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[U] Commonwealth v. Black

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 7, 2014

CRAIG A. BLACK, Appellant


Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence February 16, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-02-CR-0000679-2011




Craig A. Black appeals from the judgment of sentence of thirty-five to seventy years imprisonment that was imposed after he was convicted by a jury of third-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, and carrying an unlicensed firearm . We affirm .

Appellant's convictions arose from an incident that occurred at 1: 30 a.m. on December 6, 2010 in Pittsburgh. Appellant shot and killed Dyon Jones and shot Anthony Woodson four times. Anthony Woodson, who pretended to be dead after being shot but who survived, testified against Appellant at trial. The Honorable Edward J. Borkowski provided a comprehensive outline of the evidence supporting Appellant's convictions:

On December 5, 2010, [ Appellant] arranged to sell a firearm to Anthony Woodson in the Lincoln-Larimer section of the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County. [ Appellant] had purchased marijuana from Woodson in the past and knew Woodson was seeking to purchase a handgun. The sale was arranged when [Appellant] texted a picture of a Smith & Wesson automatic handgun to Woodson, and offered to sell the gun to Woodson for $150. [ Appellant] and Woodson eventually agreed that Woodson would purchase the gun for an "aife" ($15 worth of marijuana) and $100. [ Appellant] selected the recreation center in the Lincoln-Larimer neighborhood as the meeting place because he was concerned about the number of police patrolling the Homewood area where Woodson lived. Woodson asked his close friend Dyon Jones to go with him to the meeting place because Woodson feared [ Appellant] might try to rob him. At approximately 1: 00 A.M. on December 6, 2010, Woodson took his mother's vehicle and drove himself and Dyon Jones to pick up [ Appellant] near the recreation center in the Lincoln-Larimer neighborhood.
When Woodson and Jones pulled over at the recreation center, [ Appellant] walked towards them and got into the backseat of the vehicle behind the front passenger, Jones. Jones and Woodson switched seats and [ Appellant] instructed Jones to drive towards East Hills. As Jones began to drive, [ Appellant] told Woodson that he had the gun and that he wanted the money and marijuana. Woodson gave the money and marijuana to [ Appellant], but [ Appellant] did not hand over the gun. Rather, [ Appellant] told Jones that he was driving in the wrong direction and Jones began to turn the car around on Joseph Street. As he did, [ Appellant] pulled out a gun and shot both Jones and Woodson from his position in the rear passenger seat.
Jones suffered two gunshot wounds to the head and died almost immediately as a result. Jones's body slumped in the driver's seat causing the car horn to sound, and his foot remained on the brake, keeping the vehicle stationary. A third bullet pierced the driver's side windshield. [ Appellant] shot Woodson in the right arm, left arm, left hand, and left shoulder. Woodson immediately [ acted as if he were dead, ] and [ Appellant] exited the car. Woodson called 911 to report the shooting and that Jones was dead.
However, [ Appellant] walked back to the vehicle, prompting Woodson to drop the phone without hanging up and again [ pretend to be dead] . [ Appellant] punched out the glass of the driver's side window and reached in to unlock and open the driver's side door. He stopped the car horn, rustled through Jones's pockets, and reached across the seat and took $58 from Woodson's pockets. [ Appellant] ran away from the vehicle and fled the area when police vehicles approached and began to illuminate the street. Paramedics pronounced Jones dead at the scene .....
Woodson, although seriously injured, was able to tell the initial officers before he was emergently transported that [ Appellant] shot him . The police investigation, including Woodson's account and identification, led to the arrest of [ Appellant ] . . . .

Trial Court Opinion, 7/ 11/ 13, at 6-9 (citations to record and footnote omitted).

I n this appeal that followed imposition of judgment of sentence, Appellant presents the following issues for our review:

I . Did the trial court abuse its discretion by admitting unauthenticated data consisting of phone calls and text messages between the ...

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