Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Cumberland County at No. 125 Criminal 1984.
Frederick I. Huganir, Norristown, for appellant.
Kevin A. Hess, Assistant District Attorney, Carlisle, for Com., appellee.
Wickersham, Cirillo and Johnson, JJ. Cirillo, President Judge, files a concurring opinion.
[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 190]
Nevin George Sweger, Jr., facing a life sentence following his conviction for the murder of his wife Nancy, filed this direct appeal from the judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County. We affirm.
The facts, viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as verdict-winner, may be summarized as follows: Nevin and Nancy Sweger were married in July 1975. A son, Nevin W. Sweger, nicknamed "Bubb," was born in August 1980. The Swegers' marriage was turbulent, and the parties separated and reconciled several times. Appellant had a history of physically abusing his wife, and
[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 191]
a severe beating on October 18, 1983 culminated in Nancy leaving the marital home with Bubb and filing an action in divorce.*fn1 Appellant was very upset by this separation and a few days prior to his wife's death, he told a friend that he wanted his wife and son back, but that if "he couldn't have Nancy no one would," and that "he ought to . . . go up and shoot her." N.T. at 106. Numerous witnesses testified that Nancy was terrified of appellant, because of the beatings which she had suffered and repeated threats which he had made to her.
On the morning of December 31, 1983, appellant began drinking. He met some friends, went to a bar that afternoon and continued drinking. He went to a friend's house and left there around 3:15 p.m. Sometime between 3:15 p.m. and 4:10 p.m., he arrived at his mother-in-law's residence in West Pennsboro Township, where Nancy and Bubb were then living. He was armed with a .12 gauge shotgun, which he used to shoot out the back window of Nancy's parked car and then to shoot open the locked door.*fn2 He found Nancy in the bedroom, on the bed, holding Bubb. No one else was home. Nancy pleaded with him not to hurt Bubb, and he told her to put the child down. After she did so, he shot her four times at close range. Bubb was not shot, but suffered a head wound requiring stitches.
Appellant called his mother at 4:10 p.m., told her he had shot Nancy, and asked her to come and get Bubb. Upon arriving at the scene, appellant's mother called an ambulance. Shortly after the ambulance arrived, appellant shot himself in the head. He was taken by ambulance to the Carlisle Hospital. The following day, he was interviewed by a police officer in the intensive care unit. At that time, and in the presence of his mother, he admitted going to the victim's home, shooting open the door, and "blasting" his
[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 192]
wife. His subsequent statements were later suppressed by the ...