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Commonwealth v. Gaines

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

May 22, 2013

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
TYREE GAINES Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence December 15, 2011 In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-02-CR-0012297-2010

BEFORE: GANTMAN, J., OTT, J., and FITZGERALD, J. [*]

MEMORANDUM

GANTMAN, J.

Appellant, Tyree Gaines, appeals from the judgment of sentence entered in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, following his jury trial convictions for second degree murder, robbery, burglary, carrying a firearm without a license, recklessly endangering another person ("REAP"), and criminal conspiracy.[1] We affirm.

The trial court provided the relevant facts of this case as follows:

The evidence presented at trial established that Arika Hainesworth and her four (4) year old son, Kyere, lived at 2340 East Hills Drive in the City of Pittsburgh. Ms. Hainesworth's boyfriend, Anthony Lemon, stayed at the house occasionally, but was known to keep drugs and money in the house.
In the early morning hours of July 11, 2010, [Appellant], along with two other men, co-Defendants Amir Ferguson and Richard Woodward, broke into Hainesworth's residence for the purpose of stealing the drugs and money they knew to be in the house. The three (3) men initially approached the front door and knocked, then left. Hainesworth, who was at home watching movies with her friends and son, looked out of the peep-hole in the door and saw the men wearing black clothing and scarves over their faces. She called another friend, Terry Johnson, who had just left, and asked him to look around the area. Johnson did not see anyone and returned to Hainesworth's residence.
Approximately fifteen minutes later, the three men knocked again. This time Johnson looked out the peephole and after seeing the three (3) men, he instructed everyone to go upstairs and hide and to call the police. The group hid in Kyere's room some inside the closet and some behind the bed. Hainesworth was on the phone with 911 when the men broke the front door down and entered the house. The men searched the downstairs level of the home, but were unable to find the drugs and money. [Appellant] and Ferguson went upstairs and broke down the door of the bedroom where everyone was hiding. They demanded that Hainesworth tell them where the drugs and money were, and when she did not, they grabbed Kyere, put the gun to his head and asked him where the items were. Kyere directed him to an air vent, where they found some money. They then let Kyere go, but put the gun to Hainesworth's head and forced her to take them to the drugs. Hainesworth and the men were downstairs, when Woodward, who had been standing by the patio door with an assault rifle, yelled that the police had arrived. The men ran upstairs.
Shots were fired at police from inside the house and the officers returned fire. [Appellant] ran back downstairs where he was able to escape out the front door.
Downstairs, City of Pittsburgh Police Officer Steven Sywyj had entered the house in pursuit of the men. He encountered Hainesworth and told her to get out of the house. As she fled, she was hit with a bullet fired from the house. Johnson came out of the room in an attempt to find and aid Hainesworth and was shot in the hand. Eventually, [Appellant] and Ferguson were able to escape the police, but were apprehended several days later.

(Trial Court Opinion, entered as filed on July 23, 2012, at 2-3). A jury convicted Appellant of second degree murder, robbery, burglary, carrying a firearm without a license, REAP, and criminal conspiracy on December 15, 2011. That same day, the court sentenced Appellant to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Appellant did not file post-sentence motions. On January 13, 2012, Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal. The court ordered Appellant to file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b), and Appellant complied.

Appellant raises the following issues for our review:
DID THE TRIAL COURT ABUSE ITS DISCRETION BY REFUSING TO PROVIDE NEWLY RETAINED DEFENSE COUNSEL WITH MORE THAN THIRTEEN DAYS TO PREPARE FOR MULTI-DEFENDANT HOMICIDE TRIAL INVOLVING MANY ...

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