No. 919 Pittsburgh, 1981, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, at No. CC80001400.
David Sidney Shrager, Duquesne, for appellant.
Melinda G. Tell, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Cavanaugh, Rowley and Cirillo, JJ.
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Appellant was convicted, after a jury trial, of murder in the first degree. Motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment were filed. Appellant then retained present counsel, who filed amended post-trial motions. An evidentiary hearing on allegations of ineffective assistance of trial counsel was held, after which appellant's post-trial motions were denied. Appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment. This direct appeal followed.
The homicide occurred at the home of Marcella Sturdivant, appellant's former common-law wife. The two had separated approximately six months prior to the shooting. After the separation, Sturdivant became romantically involved with the victim, Arthur LeGrand.
Sturdivant testified that she had left work early on the day of the shooting, because of harassing telephone calls from appellant. Upon arriving at home, she called appellant's
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house to tell him to leave her alone. The two argued. She then went to sleep.
At approximately 7:00 P.M., she was awakened by a noise and found appellant in the hallway. Sturdivant stated that he must have entered through an unlocked laundry room window. The two began to argue. At about that time, the victim phoned to tell Sturdivant that appellant was in the area and to make sure she was alright. Although she tried to convince him that she was alone, the victim stated that he knew appellant was there. As appellant became more belligerent, Sturdivant ran into her bedroom, grabbed a gun and began to load it. Appellant entered and grabbed the weapon from her. Sturdivant then went into the kitchen. She heard a tapping at the window and saw the victim outside. Fearful of a confrontation, she told the victim to leave because appellant had a gun. At that point, appellant saw the victim. As the victim ran across the street, appellant opened the door, pointed the gun, and said, "I am going to get you boy".
After further argument with Sturdivant, appellant seated himself in the hallway. A short time later, Sturdivant saw appellant get up, remove the gun from his pants and walk towards the back of the house. She heard three shots, ran towards them, and saw appellant and the victim struggling on the floor. Appellant pushed the victim off of himself and fired another shot. The victim died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds of the head and chest.
Appellant testified that Sturdivant had invited him to her house that night, that she had "set him up", and that he had ...