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In re J.B.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

December 15, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF J.B. APPEAL OF: COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

Argued March 12, 2014

Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court entered May 8, 2013 at No. 940 WDA 2012, vacating the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lawrence County entered May 18, 2012 at No. 113 of 2011, JUV and remanding. Appeal allowed December 30, 2013 at 401 WAL 2013. Judge: Hohn W. Hodge Judge. Intermediate Court Judges: Christine Donohue, Jacqueline O. Shogan, David N. Wecht, JJ.

For Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, APPELLANT: James Patrick Barker, Esq.

For JAB., APPELLEE: Stephen Domenic Colafella, Esq., Colafella & Valsamidis; Dennis Anthony Elisco, Esq.; Lauren Andrea Fine, Esq.; Lourdes M. Rosado, Esq., Juvenile Law Center.

BEFORE: MADAME JUSTICE TODD.[*] CASTILLE, C.J., SAYLOR, EAKIN, BAER, TODD, McCAFFERY, STEVENS, JJ. Former Justice McCaffery did not participate in the decision of this case. Mr. Chief Justice Castille and Messrs. Justice Eakin and Baer join the opinion. Mr. Chief Justice Castille files a concurring opinion. Mr. Justice Saylor files a concurring and dissenting opinion. Mr. Justice Stevens files a dissenting opinion.

OPINION

Page 77

MADAME JUSTICE TODD [*]

The Commonwealth appeals from the order of the Superior Court vacating the dispositional order of the Juvenile Court of Lawrence County and remanding this matter to that tribunal for further proceedings. We hereby vacate the order of the Superior Court, and remand this matter to the juvenile court so that J.B. may be given the opportunity to file a motion for a new adjudication hearing, nunc pro tunc, challenging the weight of the evidence supporting his conviction for one count of first-degree murder and one count of homicide of an unborn child.

I. Factual Background

The evidence of record adduced at the adjudication hearing held in this matter established the following facts, which are relevant to the juvenile court's adjudication at issue in this appeal: During February 2009, C.B. (an adult male), along with his fiancé e -- K.M.H (" the victim" ) -- her two daughters, J.H. (age 7) and A.H (age 4), and C.B.'s 11-year-old son J.B. were living together in a two-story rented house. The house was located in a rural area surrounded by farmland and woods, and situated near the town of Wampum, Pennsylvania. During the predawn hours on the morning of Friday, February 20, 2009, C.B. left the house to go to work. According to C.B., it had snowed overnight, and at the time he was leaving -- 6:45 a.m. -- there was snow on the ground. N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/11/12, at 147. C.B. recalled that he departed in his usual fashion by backing his vehicle out of a parking area adjoining the rear of the house and onto the long driveway which led from a combination storage barn and garage complex (" garage" ) located behind the house to the nearby thoroughfare of Wampum-New Galilee Road (" road" ).[1] He arrived at work approximately fifteen minutes later at around 7:00 a.m. Id. at 146.

Later that morning, J.B. came downstairs from his upstairs bedroom in the house to get dressed for school. Id. at 68. During this period of time, C.B. and the victim -- who was then over 8 months' pregnant -- had been in the process of relocating the contents of their shared bedroom on the first floor of their home to J.B.'s upstairs bedroom, attached to which

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was another smaller bedroom they had previously converted into a nursery for use once their baby was born. N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/10/12, at 108; 4/11/12, at 68-69. This shared bedroom was located in the front of the house directly to the right of the front door. N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/10/12, at 95.

In preparation for the final move, which was to take place during the upcoming weekend, some of J.B.'s personal belongings, including his clothes, had already been placed downstairs inside of the shared first floor bedroom. N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/11/12, 68-69. After awakening, J.B. went downstairs, entered that bedroom, where the victim was sleeping at the time, retrieved his clothes, and got dressed in a nearby bathroom. Id. at 69. After dressing, J.B. sat on the couch with J.H. and watched television. Id. A.H. was still asleep. Id. at 66. J.B. recalled that while he and J.H. were watching television, he heard the victim click her cell phone -- either open or shut -- which he presumed was her checking the time. Immediately thereafter, the victim called out to them that " they needed to leave or they would be late for the bus." Id. at 70. J.B. and J.H. left the house one or two minutes later, which J.B. estimated was around 8:13-8:14 a.m., since both children normally caught the school bus that transported them to Mohawk Elementary School around 8:12 a.m. every morning. Id. at 89. As J.B. exited the house, he noticed a large black truck parked by the garage.[2] N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/11/12, at 65-66.

