Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of November 10, 1985 in the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Criminal Division, at No. 2351 C.D. 1984.
Spero T. Lappas, Harrisburg, for appellant.
William A. Behe, Chief Deputy District Attorney, Harrisburg, for Com., appellee.
Wieand, Beck and Watkins, JJ.
[ 358 Pa. Super. Page 261]
This is an appeal from the judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County. On April 19, 1984, 21-year-old Tammy Lynn Howard was found stabbed to death in the second-floor bedroom of her home in Lower Swatara Township, Dauphin County. On April 24, 1985, a jury found appellant, her husband, guilty of first degree
[ 358 Pa. Super. Page 262]
murder*fn1 in connection with the homicide, but was unable to reach a verdict in the penalty phase of the proceedings. Appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment in accordance with the provisions of 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9711(c)(1)(v) (Purdon 1985 supp.). Post-verdict motions were filed and denied, resulting in this appeal.
Appellant and the victim were married on May 15, 1982, and their son was born on December 31, 1983. Appellant was an assistant warehouse manager at a sporting goods wholesaler and the victim worked for ITT. Shortly after the birth of their son, appellant began working an evening shift, which was apparently a source of friction in the marriage. In early April, 1984, appellant approached 19-year-old Robert Bittinger, a temporary employee of the wholesaler, and asked him if he knew anyone who could kill a person for him. After continued discussions, Bittinger agreed to commit the murder in return for $500.00 cash, weapons from the warehouse, and a full-time job. Initially, Bittinger was unaware of the identity of the intended victim, but appellant eventually told him that the victim was to be his wife.
On the morning of April 18, 1984, Bittinger went to appellant's home. Appellant was there, as were his son and Vicki Snyder, a temporary employee of the warehouse with whom appellant was having an affair. At that time, Bittinger and appellant discussed how the crime was to be committed and that it had to take place that night.
At 9:30 P.M. on April 18, 1984, appellant told Bittinger that he should leave work and accomplish the task. Appellant gave Bittinger the key to his front door. Bittinger retrieved his coat, motorcycle helmet, gloves and boot knife. He told a co-worker that he was going to see his girlfriend who had hurt her leg. He left work without punching out.
Upon arriving at appellant's residence, Bittinger used the key to open the front door and entered the house. He went up to the bedroom, ...