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[U] Commonwealth v. Troutman

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 25, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
JAMES LEE TROUTMAN Appellant COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
JAMES LEE TROUTMAN Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the PCRA Order of January 24, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County Criminal Division at No.: CP-46-CR-0003674-2011

Appeal from the PCRA Order of January 25, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County Criminal Division at No.: CP-46-CR-0003674-2011

BEFORE: BOWES, J., LAZARUS, J., and WECHT, J.

MEMORANDUM

WECHT, J.

James Lee Troutman ("Appellant") appeals the PCRA court's orders dated January 24 and 25, 2013. The orders in question respectively denied Appellant's timely first petition under the Post-Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"), 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 9541, et seq., and his subsequent self-styled amended PCRA petition.[1] We affirm both orders.

The trial court set forth the factual and procedural history of this case as follows:

Appellant first appeals from the Final Order of Dismissal dated January 25, 20131, dismissing his petition for post[-]conviction relief filed under the [PCRA]. The dismissal of Appellant's PCRA petition was based on counsel's no-merit letter submitted in accordance with Commonwealth v. Turner, 544 A.2d 927 (Pa. 1988) and Commonwealth v. Finley, 550 A.2d 213 (Pa.Super. 1988), and this Court's independent review of the record.
1[Superior Court docket number 958 EDA 2013.]
Also, Appellant appeals from an Order dated January 24, 2013 2, dismissing an amended PCRA petition, which he was not granted leave to file.
2Superior Court docket number 827 EDA 2013.
Affidavit of Probable Cause
Appellant agreed to the facts as set forth in the Affidavit of Probable Cause. [(Negotiated Guilty Plea, 3/19/12, p. 23).] On May 9, 2011, at 7:11 p.m., the Souderton Borough Police Department responded to the Souderton Garden Apartments located at 203 East Chestnut Street, Souderton Borough, Montgomery County, for the report of a missing child. The child was identified as 9[-]year-old [S.K.], who was last seen by family members at approximately 5:00 p.m. [S.K.'s] mother told police that [S.K.] was wearing black pants, a yellow t-shirt and Ugg clogs.
Additional police arrived at the scene, and a search of the apartment building and surrounding area was conducted. While on location, Officer James Throop of the Souderton Police Department was approached by Waldamar Rios. Mr. Rios explained to the officer that he had discovered blood in the common basement of the apartment building. Rios led the officer to the common basement, which serves apartment numbers 33 through 36. Immediately upon entering the basement, Officer Throop observed a large pool of blood on the floor and suspected blood spatter on a nearby water heater. The officer also found a grey and tan colored clog, Ugg brand, lying on the basement floor.
Detective Edward Schikel of the Montgomery County Detective Bureau was investigating the scene when he encountered Appellant, a resident of the apartment complex. The detective observed what he believed to be blood on Appellant's right sneaker. Appellant relayed a story to Detective Schikel that occurred two weeks prior when he allowed two little girls inside his apartment to use his bathroom. According to Appellant, one of the little girls accidently locked herself in the bathroom. The girl panicked and started yelling and causing a commotion. The police were called. Detective Schikel advised Appellant that he was only interested in the current incident and asked him whether he saw anything that night. Appellant did not answer the detective's question. Rather, Appellant relayed a story about going to a football filed [sic], doing exercises, getting really dirty and muddy, coming home and showering and changing. Detective Schikel asked Appellant if he would be willing to assist the police in the investigation, and he agreed.
Detective Schikel went to Appellant's residence, apartment 33, and knocked on the door. Appellant's fiancé, Heather Clemens, answered, "come in." Ms. Clemens consented to a search of the apartment for the missing girl. During the search, the detective observed exercise style clothing in the master bedroom closet, which appeared to be ...

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