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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RANDY TANGLE (01/03/86)

filed: January 3, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
RANDY TANGLE, APPELLANT



No. 1346 Pittsburgh 1983, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of October 25, 1983, in the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Criminal Division, at No. 215 of 1983.

COUNSEL

Terrence P. Cavanaugh, Erie, for appellant.

Ernest J. DiSantis, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, Erie, for Com., appellee.

Del Sole, Hester and Feeney, JJ.*fn* Feeney, J., files a concurring and dissenting opinion.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 349 Pa. Super. Page 576]

This is a direct appeal from a conviction for burglary and criminal attempt for which appellant received a sentence of four to eight years. We hold that the trial court erred in allowing the Commonwealth to introduce rebuttal evidence of appellant's prior record for burglary for the purpose of impeachment,*fn1 and grant a new trial.

The facts may be summarized as follows. Arriving home at 9:30 P.M. on January 29, 1983, Samuel Opatich discovered that the window in the door of the rear entry to his home was broken. Opatich also noticed fresh blood dripping down the inside of the door to the floor. Opatich immediately called the police. Two officers arrived shortly and followed a fresh trail of blood to a restaurant two blocks away.

At approximately 9:20 P.M., Amy Allen, a hostess at the restaurant, had been confronted by appellant, who was holding his arms across his stomach and appeared to be ill. Allen directed him to the men's restroom, then reported his condition to the restaurant manager, Sharon Anderson. Anderson and a busboy went into the men's room. Appellant had left, but the floor was covered with blood. They cleaned the floor and noticed a trail of blood out onto the sidewalk.

Shortly thereafter, appellant sought treatment of two cuts on the back of his left hand at a nearby hospital

[ 349 Pa. Super. Page 577]

    emergency room, where he said he cut his hand on a basement window. Due to the severity of the lacerations, a cardiovascular surgeon was summoned to treat the injury.

Three days later, appellant was arrested pursuant to a warrant. After receiving Miranda warnings, he stated to the police that he had cut his hand while washing dishes. Two days later, he repeated to his probation officer that the injury occurred while washing dishes.

At trial, appellant presented an alibi defense. He relied on three relatives, who testified they were with him at home on the evening of the burglary until he cut his hand trying to open a basement window and went to the hospital. In addition, two friends testified in similar fashion. Appellant himself testified that he was home on the evening in question and cut his hand on the basement window.

To impeach appellant's credibility, the Commonwealth presented rebuttal evidence that appellant had pleaded guilty two years earlier to a burglary charge. The jury found appellant guilty on the charge of burglary and criminal attempt, and he was sentenced to four to eight years incarceration.

At issue is whether the court erred in admitting rebuttal evidence of appellant's burglary conviction ...


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