from the Judgment of Sentence August 19, 2016 in the Court of
Common Pleas of Mercer County Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: STABILE, J., FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., and STRASSBURGER,
Melvin (Appellant) appeals from the August 19, 2016 judgment
of sentence imposed following a resentencing hearing pursuant
to Commonwealth v. Batts, 66 A.3d 286 (Pa. 2013)
("Batts I"). We affirm.
On November 10, 2003, [A]ppellant was arrested and charged
with homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, escape, and other
related offenses involving an incident at the George Junior
Republic, a residential treatment facility for at-risk youth
located in Grove City, Pennsylvania. [Appellant had been
placed at this facility after he was adjudicated delinquent.]
Appellant and Anthony Machicote ("Machicote") had
conspired to escape the facility by overpowering a guard.
During the early morning hours of November 10, 2003,
Machicote called the night manager ("the victim")
to his room. While the victim spoke with Machicote,
[A]ppellant put the victim in a chokehold. Appellant and
Machicote secured the victim, put a sock in his mouth, and
then tied a sheet around his mouth. After taking the
victim's car keys and wallet, they fled from the
facility. The victim died as a result of suffocation.
Subsequently, both men surrendered and made inculpatory
statements to the police. A hearing was held on August 4,
2004 on [A]ppellant's motion to suppress; and thereafter,
the motion was denied. On October 19, 2004, [A]ppellant
entered a guilty plea to murder in the second degree, and the
remaining charges were nolle prossed pursuant to a
plea agreement. On January 7, 2005, [A]ppellant was sentenced
to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and to
pay costs and fines. Appellant did not file post-sentence
motions or a direct appeal.
On January 23, 2006, [A]ppellant, acting pro se,
filed a timely [Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA)] petition.
Stephen G. Delpero, Esq., was appointed as counsel and an
amended PCRA petition was filed. A hearing was held on May
30, 2006 before the Honorable Thomas Dobson. Thereafter, the
PCRA court denied the petition on May 31, 2006. A timely
notice of appeal was filed June 30, 2006, and [A]ppellant was
ordered to file a concise statement of matters complained of
on appeal. Appellant complied with the court's order.
Commonwealth v. Melvin, 928 A.2d 1126 (Pa. Super.
2007) (unpublished memorandum at 1-2). On April 24, 2007, a
panel of this Court affirmed the denial of Appellant's
PCRA petition. Id. Appellant did not seek review by
our Supreme Court.
8, 2010, Appellant filed a second PCRA petition, which was
denied by the trial court without a hearing. No appeal
followed. Appellant's third PCRA petition was filed on
May 23, 2012. Shortly thereafter, on June 25, 2012, the
Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in
Miller v. Alabama, wherein the Court held that
"the Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that
mandates life in prison without possibility of parole for
juvenile offenders." 567 U.S. 460, 479 (2012).
On September 30, 2013 [the PCRA c]ourt granted
[Appellant's] third PCRA petition on the grounds the
sentence was unlawful in light of Miller[.]
The Commonwealth took an appeal from that order.
On October 30, 2012 the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in
Commonwealth v. Cunningham, 81 A.3d 1 ([Pa.] 2013)
ruled that Miller was not retroactive.
The Commonwealth withdrew its appeal.
On December 18, 2013 the Commonwealth was granted leave to
reinstate its appeal.
On July 22, 2014 the Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed
[the PCRA c]ourt's order of September 20, 2013, at
[Commonwealth v. Melvin, 105 A.3d 798 (Pa. Super.
2014) (judgment order)].
[Appellant] filed a petition for allowance of appeal. It was
denied by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on December 11,
2014. [Commonwealth v. Melvin, 104 A.3d 524 (Pa.
On January 25, 2016 the United States Supreme Court in
Montgomery v. Louisiana, - U.S. -, [136 S.Ct. 718]
(2016), held that Miller  was retroactive.
On March 18, 2016[, Appellant] filed a motion for leave to
amend his PCRA petition in light of the holding in
At a status conference on May 5, 2016 [the PCRA c]ourt
granted the request to amend, vacated [Appellant's]
sentence and scheduled sentencing[.]
On August 19, 2016[, the PCRA c]ourt sentenced [Appellant] to
a term of imprisonment of not less than 30 years nor more
A post-sentence motion was filed. It was denied without a
hearing on August 30, 2016. This appeal followed.
PCRA Court Opinion, 11/1/2016, at 3-4 (unnecessary
Appellant and the PCRA court have complied with the mandates
of Pa.R.A.P. 1925. Appellant raises the following issues for
this Court's review, which we have renumbered for ease of
1. Did the [PCRA] court impose an illegal sentence when it
acted without any statutory authority?
2. Did the [PCRA] court impose an illegal sentence by not
sentencing [Appellant] for the lesser included charge of
third degree murder or the underlying felony of robbery?
3. Did the [PCRA] court err by ruling the ex post
facto clause of our Constitutions prevented him from
considering current Sentencing Guidelines to an offense from
4. Did the [PCRA] court abuse its discretion when it denied
[Appellant's] request for additional financial aid even
though he showed the material's content, its relevance
and its cost?
5. Did the [PCRA] court err by ruling that witnesses could
give "victim impact" evidence without satisfying
the statutory definition of a "victim"[?]
6. Did the [PCRA] court err in allowing character evidence to
be admitted through opinion and ...