from the Judgment of Sentence December 19, 2016 In the Court
of Common Pleas of Northumberland County Criminal Division at
BEFORE: DUBOW, J., RANSOM, J., and STRASSBURGER,
Keith Lamont Berry, appeals from the Judgment of Sentence
entered by the Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas
following his convictions after a jury trial of Robbery,
Theft by Unlawful Taking, Receiving Stolen Property, and two
counts of Simple Assault. After careful review, we affirm.
underlying facts, as gleaned from the certified record, are
as follows. On May 5, 2015, the victim, Mary McGinley,
reported an assault to police. Mt. Carmel Borough Police
Officer Matthew Dillman responded to the reported assault at
the home of the victim's aunt at 131 West Third Street in
Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. Upon arriving at that location,
Officer Dillman encountered the victim, who stated that
Appellant had punched her in the face inside Appellant's
residence at 24 East Second Street, also in Mount Carmel. The
victim also reported that Appellant had taken her cell phone
when she tried to call police for help. Officer Dillman
observed fresh and dried blood on the victim's shirt and
chest area, an open wound across the bridge of the
victim's nose, a swollen bump on the side of the
victim's forehead, and the victim's twisted nose.
Officer Dillman called for an ambulance.
30 minutes after responding to the home of the victim's
aunt, Officer Dillman traveled to Appellant's residence.
When he knocked on the door, there was no answer. Later that
evening, Officer Dillman returned to Appellant's home
with Corporal David Donkochik and several other officers.
Appellant's wife, Anna Marie Soto, answered the door.
When the officers explained that they were looking for
Appellant, Soto claimed that she did not know Appellant's
location. During their conversation with Soto, Corporal
Donkochik and Officer Dillman observed droplets, which
appeared to be blood, on the tile floor next to a mop and
bucket eight feet inside the front door in the same location
where the victim stated that Appellant had punched her in the
face. The officers photographed the blood droplets and left
thereafter, the officers learned of Appellant's
whereabouts and responded to 50 North Maple Street in Mount
Carmel. The officers entered the apartment and discovered
Appellant hiding in the bathroom with Soto. Appellant was
crouching in the shower with the shower curtain closed.
Police arrested Appellant and charged him with the above
October 26, 2016, the day before trial, Appellant filed and
litigated a Motion in Limine seeking to preclude
"[a]ny reference, at any stage of the trial, to the
substance being found on the floor of [Appellant's]
apartment, as 'blood.'" Appellant's Motion
in Limine, filed 10/26/16, at 1. The trial court
denied Appellant's Motion in Limine. Appellant
proceeded to a jury trial on October 27, 2016, at which the
victim, Corporal Donkochik, Officer Dillman, and Emergency
Medical Technician Michael Amarose testified. The trial court
permitted Corporal Donkochik and Officer Dillman to testify
about observing droplets of blood near a mop and bucket in
Appellant's home during their conversation with Soto on
the date of the incident. The jury convicted Appellant of
each of the above charges.
December 19, 2016, the trial court imposed a term of 9 to 22
filed a timely Notice of Appeal. Both Appellant and the trial
court complied with Pa.R.A.P. 1925.
presents one issue for our review:
Whether the lower court abused its discretion in denial of
Appellant's Motion in Limine?
Brief at 5.
sole claim, Appellant avers that the trial court erred in
admitting testimony from Corporal Donkochik and Officer
Dillman stating that the substance they observed "was
indeed blood, despite the absence of tests conducted on the
substance." Appellant's Brief at 12. Although
Appellant acknowledges that "a lay witness is competent
to testify that a stain or stains appeared to him to be
blood[, ] Appellant avers that the testimony "was not
stated as an opinion or on the belief the substance may be
blood, but rather a definitive statement that the substance
was in fact blood." Id. (acknowledging
Commonwealth v. ...