Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence May 12, 1987 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal, No. 86-04-0765-0766-0767.
Harold Diamond, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Hugh J. Burns, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Com., appellee.
Cirillo, President Judge, and Brosky and Beck, JJ.
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This is an appeal from a judgment of sentence entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County against appellant, Edwin Garcia. Garcia was convicted of first-degree murder and possessing an instrument of crime. We affirm.
Between 10:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on the evening of March 5, 1986, Edwin Garcia rode his bicycle to the apartment of his erstwhile girlfriend, Lucy Nieves. Upon arriving at the apartment complex, Garcia was met by Luis Nieves, Ms. Nieves's brother, who indicated that his sister was out for the evening. Mr. Nieves asked Garcia to leave; however he ignored this request and ungraciously decided
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to remain and watch television pending her arrival. At approximately 1:00 a.m. Ms. Nieves returned from her engagement. She asked her beau, Oliver Mangold, to wait outside while she spoke with her brother. Upon entering her apartment, Ms. Nieves was startled to find Mr. Garcia in the living room with her brother. She immediately demanded that Garcia leave, indicating that her date would be extremely indignant to find him in the apartment. Acceding to his estranged paramour's request, Garcia prepared to leave, but first went into the kitchen to retrieve a knife, allegedly for the repair of his bicycle. He then descended the stairs outside the apartment with his bicycle in tow. As appellant reached the bottom of the steps and opened the door, he immediately noticed Mangold positioned behind the door. As Garcia exited the building, Mangold commented: "Why don't you go home to your momma, little boy?" Mangold then placed his open hand in Garcia's face and pushed him backwards, causing him to fall to the ground. A fight ensued in the parking lot of the apartment complex with the two men eventually wrestling each other on top of Lucy Nieves's automobile. In the midst of the altercation, Garcia withdrew the kitchen knife from his pocket and repeatedly imbedded its blade into the victim's back and side. The stab wounds proved to be immediately fatal. Police were summoned to the scene and Garcia was ultimately arrested and detained pending trial.
Garcia was tried by Judge Juanita Kidd Stout, sitting without a jury, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. He was found guilty of murder in the first degree, 18 Pa.C.S. § 2502, and possession of an instrument of crime, 18 Pa.C.S. § 907. New counsel entered an appearance on Garcia's behalf and filed timely post-trial motions. The court considered and denied these motions. Thereafter, appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder charge and one concurrent term of two and one half to five years for the weapons offense. This appeal followed.
Garcia advances the following four issues for our review: (1) whether the Commonwealth proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that his actions were not justified; (2) whether the
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Commonwealth proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he acted with premeditation; (3) whether trial counsel was ineffective in not arguing that Garcia was guilty only of voluntary manslaughter; and (4) whether Garcia knowingly and ...