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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RANDY SCOTT CARBAUGH (05/12/86)

submitted: May 12, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
RANDY SCOTT CARBAUGH, APPELLANT (TWO CASES)



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of September 4, 1985 in the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County, Criminal Division, No. 228 of 1984. Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of September 4, 1985 in the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County, Criminal Division, No. 230 of 1984.

COUNSEL

Douglas W. Herman, Assistant Public Defender, Chambersburg, for appellant.

John R. Walker, District Attorney, Chambersburg, for Com., appellee.

Beck, Cercone and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Cercone

[ 356 Pa. Super. Page 43]

Appellant, Randy Scott Carbaugh, was convicted by a jury of third degree murder, robbery, theft and two counts of forgery arising out of the beating death of a woman he had met in a Chambersburg bar. He met her on the evening of April 16, 1984, and early in the morning of April 17, 1984, he confessed to his two sisters that he had just killed a female. Both sisters observed blood on him. He kept the victim's car and took some of her checks which he cashed at Letterkenny Federal Credit Union on April 17 and 19, 1984. On April 20, 1984, appellant, while driving the

[ 356 Pa. Super. Page 44]

    victim's car, struck another car. He fled the scene of the accident, but the other driver knew him and reported his identity to police.

Appellant was arrested on April 20, 1984, at 5:45 p.m. and was administered Miranda warnings on the way to police headquarters. It was the manner of the interrogation that ensued which appellant successfully challenges in this appeal on the issue which we now address:

Whether the failure of police to cease questioning appellant upon his numerous requests to remain silent rendered his subsequent confessions inadmissible as obtained in violation of Fifth Amendment rights?*fn1

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has explained our role as reviewing court in the context of suppression issues.

When ruling on suppression motions, the suppression court is required to make findings of fact and conclusions of law as to whether evidence obtained was in violation of the defendant's constitutional rights. Pa.R.Crim.P. 323(i), and must determine whether the Commonwealth has established by a preponderance of the evidence that the challenged evidence is admissible. Pa.R.Crim.P. 323(h). On review, this court must "determine whether the record supports the factual findings of the court below and the legitimacy of the inferences drawn from those findings." In doing so, we will consider 'only the evidence of the prosecution's witnesses and so much of the evidence for the defense as, fairly read in the context of the record as a whole, remains uncontradicted.' (citations omitted.) Commonwealth v. Davis, 491 Pa. 363, 368, 421 A.2d 179, 181 (1980).

At the hearing on the pre-trial motion to suppress, Detective Haldeman testified as to the chain of events which occurred during his interrogation of appellant. He testified that he read a Miranda warning and consent form to appellant at 6:15 p.m. on April 20, 1984, upon their ...


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