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In the Interest of: V.C.

April 4, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF: V.C., A MINOR APPELLEE
APPEAL OF: V.C., A MINOR APPELLANT



Appeal from the Dispositional Order October 6, 2011 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Juvenile Division at No(s): CP-51-JV-0003667-2011-CP-51-JV-0003668- 2011

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

J-S18007-13

BEFORE: STEVENS, P.J., WECHT, J., and COLVILLE, J.*fn1

OPINION BY STEVENS, P.J.

V.C., a minor, appeals from the dispositional order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Juvenile Division, following his adjudication of delinquency for acts constituting a violation of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3701(a)(ii) (robbery), 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3921(a) (theft by unlawful taking), 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3925(a) (receiving stolen property), and 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 903 (conspiracy) in connection with the armed robbery of Shirley Phillips, and for acts constituting a violation of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2502(b) (second-degree murder), 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3701(a)(1)(i) (robbery), and 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 903 (conspiracy) in connection with the shooting death of George Greaves. V.C. challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his adjudication of delinquency as to Mr. Greaves, and he contends the juvenile court should have suppressed the statements he made to the police. We affirm.

The relevant facts and procedural history are as follows: Following his arrest in connection with the robbery of Shirley Phillips and the shooting death of George Greaves,*fn2 on August 22, 2011, V.C. filed a counseled motion seeking to suppress, inter alia, the statements he made to the police. The matter proceeded to a hearing at which Police Officer Jacqueline Speaks, Detective Henry Glenn, and Detective James Pitts testified. Specifically, Officer Jacqueline Speaks testified that, at approximately 3:00 p.m. on August 18, 2010, she received a dispatch to report to Pickering Street for a shooting. N.T. 9/20/11 at 17-18. When she arrived on location, she discovered the deceased victim, who was later identified as eighty-seven- year-old George Greaves, and she began the homicide investigation. N.T. 9/20/11 at 18. Officer Speaks spoke to Kathy Mathis, who lived in the neighborhood. N.T. 9/20/11 at 21-22. Ms. Mathis reported hearing two gunshots and immediately seeing a young, black male and a young, black female, who was wearing a Muslim headpiece, running from the scene. N.T. 9/20/11 at 22-25. During the investigation of the shooting, Officer Speaks received flash information about a robbery, which had occurred about forty minutes prior to and ten blocks from the shooting. N.T. 9/20/11 at 25-30. The flash information provided a description of the robbery suspects similar to the description Ms. Mathis had provided for the two people she saw running from the shooting scene. N.T. 9/20/11 at 26.

A few days after the robbery and subsequent shooting, on August 20, 2010, Officer Speaks responded to V.C.'s residence for a "priority radio call" of someone "screaming for help." N.T. 9/20/11 at 34. Inside the residence, she found V.C.'s mother screaming and crying. N.T. 9/20/11 at 36-37.

V.C.'s mother repeatedly said, "Ah, the streets got him. He's gone, and I done did everything I could do[.]" N.T. 9/20/11 at 37-38. Officer Speaks asked V.C.'s mother to calm down and asked her why she was upset. N.T. 9/20/11 at 40-41. V.C.'s mother continued crying and screaming, and Officer Speaks eventually asked V.C.'s mother to accompany her to the police station, a request to which V.C.'s mother complied. N.T. 9/20/11 at 44.

During the drive to the police station, V.C.'s mother continued crying and said, "Ah, the streets got him. I can't believe he's with that young lady. She be in my house still." N.T. 9/20/11 at 46. Officer Speaks asked V.C.'s mother about whom she was talking, and she said the girl was about V.C.'s age, sneaking in the window at night, and had stolen some of her clothes, including her Muslim headpiece. N.T. 9/20/11 at 45-46. V.C.'s mother said, "I just can't believe it. I give him money every month to buy clothes. The streets have got him. They just got my son. I can't believe it. I tried everything. I do everything for my kids." N.T. 9/20/11 at 46.

Detective Henry Glenn testified he was assigned to investigate the shooting of Mr. Greaves, and he was aware of the armed robbery, which occurred approximately ten blocks away from and prior to the shooting of Mr. Greaves. N.T. 9/20/11 at 69-71. He was aware that a similar description of two youths had been provided for both crimes. N.T. 9/20/11 at 72-79.

On August 20, 2010, at the police station, Detective Glenn interviewed

V.C.'s mother to determine why she was upset. N.T. 9/20/11 at 79. V.C.'s mother told him V.C. was "hanging around with a girl, she knew whose first name was India." N.T. 9/20/11 at 80. The detective showed her photographs, and V.C.'s mother identified one of the photographs as being the "India" V.C. was "hanging out with." N.T. 9/20/11 at 80. Suspecting V.C. was the young male involved with the August 18, 2010 robbery and shooting, Detective Glenn told V.C.'s mother he wanted to speak with V.C. N.T. 9/20/11 at 80.

The next morning, he and two plainclothes officers went to the residence in an unmarked police car. N.T. 9/20/11 at 90-91. V.C.'s mother reported V.C. was not at home, and therefore, the police officers drove around the area until they saw V.C. walking down the block near his house.

N.T. 9/20/11 at 80-81. The police stopped V.C., who then knocked on the front door of his residence to alert his mother she was needed on the front porch. N.T. 9/20/11 at 81. V.C.'s mother came outside and asked V.C. to tell the police where India lived. N.T. 9/20/11 at 81. V.C. indicated he did not know her exact address. N.T. 9/20/11 at 81. At this time, the uniformed officers transported V.C. to the homicide unit, while the detectives gave V.C.'s mother a ride to the unit.

On cross-examination, Detective Glenn indicated V.C. was not handcuffed; however, he would not have been free to leave the police vehicle if he had attempted to do so. N.T. 9/20/11 at 92. At the homicide unit, V.C. and his mother were reunited in the lobby, and within approximately fifteen minutes, the detectives interviewed V.C. N.T. 9/20/11 at 102-103.

Detective James Pitts testified he and his partner, Detective Ohmarr Jenkins, interviewed V.C. with his mother present at the homicide unit. N.T. 9/20/11 at 119-121. Prior to questioning, the detectives read V.C. his Miranda*fn3 warnings, and V.C. signed a paper indicating he understood and waived his rights. N.T. 9/20/11 at 121. V.C. then provided the detectives with a verbal statement, which the police typed and V.C. and his mother signed. N.T. 9/20/11 at 121-125. Detective Pitts testified V.C.'s mother was present when V.C., in his own words, told the detectives what had occurred with regard to the robbery and shooting; however, she left the room from time to time when the police began a question and answer period in response to V.C.'s statement. N.T. 9/20/11 at 128-130. Detective Pitts testified V.C. told the police India shot an old man. N.T. 9/20/11 at 133. Specifically, V.C. made, in relevant part, the following statement:

Me and India were walking up the driveway. I was listening to my Ipod, and we saw the man working in the back of his house. India stopped and started looking at the man so I stopped and looked at her, took my Ipod off and asked her, "What?" She said, "I'm about to do this." I said, "Do what?" And she was like, "I'm gonna rob this guy." I told her "Come on you've done enough for today. I've never known you to do stuff like this. Let's just go." Then she said, "This is the last one." And she started walking over to him. When she went over to him, I looked both ways up the driveway to make sure nobody was out there. I heard her say, "Give it up!" And I looked at them and I could see that he tried to push her away. I looked both ways up the driveway again to make sure wasn't nobody coming and I heard the gunshot. I just ran around to the corner and made a right. Then I looked back ...


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