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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. HAROLD MEASE (09/12/86)

filed: September 12, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
HAROLD MEASE, APPELLANT



Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Delaware County, No. 2078-83.

COUNSEL

Marilyn J. Gelb, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Joseph J. Mittleman, Assistant District Attorney, Media, for Com., appellee.

Wieand, Beck and Johnson, JJ.

Author: Wieand

[ 357 Pa. Super. Page 369]

Harold Mease was tried by a jury which found him guilty of murder in the second degree, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, criminal conspiracy and related offenses arising from a bizarre act of vengeance wreaked upon a person believed to have raped Mease's girl friend six years before. Following denial of post-verdict motions, the trial court imposed sentence. In addition to a life sentence for murder in the second degree, Mease was given consecutive sentences of imprisonment for not less than seven years nor more than fifteen years. On direct appeal, Mease contends (1) that the evidence was insufficient to prove kidnapping and murder of the second degree; (2) that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance; and (3) that the sentencing court exceeded the recommended sentence without reason when it imposed sentences consecutive to imprisonment for life. There is no merit in these contentions; and, therefore, we affirm the judgment of sentence.

[ 357 Pa. Super. Page 370]

I. SUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE

Kidnapping is defined at 18 Pa.C.S. ยง 2901 as follows:

(a) A person is guilty of kidnapping if he unlawfully removes another a substantial distance under the circumstances from the place he is found, or if he unlawfully confines another for a substantial period in a place of isolation . . .

(b) . . . A removal or confinement is unlawful within the meaning of this section if it is accomplished by force, threat, or deception . . . .

"In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we view the evidence presented and all reasonable inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as verdict winner. The test is whether the evidence, thus viewed, is sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Commonwealth v. Campbell, 353 Pa. Super. 178, 181, 509 A.2d 394, 395 (1986). See: Commonwealth v. Madison, 501 Pa. 485, 490, 462 A.2d 228, 231 (1983); Commonwealth v. Shaver, 501 Pa. 167, 169, 460 A.2d 742, 743 (1983); Commonwealth v. Taylor, 324 Pa. Super. 420, 424, 471 A.2d 1228, 1229 (1984).

While seated in a bar at or about 7:30 a.m. on April 2, 1983, the discussion between appellant and Michael McDonald turned to the unreported rape of appellant's girl friend six years earlier. Appellant requested McDonald to pick up Casmir Stalczynski, who was believed to be one of the rapists, so that appellant could "beat the hell" out of him. McDonald and his brother proceeded in appellant's car to Stalczynski's home, where they induced him on the pretext of a purported drug purchase to return with them to the bar where appellant was drinking. Upon arrival at the bar, appellant entered the rear seat of the automobile where he began to berate loudly and beat Stalczynski. Appellant then instructed McDonald to drive to appellant's home, and McDonald complied. Stalczynski ...


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