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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GEORGE JONES (06/04/85)

decided: June 4, 1985.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
GEORGE JONES, JR., APPELLANT



COUNSEL

George Jones, Jr., In. Pro. Per.

Robert E. Colville, Dist. Atty., Robert L. Eberhardt, Deputy Dist. Atty., Kemal Alexander Mericli, Asst. Dist. Atty., Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Robert, C.j., and Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ. Flaherty, J., filed a concurring opinion in which McDermott, J., joined. McDermott, J., joins in this opinion and joins in Flaherty, J., concurring opinion.

Author: Larsen

[ 507 Pa. Page 581]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, George Jones, Jr., was arrested on January 6, 1977, and charged with robbery (six counts), recklessly endangering another person (two counts), violation of the Uniform Firearms Act (two counts), theft of movable property, aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy in connection with an armed robbery and the shooting of a police officer that took place just prior to appellant's arrest. Appellant's pre-trial motion to suppress statements that he made to the police after his arrest was denied. Appellant was subsequently convicted by a jury of three counts of

[ 507 Pa. Page 582]

    robbery, two counts of recklessly endangering another person, theft of movable property, aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy. Post-verdict motions were denied and appellant was sentenced to three consecutive terms of ten to twenty years imprisonment on the robbery counts, and concurrent terms of imprisonment totaling twenty and one-half to forty-one years on the remaining counts. On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed. Commonwealth v. Jones, 289 Pa. Super. 556, 429 A.2d 59 (1980). Appellant's petition for allowance of appeal to this Court was denied.

On December 2, 1981, appellant filed a petition for relief under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (PCHA).*fn1 After a hearing, the PCHA court found that the issues raised in appellant's petition had been either waived or finally litigated and, therefore, denied the petition. On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed. Commonwealth v. Jones, 324 Pa. Super. 359, 471 A.2d 879 (1984). We granted appellant's pro se petition for allowance of appeal and we now affirm.

Two related issues are presented by the instant appeal: whether the suppression court erred in refusing to rule on the voluntariness of certain statements made by appellant to the police after his arrest and whether the trial court erred in refusing to permit appellant to argue the issue of the voluntariness of those statements to the jury.*fn2 Both of these issues are without merit.

[ 507 Pa. Page 583]

At the suppression hearing, the three police officers who transported appellant from the site of his arrest to the Public Safety Building testified that appellant asked about the condition of the police officer who had been shot and that, when asked why he cared, appellant had stated that he was the one who shot the officer. N.T., June 27, 1977 at 178, 188-89, 244. According to one of the officers, appellant also stated that he "didn't mean to do it." Id. at 236. Appellant, on the other hand, denied making any of the alleged statements. When asked if he had made any statements to the police concerning the crimes for which he had been arrested, appellant stated

You see, I wasn't totally familiar with what crime was supposed to have happened. So therefore, I didn't say ...


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