No. 165 PHILADELPHIA, 1982, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Delaware County, No. 2359 of 1980.
Frank J. Marcone, Media, for appellant.
Dennis C. McAndrews, Assistant District Attorney, Media, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Cavanaugh, Montemuro and Hester, JJ.
[ 327 Pa. Super. Page 392]
On June 21, 1980, the victim, Wanda Nicholson, a.k.a., Wanda Cooper, was arguing with appellant's wife, Patty Hall, in the trolley loop on Main Street, Darby, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Miss Nicholson was brandishing a knife and Mrs. Hall held a beer bottle; it was obviously a violent altercation. Appellant, Randall Hall, and another man separated the women. Appellant led his wife into the nearby Bus Stop Bar and Miss Nicholson walked under the other man's supervision across the street to Cook's Bar.
Shortly thereafter, Miss Nicholson left Cook's Bar and upon reaching the street, noticed appellant on the opposite side chiding her and holding a handgun. While clutching a knife, the victim approached appellant, cursed him and proclaimed her lack of fear. Appellant fired two or three shots at the victim in an apparent attempt to dissuade her from confronting him. She would not relent, however. When she was within arms-length of him, appellant fired a final time and fatally wounded her in the upper portion of her left chest cavity.*fn1
Appellant immediately departed the scene and remained at large for two months. He was apprehended on August 25, 1980 in Montgomery County. Appellant was charged with murder in the first degree, murder in the third degree,
[ 327 Pa. Super. Page 393]
voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, simple assault, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, owning a firearm as a former convict and carrying a firearm without a license.
Following a lengthy pre-trial period during which appellant filed several petitions and three appeals to this Court, a jury trial finally commenced on March 11, 1981. A verdict of guilty was returned on voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm without a license. Post-trial motions were denied and appellant was sentenced to a combined term of imprisonment of seven and one-half to fifteen years. This appeal was taken from the judgment of sentence entered December 22, 1981.
It is appellant's first contention that the lower court erred in proceeding to trial while his separate appeals from orders denying his pre-trial motions for writ of habeas corpus and to recuse the trial judge were pending. Our disposition of this issue does not require addressing appellant's remaining arguments.
On January 17, 1981, appellant, with the assistance of counsel, filed a motion for writ of habeus corpus. It was denied on January 22, 1981, and appellant followed with a timely pro se appeal therefrom on February 4, 1981. On February 18, 1981, appellant filed a pro se motion to recuse the trial judge. It too was denied, prompting appellant to file a pro se appeal therefrom on February 26, 1981. Also on February 26, 1981, but at a time earlier ...