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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ALVIN EARNEST (06/27/89)

submitted: June 27, 1989.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ALVIN EARNEST, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Criminal Division, No. 7418 of 1987.

COUNSEL

Mark D. Douple, Asst. Public Defender, Lebanon, for appellant.

Alan M. Rubenstein, Dist. Atty., Doylestown, for Com.

Del Sole, Tamilia and Cercone, JJ.

Author: Tamilia

[ 386 Pa. Super. Page 462]

Appellant was found guilty by a jury of involuntary manslaughter and not guilty of third degree murder and endangering the welfare of children in connection with the death of 15 month old Jacqueline Eglinton. He was sentenced on January 13, 1989 to a term of two to four years confinement at the Bucks County Correctional Facility.

Appellant was Jacqueline's baby-sitter and on November 16, 1987 Jacqueline's parents dropped her off at appellant's home at approximately 6:00 a.m. prior to going to work. At

[ 386 Pa. Super. Page 463]

    approximately 2:00 p.m. that day, appellant carried Jacqueline into the office of the mobile home park where he lived requesting help, claiming Jacqueline had fallen down the steps and was unconscious. The police and a rescue squad soon arrived and administered CPR before taking her to the hospital but she died the next day of swelling of the brain. Appellant's wife was at work on the 16th so appellant was alone with Jacqueline and the only witness to the events which led to her death.

Appellant claims he put Jacqueline in bed as soon as she arrived at his house and she did not wake up until 11:00 at which time he fed her lunch. Afterwards, appellant started washing the dishes while Jacqueline played in the living room until appellant heard the storm door click and saw Jacqueline was no longer in the living room. He found her unconscious at the bottom of the porch steps, partially on the sidewalk. He immediately tried to wake her, then went to the office for help.

The Commonwealth contends Jacqueline did not fall down the steps but suffered the brain injury as a result of appellant violently shaking her. The sole issue before the jury, therefore, was what caused the brain swelling which led to Jacqueline's death.

Appellant raises four issues on appeal: 1) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction; 2) the verdict was against the weight of the evidence; 3) the trial court erred in allowing the jury to view the porch steps pursuant to a jury question when the steps had never been offered into evidence; and 4) whether the court erred in allowing the jury to touch the steps.

Appellant claims the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction for involuntary manslaughter because the Commonwealth failed to prove Jacqueline's death was anything but accidental. "The law is settled in this Commonwealth that in reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, the appellate court is required to review all the evidence and all reasonable ...


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