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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. VINCENT THOMAS (05/11/84)

filed: May 11, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
VINCENT THOMAS, APPELLANT



No. 2879 Philadelphia 1982, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Criminal Division, at Nos. 6924, 6925 of 1981.

COUNSEL

Raymond R. Williams, Assistant Public Defender, Media, for appellant.

Vram Nedurian, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, Media, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wickersham, Montemuro and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Montemuro

[ 328 Pa. Super. Page 396]

On May 27, 1982, the appellant, Vincent Thomas, was found guilty after a jury trial of two counts each of rape,*fn1 involuntary deviate sexual intercourse,*fn2 recklessly endangering another person,*fn3 terroristic threats,*fn4 possessing instruments of crime generally,*fn5 possessing instruments of crime weapon,*fn6 and a single count of burglary.*fn7 These charges (hereinafter No. 6925) arose out of two incidents involving the same victim. On May 28, 1982, the appellant was found guilty after a jury trial of one count each of

[ 328 Pa. Super. Page 397]

    rape, simple assault,*fn8 recklessly endangering another person, terroristic threats, and of possessing instruments of crime. These charges (hereinafter No. 6924) arose subsequent harassment of a different victim.

On July 28, 1982, the appellant's post-verdict motions in both cases were denied by the trial court. On October 1, 1982, the appellant was sentenced on both Nos. 6924 and 6925 to a total of eighteen (18) to thirty-six (36) years imprisonment. This appeal followed.

In this appeal covering both trials, five allegations of error are raised: (1) that the trial court (at No. 6925) erred in consolidating for trial the charges arising out of incidents which occurred three weeks apart; (2) that the trial court (at No. 6924) erred in not granting defense counsel two challenges for cause during voir dire; (3) that the trial court (at No. 6924) erred in denying appellant's motion for a mistrial because of remarks by the district attorney during his opening statement; (4) that the trial court (at No. 6924) erred in allowing the Commonwealth to amend the informations immediately before trial; and (5) that the trial court erred in denying appellant's motion for a mistrial after the Commonwealth introduced evidence of crimes subsequent to the original rape. We have examined each of the appellant's claims and find them to be without merit.

The charges against the appellant arose out of a series of events occurring in the autumn of 1981. In late September, 1981, the appellant met Lisa Harper outside Chester High School as she was leaving an evening class. The appellant knew Harper as a consequence of their mutual employment at Teledyne Wirz and they had been out socially on a previous occasion. On this particular evening, Harper accompanied the appellant to his parents home where they ate hot sausages and watched television. Harper said she had to leave, and appellant offered to walk her home. At some point during the walk, after luring Harper to the area of Interstate 95 with the promise of a ride, the appellant grabbed Harper's arm and twisted it behind her back. He

[ 328 Pa. Super. Page 398]

    then pushed her up an embankment to some railroad tracks. When Harper attempted to run away, the appellant pushed her to the ground and stated that he was going to rape her; he thereupon removed her clothing and his own. After several attempts by appellant were foiled by the victim's deceptions, he finally achieved penetration. He immediately withdrew and apologized.

Subsequent to this incident the appellant began calling Harper to beg her forgiveness. He further addressed his pleas to her at their place of employment. Whenever Harper threatened to go to the police, the appellant reacted by threatening to kill her and her boyfriend. One day, while at work, the appellant produced a sharp tool, pointed it at her and stated: "I got a knife. Scared you, didn't I?" (N.T. May 28, 1982, at 81). This rape and the subsequent harassment comprise the basis for the charges at No. 6924.

On October 22, 1981, Rosie Lee Givens left her evening class at Widener University and saw the appellant waiting by her car. She had met the appellant during the summer through a group of acquaintances who frequented Memorial Park in Chester. Givens expressed surprise at seeing the appellant, to which he replied that he was there to see her home safely. Givens offered to give the appellant a ride home.

During the ride home, the appellant instructed Givens to pull over and produced a knife. She stopped the car and attempted to flee, whereupon, the appellant seriously cut her left thumb with the knife. The cut produced a great amount of blood which stained the interior of the vehicle. Givens then ran away only to be pursued and caught by the appellant. He tied her hands behind her back and forced her into a wooded area, ripped off her clothes and subjected her to an act of sexual intercourse all the while berating her with questions regarding her sexual conduct with her boyfriend. The appellant then pulled her deeper into the woods where ...


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