The driver of the school bus which arrived to pick up the children noted that, when he first saw J.B. and J.H., they had made it a third of the way down the driveway, and were walking toward the road, with J.B. a little bit ahead of J.H. N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/10/12, at 152. Once the children saw the school bus, however, the driver recalled they both began to run down the driveway toward the bus with J.B. outpacing J.H. by about ten yards during the run. Id. at 153. As they ran towards the bus, the driver did not notice anything unusual in the way the children were acting, and, at no time while he was watching them, did he observe them leave the driveway, or throw anything. Id. at 154, 156. Once the children got to the bus, they each took their respective assigned seats, as per their normal routine. Id. at 153-54. The bus driver recalled observing nothing out of the ordinary about the children's behavior after they had gotten on the bus and during the time they were being transported to school. Id.

Approximately 45 minutes after the children got on the school bus -- shortly after 9:00 a.m. -- a six-person work crew from a tree service company arrived at the premises to finish collecting firewood they had cut and collected the previous day from the wooded area located in front of the house. Id. at 13, 19, 29. The crew came in three trucks, with the lead truck driven by the owner of the business -- Gary Cable --

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entering the driveway first. Cable and his workers parked their trucks between the front of the house and the woods line which was also in front of the house, but closer to the road. Cable and his crew remained in that area all day. Id. at 18. Cable remembered that there was a " light" coating of snow at the time on the ground, which he estimated was approximately 1/8-1/4 of an inch in depth. Id. at 20. Cable did not recall seeing any tire tracks in the driveway on his arrival, although he did note that the center of the driveway was " humped up" when he pulled in. Id. at 22, 31.[3]

Cable and his crew began working, after which one of his workers came to him and reported seeing the screen door to one of the entrances to the house standing open. Id. at 23. Cable told the worker that he would keep an eye on it. Id. Approximately ten minutes later, Cable noticed the door open again and observed a little girl -- A.H. -- crying; whereupon, Cable went up to the porch to see what was the matter.[4] A.H. told Cable that " her mother was dead." Id. at 25. Cable called 911 and sent one of his workers -- Gary Suhanec -- to the end of the driveway to flag down the state police officers who had been dispatched. Cable, without entering the house, attempted to console A.H. by speaking to her through the door, and Cable instructed her to get her blanket from the couch and come over to the door so he could talk to her and keep her calm. Id. at 26-27.

While waiting for the police to arrive, Suhanec called Cable on his cellphone and informed him there were footprints on the driveway. Id. at 37. It was at that point that Cable observed two sets of small footprints in the center of the driveway between " [w]here the tire tracks run on either side of the driveway." Id. at 38, 40. Cable estimated this was approximately 45 minutes after he arrived -- around 9:45 a.m. Id. at 36.

The first state police officers -- Troopers Harry Gustafson and Corporal Jeremy Bowser -- arrived on the scene at 10:13 a.m. Id. at 43-46. Trooper Gustafson encountered A.H., who was crying, at the front door. He picked her up and then took her into the residence and sat her on the couch to watch television. Upon entering the residence through the front door, he immediately saw the body of the victim lying on her left side on the bed in the bedroom with a " very large" pool of blood by her head and upper shoulders and soaking the sheet beneath. Id. at 49, 71. Troopers Gustafson and Bowser engaged in emergency ventilation measures until paramedics arrived.

During the performance of these resuscitative efforts, the school nurse called the victim's cell phone requesting to speak to her. Trooper Gustafson answered the phone, identified himself, and talked to the nurse, who indicated that J.B. was in her office because he was not feeling well and that he was requesting to come home for the day. Id. at 59-60. Trooper Gustafson

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asked the nurse to " baby-sit" J.B. until they could make arrangements to have someone pick him up. Id. at 60.

