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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ARTHUR FAULKNER (07/16/91)

decided: July 16, 1991.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
ARTHUR FAULKNER, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence dated July 5, 1989 in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Criminal Division, No. 88-3162, 3162.1-88 through 3162.11-88.

COUNSEL

Robert A. Selig, West Conshohocken, for appellant.

Michael D. Marino, Dist. Atty., Mary MacNeill Killinger, Asst. Dist. Atty., Robert A. Graci, Chief Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellee.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, Zappala, Papadakos and Cappy, JJ. McDermott, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Cappy

Opinion OF THE COURT

This is an automatic direct appeal*fn1 from two sentences of death imposed upon appellant by the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County following his conviction of two counts of first degree murder, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, two counts of attempted murder, criminal intent and possession of instruments of crime. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of sentence of death.

Following a trial by jury, Arthur Faulkner was found guilty of the above listed crimes. A separate penalty hearing was held to determine whether the death penalty should be imposed for either or both of the first degree murder convictions. With respect to the murders of Clarice Dorner and Annaliese Killoran, the jury unanimously found that in each instance there were one or more aggravating circumstances which outweighed any mitigating circumstance and thus fixed the penalty at death for both murders.*fn2

The appellant filed a motion for a new trial and/or an arrest of judgment, which was denied. On June 5, 1989, the appellant was sentenced to death by electrocution for each of the two counts of first degree murder, concurrent sentences of ten to twenty years for the rape crimes and

[ 528 Pa. Page 66]

    concurrent sentences of five to ten years for the crimes of attempted homicide. A petition for reconsideration of sentence was denied.

In cases in which the death penalty is imposed, this Court is required to conduct an independent review of the sufficiency of the evidence, even where the defendant has not challenged the conviction on that ground. Commonwealth v. Zettlemoyer, 500 Pa. 16, 454 A.2d 937 (1982), cert. denied, 461 U.S. 970, 103 S.Ct. 2444, 77 L.Ed.2d 1327 (1983), reh'g denied, 463 U.S. 1236, 104 S.Ct. 31, 77 L.Ed.2d 1452 (1983). In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we must determine whether the evidence, and all reasonable inferences deducible therefrom, viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as verdict winner are sufficient to establish all the elements of the offense(s) beyond a reasonable doubt. Commonwealth v. Coccioletti, 493 Pa. 103, 425 A.2d 387 (1981). So viewed, the evidence establishes the following.

FACTUAL HISTORY

Arthur Faulkner was hired by SJS Archeological Services as a laborer in November of 1987. SJS was a small archeological excavating company owned by Anne Jensen and Glenn Sheehan (husband and wife), which employed approximately ten to fifteen people, including the victims Clarice Dorner and Annaliese Killoran.

On April 1, 1988, Good Friday, Ms. Dorner, Ms. Killoran and Mr. Faulkner were planning to work at the laboratory of SJS at 10 Woodmont Road in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania. 10 Woodmont Road was a rowhouse in which the SJS laboratory was located. Mr. Sheehan and Ms. Jensen resided at 3 Woodmont Road, just down the street. Mr. Sheehan and Ms. Jensen had returned home from breakfast sometime before 10:00 a.m. and were planning to go to an 11:00 a.m. appointment before attending Good Friday church services. Ms. Jensen testified that she walked up the street to the office to see if the employees had enough work to carry them through the day.

Ms. Jensen walked into the office building, saw Mr. Faulkner coming down the stairs and moved to get out of his way. As she turned to go up the stairs, she was grabbed from behind by Faulkner. He put his left arm around her neck, held a knife to her chest and forced her to the second floor of the building. Faulkner stated "Why didn't you and Glenn tell those bitches to give me some pussy?" Ms. Jensen tried to calm him down and told him that she was pregnant and that he did not want to do this. He replied, "it can't get any worse, one person is dead already." When Ms. Jensen tried to convince him that maybe the person was not really dead and again reminded him that she was pregnant, Faulkner replied "I don't want to hear that shit." Ms. Jensen noticed that the room on the second floor was in disarray and that there was blood all over the room and water all over the floor.

At that time, Ms. Jensen saw another employee, Annaliese Killoran, coming up the stairs and screamed to her to get away and get help, telling her that Faulkner had a knife. As Ms. Killoran turned back down the stairs to run away, Faulkner stabbed Ms. Jensen in the back several times, threw her down and ran down the stairs and out the door in pursuit of Ms. Killoran. Ms. Jensen held her hand over the wound sites as best she could and headed back down the stairs, looking for help.

She headed outside and in the direction of her home when she saw Faulkner repeatedly stabbing Ms. Killoran who was lying on her side in a fetal position in front of the office building. Ms. Jensen ran between two of the row houses and realized that Faulkner was chasing her. In order to escape from him, she jumped off a ten-to-fifteen foot wall onto an abandoned road, known as Old River Road. She yelled to two men standing outside a pickup truck that she was pregnant and had been stabbed and asked that they get help. The two men got into the truck and drove away. She turned and saw Mr. Faulkner trying to gain access to River Road through a gate. She kept running the other way. When she turned back to the gate, she saw that Faulkner

[ 528 Pa. Page 68]

    had turned and headed back toward the houses. She eventually collapsed on River Road, but worried that she would bleed to death and unable to walk, she began to roll down the road. She was eventually found and taken to the hospital.

While Mr. Sheehan was at home talking on the telephone, he heard a scream that he believed sounded like his wife. He dropped the telephone and ran out of the house, where he encountered Ms. Killoran lying on a concrete patio. She had been stabbed and there was a pool of blood under her head. As Mr. Sheehan was telling her he was going to get help, Mr. Faulkner surprised him and grabbed him in a bear hug and began stabbing him. Faulkner kept repeating that "he had to get the keys." Mr. Sheehan broke away and ran off, looking for help. As he was running away, he noticed Faulkner bending over Ms. Killoran. Mr. Sheehan opened the door to one of the houses and yelled for help. He told them to call the police and an ambulance and said that he could not find his wife, who was pregnant. He then went up the street to a construction site and asked people at the site if they would move their vehicles to block the road so that Faulkner could not escape.

Before the police arrived, Faulkner had left the scene in a truck owned by Ms. Killoran. One of the people at the construction site saw a large black man getting into a truck and driving away. A neighbor had his camera and took photographs of the truck leaving the scene. According to documents later discovered, the appellant went to his bank terminal and withdrew the maximum allowable daily limit of three hundred dollars. Faulkner then went home and changed his bloody clothes. He was apprehended nine days later when a New York City policeman saw Faulkner sitting in Ms. Killoran's vehicle. He was arrested and later gave a statement to the police in which he admitted having sex with Ms. Dorner and stabbing her and the other victims.

During trial, the police testified that they secured the building at 10 Woodmont Road and discovered the body of a white female, who was ...


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