (2) "because he was allowed to believe that the death penalty was a realistic alternative to pleading guilty to second degree murder." We find no merit to these contentions.
A summary of the evidence which the Commonwealth intended to introduce against appellant at trial was presented by the assistant district attorney during the guilty plea hearing and established that on the evening of October 29, 1980, appellant, together with his accomplice co-defendant, Quinn Williams, accosted and robbed James Healey on a street in North Philadelphia. The robbery victim was shot in the head with a pistol held by appellant and subsequently died of that wound. The assistant district attorney indicated at the guilty plea hearing that four eyewitnesses would have testified at trial on behalf of the Commonwealth that they witnessed appellant and Williams commit the robbery and saw appellant shoot the victim. The Commonwealth would also have presented testimony: (1) from the individual who lent appellant the weapon which inflicted the fatal wound; and (2) from a woman to whom appellant admitted the shooting when he fled to her home while still armed with the pistol.
The Commonwealth at the guilty plea hearing read into the record the entire text of a signed confession made by appellant to the police shortly after the shooting in which appellant admitted that on the afternoon of the shooting appellant and his companion had decided to commit a robbery in order to acquire money for gambling and that they borrowed a pistol from a friend of appellant and began to search for a victim. When appellant and Williams saw James Healey walking down the street they agreed to rob him. Williams, the accomplice, approached Healey and pushed him into an alley where appellant brandished a gun in the face of the victim and demanded money. While the accomplice went through his pockets, the victim struggled
[ 312 Pa. Super. Page 187]
and yelled for assistance. Appellant confessed that during the struggle he hit the victim on the head with the gun, that the gun fired and that he ...