The paramedics arrived at around 10:40 a.m. and began to examine the victim. Id. at 85. During the examination, one of the paramedics noted a gunshot wound to the back of her head. Id. at 81-82. The paramedics could not detect any life signs from the victim, nor any fetal heartbeat. Id. at 81. At this point, other crime scene investigators from the Pennsylvania State Police and the Lawrence County Coroner's Office were sent to the scene, after which the victim and her unborn fetus were pronounced dead. In a short period of time thereafter, state police investigators confirmed that C.B. was at work that morning as he claimed, and, after a gunshot residue test of his hands was negative, he was quickly eliminated as a suspect. N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/11/12, at 63, 82, 138, 147.

One of the state police officers who arrived at the home was Trooper Janice Wilson, who, upon arrival, spoke briefly with A.H. Because A.H. was in a state of shock, she could not provide coherent answers to Trooper Wilson's questions. Id. at 60-61. Trooper Wilson next went to Mohawk Elementary school to interview J.H. and J.B.

Upon arrival at the school -- shortly after noon -- Trooper Wilson asked to speak to J.B., but was informed he was sleeping in the nurse's office because he had a stomach ache. Id. at 63, 70. Trooper Wilson then spoke with J.H., who initially was distraught because she thought she was in trouble; however, she calmed down after the school guidance counselor informed her she was not. Id. at 64. Trooper Wilson interviewed J.H. for about ten minutes, but recalled that " [s]he really didn't have much to offer about what had happened that morning." Id.[5] J.H. did not testify at the adjudication hearing.

J.B. was then awakened in the nurse's office and brought by his guidance counselor to be interviewed by Trooper Wilson in a nearby conference room. Trooper Wilson did not inform J.B. of the death of the victim, but, instead, asked him who had been present that morning in the house, and he replied that " it was his mom, referring to [the victim], and his two sisters and himself." Id. at 65-66. He noted that his dad had already left for work, and A.H. was asleep and did not wake up before he and J.H. left for school. Id. Trooper Wilson next asked J.B. " if he had seen anyone else around or any vehicles there that day?" Id. J.B. replied that his mom's green van was there which she used to drive A.H. to school, and, also, " that he saw a black large pickup truck parked back by the garage." Id. Trooper Wilson pressed J.B. for details about the truck, since she believed that it possibly belonged to the individual who had killed the victim. Id. Trooper Wilson asked J.B. if the truck was running, and he stated that " he . . . didn't know." Id. Trooper Wilson inquired if J.B. " saw anyone around," and she recalled that he replied no. Id. J.B. remarked the truck was of the same kind that he would usually see when the owner of the farm and another man would be in when they came to feed the cows. Id. at 66-67. Trooper Wilson further queried J.B. about what he had done that morning, and he recounted, as detailed above, his actions of retrieving his clothes, getting dressed and going with J.H. to the bus after the victim's admonition to them to hurry up, and then his first observation of

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the black truck upon exiting the home. The interview concluded at that point.

Meanwhile, during the late morning and early afternoon hours, the state police began searching for Adam Harvey -- the ex-boyfriend of the victim -- because he had a history of making threats of violence against her. Id. at 125-26. At this time, the victim, as well as her parents, sister, and brother-in-law had a permanent Protection From Abuse (" PFA" ) order against Harvey, stemming from an incident which occurred in February 2008. During this incident, Harvey -- then living in North Carolina -- had called the victim's mother and " threatened to take [her] whole family out." Juvenile's Exhibit B, PFA Order 2/4/2008. Harvey was also the owner of a black Ford F-150 pickup truck. Id. at 222-26. Harvey had returned from North Carolina in late October 2008, and had, within the previous two weeks, received paternity test results showing that A.H. was not his biological daughter. Id. at 151, 191, 207. Also, at some point during the preceding evening of February 19, 2009, Harvey confronted the victim's parents in a nightclub where he had gone to pick up food -- resulting in his ejection from the club. Id. at 126, 150.

Trooper Dominick Caimona was dispatched by his supervisor to find Harvey, who was staying with a family that Trooper Caimona knew -- the Klingensmiths, in the City of New Castle. Id. at 220-23. When Trooper Caimona arrived at the Klingensmith residence, he was informed by Thomas Klingensmith that Harvey was residing at an address in Union Township, Lawrence County, and that Klingensmith would show him the address. Klingensmith got into Trooper Caimona's car which proceeded along State Street -- the main thoroughfare in Union Township. As the state police cruiser approached the intersection of State Street and Miller Avenue, at around 1:20 p.m. in the afternoon, Klingensmith saw Harvey's black truck at the intersection and pointed it out to Trooper Caimona. Id. at 221, 223, 226. Trooper Caimona parked the police car and walked over to the truck; he asked Harvey to accompany him to the state police barracks to talk with him, and Harvey agreed. Id. at 221.

