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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LONNIE COBURN (12/07/84)

filed: December 7, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
LONNIE COBURN, APPELLANT



No. 01431 Pitts., 1982, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of November 19, 1982 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Criminal Division, at No. 008108576.

COUNSEL

John H. Corbett, Jr., Public Defender, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Melinda G. Tell, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Brosky, Watkins and Hester, JJ. Brosky, J., filed a concurring opinion.

Author: Watkins

[ 336 Pa. Super. Page 205]

This appeal is from the Judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County after jury conviction of the defendant-appellant, Lonnie Coburn, of voluntary manslaughter and from the refusal of the court below to modify the sentence of one and one-half (1 and 1/2) to five (5) years.

The first contention of the appellant on appeal is that the Commonwealth failed to meet its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not justified in killing the victim to protect himself.

The facts indicate bitter feelings between the victim and the defendant which stem from drinking and a mutual interest in Alice McGhee, female owner of 901 Bar and the alleged girlfriend of the defendant a bartender there. The victim had some financial interest in the 901 Bar.

In the early morning hours of August 30, 1981, an argument arose between defendant, Coburn, and victim, Davis. Prior to this argument, defendant had threatened victim's life on several occasions according to witnesses' testimony. A fight ensued outside the bar, and victim struck the defendant with a pool cue. They separated with the defendant remaining at 901 Bar and Davis going to an adjoining bar. The 901 Bar was without electricity due to unpaid

[ 336 Pa. Super. Page 206]

    electrical bills. A few minutes later, Davis entered the 901 Bar and was shot immediately in the chest by a gun fired by the defendant from behind the bar. As he fell, Davis pulled his gun and fired several shots, one of which struck the defendant causing him to be paralysed.

First, the appellant argues that as a matter of law the Commonwealth failed to meet its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not justified in taking the life of the victim in self-defense. Commonwealth v. Lavette, 498 Pa. 665, 450 A.2d 975 (1982); Commonwealth v. Cropper, 463 Pa. 529, 345 A.2d 645 (1975).

"Before we can say that the prosecution has not met the burden, our review of the evidence must show that at least one of the following has been established beyond a reasonable doubt:

(1) that the defendant did not reasonably believe he was in danger of death or ...


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