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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. FRANK G. COSTAL (02/19/86)

filed: February 19, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
FRANK G. COSTAL, JR., APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence April 12, 1983 in the Court of Common Pleas of Lawrence County, Criminal No. 81, 81A of 1980.

COUNSEL

Harry O. Falls, New Castle, for appellant.

Annette M. Hutchison, Assistant District Attorney, New Castle, for Com., appellee.

Olszewski, Popovich and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Olszewski

[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 201]

This is a challenge to the judgment of sentence upon appellant's conviction of two counts of first degree murder. Appellant alleges that the admission of photographs of the victims and irrelevant and prejudicial evidence concerning satanism deprived him of an objective and unbiased jury. Because we find that the evidence was properly admitted, we reject these arguments and affirm the judgment of the court below.

Appellant was convicted of the murder of Kathy Kadunce and her four year old daughter, Dawn, on the morning of July 11, 1978. The murders took place in the victims' home and were discovered several hours later. At trial, appellee proceeded under the theory that the killings were performed in a ritualistic manner, and were motivated by Kathy Kadunce's interference in the homosexual relationship between her husband and appellant, and her interference in appellant's drug dealing.

Photographs admitted at trial revealed that the victims were stabbed 17 times in a similar fashion and in the same

[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 202]

    pattern. Ceremonial robes, books, posters, plastic skulls and bats, and marriage licenses drawn up by appellant and signed by him as a "high priest" of Satan were seized from appellant's apartment pursuant to a warrant. Expert testimony was offered providing information on satanism and linking these items to satanism. Additional evidence linked appellant with satanism, including testimony that he told a witness of his attendance at human sacrifices and that 17 was the number of stab wounds required at these ritualistic killings.

An expert witness testified to the prominant role of mind control in satanism and the practice of causing others to commit crimes and perform homosexual acts to further such control. Appellee offered testimony regarding appellant's control of the people around him. Appellant apparently surrounded himself with younger, naive people who committed crimes, such as shoplifting, for him and engaged in homosexual relations with him.

Evidence was introduced regarding the intimate relationship between appellant and Kathy Kadunce's husband, and revealing appellant's use of and dealing in drugs. Specifically, evidence was offered to show that a drug sale was to take place shortly before the killings. The sale was thwarted when the victim discovered the drugs, which appellant had given to her husband, and flushed them down the toilet.

The appellant lists five issues on appeal. The first is whether appellant's trial was held in violation of Pa.R.Crim.P., Rule 1100 -- the 180 day rule. The remaining four attack the propriety of evidence admitted at trial. Our discussion is limited to the objections to evidence on satanism and the admission of photographs of the victims. A careful review of the record reveals that the remaining issues are ...


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