Trooper Caimona noted that the intersection was located approximately 2 city blocks from the home of Harvey's parents where Harvey was staying. Id. at 222. Trooper Caimona observed that Harvey's truck had a light coating of snow on the hood and roof and that it was dirty, as if it had been driven. Id. at 225. Harvey was taken to the state police barracks and interviewed at around 2:23 p.m. Id. at 139. Harvey provided an alibi, stating that he had been home in the basement of his parents' house since 10:00 p.m. the previous evening, and that the only way out of the house was through the upstairs floor where his dad was. Id. at 133. Harvey's hands were tested at that time by investigators for the presence of gunshot residue, but none was detected. Id. at 137. Based on his proffered alibi, and the presence of snow on the truck, which, in the investigators' opinion, suggested that it could not have been driven to Wampum -- a distance Trooper Caimona estimated to be 8-10 miles -- and then back to his home without coming off, Harvey was excluded as a suspect. Id. at 132-33, 223.

Also during the afternoon of February 20, Corporal Andrew Pannelle of the Pennsylvania State Police conducted a visual inspection of the inside of the house. He observed that all of the doors to the house were unlocked, and, also, that the front door had blood on its frame. N.T. Adjudication

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Hearing, 4/10/12, at 124, 134.[6] Corporal Pannelle, while walking through the first floor of the house, noticed a blue blanket on the floor near the front door, and he seized it because it had a hole in it, which he believed could have been indicative of a shotgun blast. Id. at 127. The blanket was subsequently subjected to microscopic examination and chemical testing and no gunshot residue, or blood, was found on it. N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/11/12, at 121-23.

Upon entering the first floor bedroom where the victim's body was found, Corporal Pannelle noted that the television, which sat on top of an armoire located in the right hand side of the room, was turned on. N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/10/12, at 102. Observing that the doors to the armoire were closed, he opened them. Id. at 103. Inside the armoire, he saw a locked gun safe on the bottom shelf, which was later determined to contain two handguns and ammunition. On the top shelf, Corporal Pannelle saw a work helmet and two boxes of shotgun shells -- one opened and one closed. Id. at 104. The open box contained 16 unfired " Federal Premium" brand .20 gauge shotgun shells. Id. at 106.

Corporal Pannelle, accompanied by Sergeant Markilinski, also of the Pennsylvania State Police, then proceeded to examine the second floor of the house. Upon entering the front bedroom to the right of the stairwell -- J.B.'s bedroom -- both troopers noted the presence of six " long guns" partially covered by an orange blanket, which, as observed from the entrance to the bedroom, were standing in the left hand side corner of the room nearest the door, between a dresser and the wall. Id. at 108-09. The butt of one gun -- a .30-.30 rifle -- was protruding the furthest into the room as it leaned against the wall. To its immediate right was a muzzleloader, and leaning directly against that weapon, on the right-hand side, was a .20 gauge shotgun -- a " Harrington and Richardson . . . youth model." Id. at 110-11, 121. Both of these guns, like the other four in the group, were found standing upright against the back of the bedroom wall. Id. at 139. Corporal Pannelle began to remove individual guns from the group, one at a time, and hand them to Sergeant Markilinski for him to examine and determine if they were loaded. Id. at 141.

The first gun removed by Corporal Pannelle was the flintlock rifle, which Sergeant Markilinski examined and noted nothing unusual about it. Id. at 141. The second weapon Corporal Pannelle handed to Sergeant Markilinski was the .20 gauge shotgun. Sergeant Markilinski opened the breech of the shotgun and smelled burnt gunpowder in the breech, which he pointed out to Corporal Pannelle, who also smelled the odor. Id. at 113. Sergeant Markilinski also observed gunpowder residue in the breech and in the barrel. Id. at 141-42. Both Corporal Pannelle and Sergeant Markilinski testified that, based on their personal experience with firearms, they believed the shotgun had been " freshly" or " recently" fired. Id. at 130-31, 142. However, both acknowledged that they were not offering expert opinions in this regard, and that they could not opine with any degree of scientific certainty exactly when the shotgun had been fired. Id. at 132-33, 143. The .20 gauge shotgun was seized by the troopers and sent for forensic examination. Id. at 147.

