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[U] Commonwealth v. Collins

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 21, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
ADRIAN L. COLLINS, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence April 5, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County Criminal Division No(s).: CP-22-CR-0002052-2012

BEFORE: MUNDY, WECHT, and FITZGERALD, [*] JJ.

MEMORANDUM

FITZGERALD, J.

Appellant, Adrian L. Collins, appeals from the judgment of sentence entered in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas following a jury trial and his convictions for first-degree murder,[1] second-degree murder,[2] robbery,[3] and carrying a firearm without a license.[4] Appellant contends the trial court erred by admitting evidence of a prior robbery because it was more prejudicial than probative and established his bad character. We affirm.

We adopt the facts and procedural history set forth by the trial court's opinion. Trial Ct. Op., 7/1/13, at 1-2. Appellant timely appealed and timely filed a court-ordered Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) statement. Appellant raises the following issue on appeal:

Did the trial court abuse its discretion in denying Appellant's motion in limine seeking to preclude the Commonwealth from introducing evidence of other crimes at Appellant's homicide trial?

Appellant's Brief at 3.

Appellant suggests the trial court abused its discretion by denying his motion in limine to preclude evidence regarding the EZ Discount robbery. He insists the prejudicial value of that evidence greatly outweighed any probative value. Appellant complains that although the Commonwealth wanted to introduce the evidence to establish his access to the murder weapon, the Commonwealth nonetheless introduced testimony by four witnesses about the robbery. He also faults the trial court for permitting the jury to view photos and video of the robbery. We hold Appellant is not entitled to relief.

The standard of review follows:

The admission of evidence is within the sound discretion of the trial court and will be reversed only upon a showing that the trial court clearly abused its discretion. Further, an erroneous ruling by a trial court on an evidentiary issue does not require us to grant relief where the error is harmless.
An error will be deemed harmless where the appellate court concludes beyond a reasonable doubt that the error could not have contributed to the verdict. If there is a reasonable possibility that the error may have contributed to the verdict, it is not harmless. In reaching that conclusion, the reviewing court will find an error harmless where the uncontradicted evidence of guilt is overwhelming, so that by comparison the error is insignificant.

Commonwealth v. Northrip, 945 A.2d 198, 203 (Pa. Super. 2008) (citations and formatting omitted). We state the following with respect to evidence of other crimes:

Typically, all relevant evidence, i.e., evidence which tends to make the existence or non-existence of a material fact more or less probable, is admissible, subject to the prejudice/probative value ...

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