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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RUSSELL MADISON (07/08/83)

decided: July 8, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
RUSSELL MADISON, APPELLANT



NO. 80-3-529, Appeal from the Judgments of Sentence imposed by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia on April 16, 1980 at Nos. 262,265, February Session, 1978

COUNSEL

Ronald Segal, Philadelphia (court-appointed), for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Div., David Da Costa, Asst. Dist. Attys., for appellee.

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

Author: Mcdermott

[ 501 Pa. Page 488]

OPINION

This is a direct appeal from a decision by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia which imposed on appellant, Russell Madison, judgments of sentence for first degree murder and possession of an instrument of crime. We now affirm.*fn1

On December 30, 1977, Philadelphia police were called to the scene of a homicide. While searching the premises they discovered the body of Luther Collins (hereinafter "victim") with a knife wound in the chest. Additional search produced

[ 501 Pa. Page 489]

    a Christmas card bearing appellant's name found in the pocket of a raincoat laying near the body, a pay stub also found near the body bearing appellant's name and a knife covered with blood, later determined to be the murder weapon. On the basis of this information, the police visited appellant's home on January 17, 1978 at which time they were told by appellant's mother that he had recently been in a fight in which he had suffered injuries.

Police then began a search for appellant and were unable to find him in any of the various locations he was known to frequent. Later the same day, they approached appellant in another part of the city where he had apparently been attempting to evade arrest. Appellant was taken to police headquarters where he confessed to the crime and formal charges against him were prepared. Subsequently, two warrants were obtained; one to search appellant's residence and a second to search his person for blood, hair and fingernail samples.

Appellant's counsel objected to the warrant relating to appellant's person. As a result, a suppression hearing was convened on March 27 and 28, 1978. The suppression court found that, contrary to appellant's assertions, there was probable cause to support the arrest. However, appellant's confession, which he claimed had been coerced, was suppressed. In addition, a black cashmere coat identified as belonging to the victim and found on appellant's premises, was suppressed as the fruit of an invalid confession. For the same reason, the search warrant affecting appellant's residence was held invalid.

A jury trial commenced on July 5, 1978 and appellant was found guilty of first degree murder and possession of an instrument of crime. On December 7, 1979, motions for a new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel were denied. Appellant was then sentenced to life imprisonment on the first degree murder conviction and 2 1/2 to 5 years for possession of an ...


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