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[U] Commonwealth v. McCollum

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 19, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
STEVEN RICHARD McCOLLUM, JR., Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence December 10, 2012, Court of Common Pleas, Dauphin County, Criminal Division at No. CP-22-CR-0005177-2011.

BEFORE: DONOHUE, OTT and PLATT [*] , JJ.

MEMORANDUM

DONOHUE, J.

Steven Richard McCollum Jr. ("McCollum") appeals from the judgment of sentence for attempted murder[1], aggravated assault[2], persons not to possess a firearm[3], and carrying a firearm without a license.[4] We affirm.

The facts underlying this appeal may be summarized as follows. In the early morning of October 9, 2011, Timothy Juett ("Juett") suffered a gunshot wound to the back following an altercation over a parking space. At approximately 2:39 a.m., Officer Nathan Ishman ("Officer Ishman") of the Harrisburg Police Department received a dispatch of shots fired in the area of 135 North Summit Street. Officer Ishman arrived on the scene approximately three minutes later and discovered the victim on 13th and State Street. Shortly thereafter, Hany Ahmed ("Ahmed"), a friend of the victim and witness to the incident, arrived and provided Officer Ishman with information regarding the appearance of the suspect and his vehicle. Officer Ishman put out information over the radio that the suspect was driving a white Cadillac with a blue ragtop and a license plate beginning with "J-M-R".

While en route to the scene of the shooting, Officer Mike Rudy ("Officer Rudy") of the Harrisburg Police Department observed a white Cadillac with a blue ragtop and a license plate beginning with "H-M-R" driving on the 100 block of Summit Street. Because the vehicle matched the description of the suspect vehicle, Officer Rudy followed the vehicle in his police cruiser but did not activate his lights. After approximately three blocks, the vehicle slowed down, both of its front doors opened, and its occupants attempted to flee. Officer Rudy then activated his emergency equipment. The vehicle then pulled over to the side of the road and struck a parked car. The driver fled the vehicle and dropped something on the ground as he ran. Officer Rudy then arrested the driver as he attempted to re-enter the vehicle. Once the driver of the vehicle and the remaining passengers were detained, Officer Rudy discovered a handgun in the area where he observed the driver drop something.

Once the passengers of the vehicle were detained, Officer Ishman drove Ahmed to see if he could identify any of the individuals as the shooter. With each individual handcuffed and seated on the curb, the police stood each man up individually while Ahmed observed from Officer Ishman's police cruiser. Ahmed then identified the driver of the vehicle, McCollum, as the person responsible for shooting Juett.

Prior to trial, McCollum filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained pursuant to the traffic stop and Ahmed's identification as of him as the shooter. Following a suppression hearing on October 2, 2012, the motion was denied. On December 18, 2012, following a jury trial, McCollum was convicted of the aforementioned crimes and sentenced to 20-40 years of incarceration. This timely appeal followed, in which McCollum raises the following issues for our review:

1. Whether the suppression court erred in denying [McCollum's] motion to suppress evidence where police did not possess reasonable suspicion or probable cause to initiate a traffic stop?
2. Whether the suppression court erred in denying [McCollum's] motion to suppress Hany Ahmed's pretrial identification of [McCollum] where [McCollum] was in custody and such identification was overly suggestive so as to give rise to a substantial likelihood of irreparable misidentification?
3. Whether the suppression court erred in denying [McCollum's] motion to suppress Hany Ahmed's in-court identification of [McCollum] where the Commonwealth failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the identification had an independent origin sufficiently distinguishable from the illegal pre-trial identification so as to be purged of the primary taint?
4. Whether the trial court erred in sentencing [McCollum] to twenty (20) to forty (40) years in prison where [McCollum's] sentence was excessive and unreasonable and where the trial court failed to take into consideration [McCollum's] rehabilitative needs when fashioning a sentence, focusing solely on the seriousness of the offense?
5. Whether the trial court erred in denying [McCollum's] post-sentence motions where the jury's verdict was against the weight of the evidence so as to shock one's sense of justice where the testimony from the Commonwealth's witness was inconsistent, unreliable and ...

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