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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN R. LAMASSA (10/15/87)

filed: October 15, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOHN R. LAMASSA, APPELLANT



Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Philadelphia County, No. 83-04-1963-1973.

COUNSEL

Robert M. Lipshutz, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Jane C. Greenspan, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Com., appellee.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Wieand and Tamilia, JJ.

Author: Wieand

[ 367 Pa. Super. Page 55]

John LaMassa was tried by jury and was found guilty of kidnapping, false imprisonment, robbery, burglary, criminal conspiracy, simple assault, theft, and possession of an instrument of crime. Post-trial motions were denied, and a sentence of imprisonment was imposed. LaMassa appealed.

Because our review of the record suggested that LaMassa's original post-trial motions had contained only boiler-plate averments that the verdict was unsupported by or contrary to the weight of the evidence, we determined that other issues had not been preserved for appellate review and affirmed the judgment of sentence. See: Commonwealth v. LaMassa, 361 Pa. Super. 635, 517 A.2d 1365 (1986). The Supreme Court 515 Pa. 448, 529 A.2d 466 reversed and remanded for consideration of the merits.*fn1

At or about 2:15 a.m. on April 7, 1983, while he was standing on the corner of Torresdale Avenue and Benner

[ 367 Pa. Super. Page 56]

Street in Philadelphia and engaged in conversation, James Steitz was approached by John LaMassa and Keith Blake. LaMassa asked Steitz to enter a home on Torresdale Avenue; and when Steitz complied, LaMassa and Blake produced guns and demanded drugs and money. Steitz denied having either. He was then ordered to strip, after which LaMassa removed from his clothes the sum of ten dollars and a set of keys. LaMassa then ordered Steitz to accompany LaMassa and Blake to Steitz's home. After the three men had departed, Marie Sherwood, the woman with whom Steitz had been engaged in conversation, alerted the police. When the police arrived, Steitz allowed them into his apartment, where they found LaMassa seated on the couch. Another person left via the window and was subsequently apprehended. He was identified as Keith Blake.*fn2

On direct appeal from the judgment of sentence, LaMassa asks this Court to determine the following issues:

(1) Did the trial court err in restricting appellant's cross-examination?

(2) Did the trial court err in denying appellant's motion for a mistrial and a severance from the ...


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