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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WILLIE CLAYTON (11/20/84)

decided: November 20, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
WILLIE CLAYTON, APPELLANT



No. 46 E.D. Appeal Docket 1983, Direct Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division, Criminal Section, as of February Term, 1982, Nos. 1620, 1621, 1623.

COUNSEL

Samuel C. Stretton, West Chester, for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Div., Asst. Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, Marion E. MacIntyre, Deputy Atty. Gen., Harrisburg, for appellee.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ. Flaherty, J., filed a concurring opinion in which Nix, C.j., and Papadakos, J., joined. Larsen, J., concurred in the result.

Author: Zappala

[ 506 Pa. Page 26]

Opinion ANNOUNCING THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT

This direct appeal arises from the March, 1982 jury trial of Appellant Willie Clayton for the shooting death and

[ 506 Pa. Page 27]

    robbery of Earl Grice on May 26, 1980. Appellant was found guilty of murder of the first degree, robbery, and possession of an instrument of crime. The sentence of death was imposed by the jury on the murder charge. Consecutive sentences of imprisonment of ten to twenty years on the robbery charge and of two-and-one-half to five years on the weapon offense were imposed.

During pre-trial motions before the trial judge, Appellant's counsel requested that the charges be dismissed, claiming that the filing of the charges on September 17, 1981 was an unreasonable delay which prejudiced the Appellant in his defense and deprived him of due process of law. The motion was denied. [N.T. 311].

Extensive testimony was offered by the Commonwealth related to the police investigation which was conducted after the Grice murder. The testimony detailed the attempts made by the police to locate the Appellant who at first was known only as "Saleem". In December, 1980, the Appellant was arrested on fugitive charges in New York. He was finally returned to custody in Philadelphia in March, 1981 after resisting extradition. The Appellant was arrested and charged with the murder of Terrence Dougherty. While incarcerated and awaiting trial for the Dougherty murder, Appellant was charged with the Grice homicide.

Early in September, 1981, the police had questioned Roy Young. In this initial interview, Young revealed that the Appellant had discussed the Grice murder with him while they were imprisoned and had admitted killing Grice. There were no witnesses to the incident itself, but the police reinterviewed individuals who were present in the Quill and Scroll Bar on that day. The bar, which Grice had owned, was located beneath his apartment where the body was found. The investigators found the witnesses to be more cooperative in the subsequent interviews, which they attributed to the fact that the Appellant was in custody. Shortly thereafter, ...


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