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[U] Commonwealth v. Ayala

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 7, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
GREGORY AYALA, JR. Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence June 26, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-38-CR-0001311-2012

BEFORE: GANTMAN, P.J., OTT, J., and MUSMANNO, J.

MEMORANDUM

GANTMAN, P.J.

Appellant, Gregory Ayala, Jr., appeals from the judgment of sentence entered in the Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas, following his jury trial convictions for simple assault and discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure.[1] We affirm.

In its opinion, the trial court fully and correctly sets forth the facts and procedural history of this case. Therefore, we have no reason to restate them.[2]

Appellant raises one issue for our review:

WHETHER THERE WAS SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT A CONVICTION AS TO COUNT 4-DISCHARGE OF A FIREARM INTO AN OCCUPIED STRUCTURE AND COUNT 5-SIMPLE ASSAULT[, ] WHERE THE JURY CONCLUDED ON THE VERDICT SLIP THAT APPELLANT DID NOT POSSESS A GUN AND THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT APPELLANT ACTED AS AN ACCOMPLICE?

(Appellant's Brief at 4).

The Crimes Code defines the offenses of simple assault and discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure, in relevant part, as follows:

§ 2701. Simple assault
(a) Offense defined.-Except as provided under section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault), a person is guilty of assault if he:
(3) attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury[.] 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2701(a)(3).
§ 2707.1. Discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure
(a) Offense defined.-A person commits an offense if he knowingly, intentionally or recklessly discharges a firearm from any location into an occupied structure.

18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2707.1(a).

After a thorough review of the record, the briefs of the parties, the applicable law, and the comprehensive opinion of the Honorable Bradford H. Charles, we conclude Appellant's issue merits no relief. The trial court opinion discusses and properly disposes of the question presented. (See Trial Court Opinion, filed August 26, 2013, at 3-14) (finding: Victim testified that at approximately 3:30 a.m. on August 25, 2012, Appellant came to Victim's residence with three other men asking if Victim was having party at his house; when Victim responded negatively, Appellant tried to force his way into Victim's residence; Victim refused to permit Appellant inside his home because they did not like each other; approximately twenty seconds after Appellant left, Victim heard gunshots and saw Appellant and his cohorts standing outside nearby; Victim provided two independent written statements on day of incident, both of which identified Appellant as offender; Victim indicated in written statements that he had observed Appellant pointing or shooting gun; Victim testified he was afraid to cooperate with police during investigation because people made threats against Victim and his family for "snitching" on Appellant; Victim's cousin, who was at Victim's house when shooting took place, testified he saw black car flee scene after shooting; police recovered from Appellant's vehicle unspent round/bullet on windshield wiper and unspent round in passenger compartment; when police confronted Appellant about bullets in his vehicle, Appellant claimed he finds bullets in cars doing work as car detailer and keeps bullets; bullets found at crime scene[3] and bullets recovered from Appellant's vehicle contained same headstamp and were same type of ammunition; Detective Fields testified Appellant claimed he was at his girlfriend's house at time of shooting; Commonwealth's witnesses poked holes in Appellant's alibi; Commonwealth presented evidence of Appellant's presence at crime scene, motive to commit crime, attempted retaliation against Victim for "snitching, " use of Appellant's vehicle to provide transportation after shooting incident, Appellant's effort to deceive police regarding his whereabouts, and Appellant's flight from crime scene; overwhelming evidence supported Appellant's convictions based on accomplice theory of liability). Accordingly, we affirm on the basis of the trial court's opinion.

Judgment of sentence affirmed.

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