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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. BRUCE THOMAS (09/13/85)

filed: September 13, 1985.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
BRUCE THOMAS, APPELLANT



No. 273 Pittsburgh, 1984, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, No. 8204815.

COUNSEL

Mitchell Kaufman, Assistant Public Defender, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Dara A. DeCourcy, Assistant Deputy District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Com., appellee.

Wieand, Cirillo and Johnson, JJ.

Author: Wieand

[ 346 Pa. Super. Page 16]

Bruce Thomas was convicted by a jury of kidnapping. The jury found that on May 23, 1982, between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m., Thomas and another person placed Theresa Forlastro, who was partially wrapped in a quilt, into the trunk of Thomas' vehicle in Wilkinsburg, Allegheny County, and drove eighty miles to Cheat Lake, near Morgantown, West Virginia. Later that morning, Miss Forlastro's body was found in the lake by a fisherman. She had been bound, gagged and shot in the head. Thomas was charged in Pennsylvania with kidnapping.*fn1 A first trial ended in a mistrial because of a mid-trial illness of the trial judge. A second trial resulted in a conviction. Post-trial motions were dismissed, and Thomas was sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than twenty years. An appeal nunc pro tunc was subsequently allowed by the trial court. The proceedings are before this Court, therefore, on direct appeal. Appellant's numerous averments of error will be considered seriatim.

Kidnapping is defined as follows:

A person is guilty of kidnapping if he unlawfully removes another a substantial distance under the circumstances from the place where he is found, or if he unlawfully confines another for a substantial period in a place of isolation, with any of the following intentions:

(1) To hold for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage.

(2) To facilitate commission of any felony or flight thereafter.

(3) To inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another.

(4) To interfere with the performance by public officials of any governmental ...


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