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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Antwon Sanders

February 29, 2012

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE
v.
ANTWON SANDERS, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence May 18, 2010, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, at Nos.: CP-51-CR-0008197-2009 MC-51-CR-0020178-2009 MC-51-CR-0020179-2009 MC-51-CR-0020180-2009

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bowes, J.:

BEFORE: BOWES, SHOGAN, and PLATT*fn1 , JJ.

OPINION BY BOWES, J.:

Antwon Sanders appeals from the judgment of sentence of twelve and one-half to twenty-five years incarceration imposed by the trial court after he was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault, and one count each of possession of an instrument of crime ("PIC") and persons not to possess firearms. After careful review, we affirm.

The pertinent facts follow. At approximately 3:00 p.m. on February 20, 2009, three high school students, Fateem Gresham, Deshaoun Williams, and Rashan Singletary, were walking together in the area of 60th and Irving Streets in Philadelphia. Appellant approached the boys and, after walking past them, turned around and pulled a firearm on the boys, firing five to ten shots. Mr. Gresham was shot in the back, suffering severe injuries. Police arrived shortly thereafter and Mr. Gresham was transported to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. The other two individuals managed to escape unharmed.

One week after the shooting, Detective William Farrell visited Mr. Gresham in the hospital. An unidentified doctor permitted the detective to speak with Mr. Gresham, although he was being prepared for surgery. Detective Farrell presented Mr. Gresham with a photographic array. Mr. Gresham placed his finger on a photograph of Appellant. However, Mr. Gresham stated that he was too weak to sign his name on the photographic array. Accordingly, Detective Farrell asked Mr. Gresham's mother, whom he stated was present in the room, to sign the array. At trial, Mr. Gresham testified that he had no memory of this interaction and that following the shooting he was semi-conscious for one month and one-half. Mr. Gresham did spend part of his time in the hospital in a coma. He also remarked that he had no memory of the shooting itself. Mr. Gresham's mother also testified that she was not allowed to be present when the photographic array was given to her son.

Approximately two months after the initial identification, Detective Farrell conducted an interview with Mr. Gresham. Detective Farrell stated that Mr. Gresham described the attack, again identified Appellant as the person who shot him, and signed a written statement to that effect. Mr. Gresham recalled that during this interview the detective informed him what had happened.

Another detective, Detective Matthew Farley, interviewed Deshaoun Williams. Mr. Williams, at the time of the interview, was a minor and was in custody for unrelated charges. Detective Farley maintained that Mr. Williams asserted that he saw the shooting and described the shooter as an individual with a funny-shaped head wearing a green and black hoodie and black trench coat. Mr. Williams also reportedly described the attacker as being 5'4" or 5'5", skinny, and seventeen years of age. Appellant was 5'6" and 130 pounds at the time of his arrest. At trial, Mr. Williams testified that he was in a pizza shop at the time of the shooting and did not see the incident. He further provided that when he was interviewed by police, he was intoxicated and requested to speak with his mother and was informed that she could not see him.

Ultimately, after the denial of a suppression motion relating to the photographic identification, a jury found Appellant guilty of the aforementioned charges. Subsequently, the court sentenced him to an aggregate term of incarceration of twelve and one-half to twenty-five years. Appellant timely filed a post-sentence motion, which the trial court denied. This appeal ensued. Appellant now raises four issues for our consideration.

I. Whether the Court erred when it denied the Appellant's suppression motion where the police used an unduly suggestive and inherently unreliable procedure.

II. Whether the Appellant's convictions were against the weight of the evidence where identification witnesses recanted and where the evidence adduced at trial established that the identification of the Appellant was not positive or consistent with prior descriptions of the perpetrator.

III. Whether the Appellant's convictions were based upon sufficient evidence that the Appellant was the actual perpetrator of the crimes.

IV. Whether the Court erred when it denied the Appellant's request for a ...


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