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Because of the discovery of the shotgun, at 10:00 p.m. on the evening of February 20, Trooper Wilson re-interviewed J.B. at his grandmother's home where he was staying. N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/11/12, at 71-72. J.B. had not been informed of the victim's death previously by anyone so, prior to Trooper Wilson speaking with J.B., his father, C.B., took J.B. aside and told him " something bad had happened" and " [the victim] isn't with us anymore, she's in heaven." Id. at 72. Upon hearing this, J.B. became emotional and started crying. Id. Once he had calmed down, Trooper Wilson, along with another trooper, began to question J.B., with his father observing. Trooper Wilson described his demeanor as " low-key" and that he was not nervous, excited, or fidgety. Id. at 87.

Trooper Wilson asked J.B. for more details about the black truck and when he had first seen it. Id. at 73. J.B. recalled that he first saw the truck as he exited the house, when he reached in his pocket to see if he had ice cream money for school, and, in the process, dislodged a mass of fuzz from his pocket which fell to the ground. N.T. Id. at 73. When he bent over to pick it up, it was then he noticed the truck parked by the garage. Id. Trooper Wilson asked J.B. if J.H. had seen the truck, and he replied that he mentioned it to her but she didn't respond, as he believed she was, at that point, too far ahead of him to hear him. Id. at 74. J.B. also mentioned to Trooper Wilson that, while he was out that afternoon in a vehicle driven by one of his relatives, he observed a white S-10 truck which he said to his relative resembled the truck that was at the farm, except he stated that the truck at the farm was black and larger than the S-10. Id. at 94-95.

J.B. also informed Trooper Wilson that he had seen a person in a white hat ducking over inside the truck he observed at the farm. Trooper Wilson inquired of J.B. why he had not mentioned that when she talked with him that morning, and he explained that when he first glanced at the truck he didn't see anybody. Id. at 75. J.B. also recounted his observation that the lights were on inside of the truck, and when Trooper Wilson stated that he did not tell her that during the first interview, J.B., after hesitating, then described the lights as being " sort of half on." Id. at 75.

Trooper Wilson next asked J.B. if he had any guns, and he informed her that he had a .30-.30 rifle. Id. at 76. Trooper Wilson questioned J.B. as to whether he had a shotgun, and he replied yes. She inquired whether he knew what gauge it was, and he stated that " it was a 20-gauge," and further related that he only shot the gun outside and, also, that he had shot it with his dad last month. Id. at 77, 101. Trooper Wilson asked J.B. if he had fired the gun that morning, and he answered " no." Id. at 101. The interview ended at that point. Id. at 78.

At 3:30 a.m. on the morning of February 21, 2009, state police arrested J.B. at his grandmother's residence and charged him with the murder of the victim and her unborn fetus. N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/10/12, at 217.[7] No gunshot residue testing

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of J.B.'s hands was ever performed. When J.B. was arrested, he was wearing a polo shirt, blue jeans, a brown jacket, and tennis shoes. Id. These were the same clothes J.B. had on when interviewed by Trooper Wilson at his school at noon on February 20. N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/11/12, at 78.

Later during the morning of February 21, after sunrise, a team of state police officers searched the exterior grounds in the immediate vicinity of J.B.'s residence, and along its driveway. N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/10/12 at 207, 211. Sergeant Daniel Brooks, in the company of several other state police officers, began walking outward from the porch and down the driveway toward the road. Just outside of the residence, adjacent to the porch area, they found a " very rusty" spent shotgun shell. Id. at 199, 202. As the officers walked further down the driveway in the direction of the road, they discovered a second spent shell. This shell -- a " Federal Number 6" brand .20 gauge -- was found approximately 100 feet away from the house on the left hand side of the driveway at the beginning of a fence line that ran the entire length of the left side of the driveway. Id. at 195-96, 198, 210. The spent shell was located near the base of the wire fence, a few feet from the middle of the driveway, and it was lying underneath leaves which were frozen and covered by ice and snow. Id. at 210. When asked by the prosecutor at the adjudication hearing[8] to describe the condition of the shell -- on a sliding scale ranging from " pristine to the other spectrum being rusted and broken up" -- Sergeant Brooks characterized the shell as pristine, and he agreed with the prosecutor that it was not weathered. Id. at 201-02.

