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[U] Commonwealth v. Williams

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 21, 2014



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence entered June 25, 2012, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, at No(s): CP-51-CR-0005297-2011 & CP-51-CR-0005299-2011.




Timothy Williams ("Appellant") appeals from the judgment of sentence imposed after a jury convicted him of burglary, aggravated assault, and possessing of an instrument of crime.[1] We affirm.

The trial court detailed the trial testimony as follows:

At trial, complainant Rodrigus Williams ("Williams") testified that on the afternoon of August 7, 2011, he was at his house with [Appellant] and Williams's friends, Brandon, Unique, Quron, and Marquis, playing video games. [Although they are not related by blood, Williams treated Appellant as his nephew.] At around 3:30 p.m., everyone except [Appellant] left Williams's house to drive Brandon to work. [Appellant] told the group he was taking his skateboard to the park.
While driving away, Williams noticed that instead of heading toward the park, [Appellant] was heading back toward Williams's house. Williams drove back to the house, went inside, secured the door and back window, and left a second time. When Williams returned to the house with Unique, Quron, and Marquis a short while later, he noticed that the top part of the house's back door was jammed, and the hinge was broken. When he went upstairs to see if anything else was out of place, Williams discovered that his PlayStation 3 ("the PlayStation") was missing, along with some controllers, wires, and games. [Some of the games that had been taken belonged to one or more of Williams's friends.] He also later noticed that three of his PSPs and an MP3 player were missing.
Williams testified that he telephoned [Appellant's] aunt, Ruby Tilghman ("Tilghman"), with whom [Appellant] lived, told her [Appellant] had stolen his things, and said he would be coming to Tilghman's house to take them back. Williams, Unique, Quron, and Marquis, drove to Tilghman's house at 538 South 56th Street. When they arrived, Williams approached the house while the others remained by his car. Williams demanded his things from [Appellant]. At Tilghman's prompting, [Appellant] removed an MP3 player and a wallet from his pocket. Recognizing the MP3 player as his own, Williams grabbed the items and passed them to Unique, Quron, and Marquis. After exchanging "confrontational words" about who owned those items, [Appellant] ran off the front porch, past Williams's car. Unique, Quron, and Marquis chased him across the street and the four men engaged in a physical altercation. Williams testified that he stopped the fight after about twenty seconds.
Williams testified that when the fight ended, Tilghman invited him to go to [Appellant's] bedroom to look for the items. [Appellant] led the way upstairs, and Tilghman and [Williams] followed. [Appellant] walked into his bedroom while Tilghman and Williams stood at the doorway. Although [Appellant] did not produce the PlayStation or the games, Williams noticed [Appellant's] gaze kept shifting to a storage tote on the bedroom floor. Williams stepped into the bedroom, removed some clothes from the top of the tote, and saw the PlayStation.
According to Williams's testimony, [Appellant] stabbed him almost immediately after Williams had uncovered the PlayStation. When [Appellant] came at him a second time, Williams was able to grab [Appellant] by the arms. Williams hit [Appellant's] arm against the door frame, causing the knife to drop from [Appellant's] hand. Williams and [Appellant] struggled on the hallway floor, but when Williams's left hand went numb, he fell to the side and ran outside, screaming for someone to call an ambulance. He noticed blood coming from his chest and both of his arms and began to feel light-headed.
Williams was taken by ambulance to the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania where he was admitted and treated for multiple stab wounds, a left brachial transaction, a laceration to both his liver and diaphragm, and a pericardial fistula. He was discharged twenty days later. At the time of trial, Williams was continuing to go to the hospital every three months to treat pain associated with the injuries.
Defense witness Ruby Tilghman recounted a different version of the events leading up to the altercation. Specifically, Tilghman testified that when Williams called her to report that [Appellant] had stolen his PlayStation, he [Williams] threatened to shoot [Appellant]. Shortly after the call, Williams showed up at 538 with three other males (presumably Unique, Quron, and Marquis). When [Appellant] stepped onto the porch, Williams and the three other males started chasing him. Williams's companions caught [Appellant], jumped him, and kicked and punched him at Williams's direction, while Williams held [Appellant's] hands back. Tilghman testified that it was she, not Williams, who stopped the fight. Tilghman also testified that while she was intervening, Williams again threatened to shoot [Appellant], even if it meant having to "go through" Tilghman to do it.
Tilghman testified that after the fight ended, [Appellant] returned to 538 and sat on the front steps. Williams approached the front porch and took [Appellant's] wallet from him. He told [Appellant] he would keep the wallet, and would return every day to beat [Appellant] up, until [Appellant] returned the PlayStation. Tilghman invited Williams to come into 538 to see for himself that the PlayStation was not there. [Appellant] led the way to his room and sat on his bed. Suddenly, Tilghman observed [Appellant] run past her and into the bathroom. [Appellant] and Williams began fighting on the bathroom floor until Williams ...

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