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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LEWIS JONES (06/03/83)

filed: June 3, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
LEWIS JONES, APPELLANT



No. 880 Philadelphia, 1982, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Philadelphia County, No. 1069 October Term, 1981.

COUNSEL

William James Perrone, Norristown, for appellant.

Sarah B. Vandenbraak, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Cercone, President Judge, and Cavanaugh and Wieand, JJ.

Author: Wieand

[ 314 Pa. Super. Page 518]

Lewis Jones was tried non-jury and was convicted of theft by unlawfully taking a 1981 Buick.*fn1 On direct appeal from the judgment of sentence, Jones contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the conviction and that he failed to receive a speedy trial in accordance with the mandate of Pa.R.Crim.P. 1100. We find no merit in these contentions and, accordingly, affirm.

In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence to support a finding of guilt, we view the evidence, and all reasonable inferences therefrom, in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as verdict winner. The test is whether, accepting as true the evidence favorable to the Commonwealth, together with all reasonable inferences therefrom, the evidence is sufficient to prove appellant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Commonwealth v. Giles, 500 Pa. 413, 417, 456 A.2d 1356, 1358 (1983); Commonwealth v. Bachert, 499 Pa. 398, 402, 453 A.2d 931, 933 (1982); Commonwealth v. Darden, 311 Pa. Super. 170, 172, 457 A.2d 549, 550 (1983); Commonwealth v. Ruth, 309 Pa. Super. 458, 461, 455 A.2d 700, 701 (1983); Commonwealth v. Fortune, 305 Pa. Super. 441, 443, 451 A.2d 729, 730 (1982).

On July 3, 1981, at or about 7:20 o'clock, a.m., appellant and his brother were found stripping a Buick which had been stolen less than an hour before. When police came upon the stolen car in a vacant lot, appellant was observed jacking up the rear of the vehicle and removing the lug nuts from a wheel. Three other wheels had already been removed and had been placed in a Cadillac standing nearby.

[ 314 Pa. Super. Page 519]

When the police approached, appellant fled. After he was found and arrested, the police returned to examine the stolen Buick. The engine was then found to be warm; and the ignition had been tampered with so that the vehicle could be started by depressing a rod within the steering column. The trunk lock and the spare tire had been removed.

Appellant's unexplained possession of the recently stolen automobile was a circumstance which permitted the finder of fact to draw an inference that appellant had stolen the car. Commonwealth ex rel. Chatary v. Nailon, 416 Pa. 280, 283, 206 A.2d 43, 45 (1965); Commonwealth v. Wilson, 312 Pa. Super. 77, 80, 458 A.2d 244, 245 (1983); Commonwealth v. Thomas, 305 Pa. Super. 158, 164, 451 A.2d 470, 473 (1982). See also: Commonwealth v. Turner, 456 Pa. 116, 317 A.2d 298 (1974) (plurality opinion); Commonwealth v. Plath, 267 Pa. Super. 1, 405 A.2d 1273 (1979). When considered with evidence of appellant's flight, the evidence was clearly sufficient to support appellant's conviction. Commonwealth v. Wilson, supra 312 Pa. Super. at 81, 458 A.2d at 245; Commonwealth v. Wilson, 294 Pa. Super. 101, 104, 439 A.2d 770, 771 (1982). See: Commonwealth v. Davis, 491 Pa. 363, 370 n. 4, 421 A.2d 179, 182 n. 4 (1980); Commonwealth v. Osborne, 433 Pa. 297, 302, 249 A.2d 330, 333 (1969); Commonwealth v. Gease, 304 Pa. Super. 433, 436, 450 A.2d 989, 990 (1982); Commonwealth v. Jones, 298 Pa. Super. 199, 204, 444 A.2d 729, 731-732 (1982); Commonwealth v. Rough, 275 Pa. Super. 50, 62, 418 A.2d 605, 611 (1980); Commonwealth v. Lloyd, 239 Pa. Super. 273, 278, 361 A.2d 430, 432 (1976).

Appellant was arrested on July 3, 1981. Under the mandate of Pa.R.Crim.P. 1100, the Commonwealth was required to bring him to trial on or before December 30, 1981. Appellant's trial did not commence until January 12, 1982. However, the trial court, on timely petition of the Commonwealth, had granted an ...


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