Further along the driveway near the road, and embedded in the dirt of the driveway itself, the searching officers found a third spent shell which, like the shell found near the house, was " very rusty," and it was also physically crushed into the surface of the driveway. Id. at 204. In Sergeant Brooks' view, both rusty shells had been there " for quite some time." Id. at 199. However, Sergeant Brooks also opined that there was no way to estimate exactly how long any of the three shells had been lying outside. Id. at 209. These three spent shells were the only ones found during the troopers' search of the property, and, after being photographed in their original positions, they were collected as evidence. Id. at 205, 207.

At the adjudication hearing, the Commonwealth presented the testimony of Dr. James Smith -- a forensic pathologist -- as to the nature of the victim's gunshot wound.[9] Dr. Smith noted that he determined

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that the victim sustained a single gunshot wound to the back of her neck, which, because of the presence of shotgun pellets in and around the wound, he opined was inflicted by a shotgun. N.T. Adjudication Hearing, 4/10/12 at 161. Dr. Smith described this wound as being in the shape of " a large oval or ellipse" and " tangential," i.e., slanted. Id. at 160-61. Due to the trajectory of the wound -- proceeding " slightly" from the back of the victim's body to the front and upward -- Dr. Smith believed it had been inflicted as the victim was lying on her left side on the bed. Id. at 161, 179.

Dr. Smith further noted that hot gas from the shotgun blast entered the wound through the skin and muscle of the victim's neck and caused the skin to bulge out and rupture near the point of entry. Id. at 168. This phenomenon, known as " blowback," formed a " tract" or laceration in the skin. Id. To Dr. Smith, the nature of this type of damage indicated that the gas from the shotgun blast was mostly contained within the entry wound and did not have time to dissipate. Id. at 168-69. This factor, coupled with the presence of powder in the wound and " soot" around the surface of the skin near the point at which the pellets entered the skin, caused him to conclude that the shotgun was " very, very close to, or maybe even touching, the back of the neck" when it was fired. Id. at 168, 183-85. Although he could not give a precise distance, he estimated the shot was fired from a distance of closer than two inches from the victim's neck, and the barrel of the gun was in " close contact" with her skin at the time. Id. at 185.

Dr. Smith found that, as the pellets entered the soft tissues of the neck, a small portion of the pellets discharged a piece of bone from the occipital (rear) region of the victim's skull near its base, and then entered the interior of her cranial cavity. Id. at 161-62. In his estimation, these pellets caused damage to the centers of the victim's brain which controlled her autonomic nervous functions, thereby causing the death of both the victim and, because of the cessation of the victim's blood circulation, her unborn fetus. Id. at 160-61, 165; 173-78. Dr. Smith noted, however, that the vast majority of the pellets he observed had " rebounded back downward" and traveled back in the direction from which they had entered, resulting in them becoming lodged in the back of the victim's neck. Id. at 162.

Regarding the question of whether the blowback which occurred near the entry wound could have caused blood or other tissue material to travel backwards along the track of the pellets and enter the barrel of the shotgun, Dr. Smith opined that, generally, blowback is more common whenever hot gas from a gunshot wound penetrates beneath the skin and encounters bone which does not yield. Id. at 190-91. Dr. Smith acknowledged that the shot which entered the victim's wound impacted the bones of her skull. Id. at 191. Dr. Smith agreed that it was, therefore, possible that this impact could have caused tissue and blood to have been propelled back through the channel created by the shot and into the barrel of the gun; however, he believed the angle of the gun at the time the wound was made minimized the amount of blowback, and, thus, he opined that one would not expect to find as much blood or tissue as would be present if the wound was inflicted straight into the skin, i.e., with the gun barrel held at a 90 degree angle thereto. Id. at 170-72, 186-92.

Also testifying at the adjudication hearing on behalf of the Commonwealth was a certified toolmark and firearm examiner -- Trooper Paul Burlingame of the ...


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