Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Commonwealth v. Jones

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

June 20, 2018

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
RHECHIID JONES, Appellant

          Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence January 27, 2017 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-51-CR-0007948-2015

          BEFORE: PANELLA, J., MURRAY, J., and STEVENS [*] , P.J.E.

          OPINION

          STEVENS, P.J.E.

         Appellant Rhechiid Jones appeals from the judgment of sentence entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County on January 27, 2017, following his conviction by a jury on the charges of first-degree murder and firearms not to be carried without a license.[1] After a careful review, we affirm.

         Following the shooting death of Ricky Rodriguez, Appellant was arrested, and represented by counsel, he proceeded to a jury trial. The trial court has aptly summarized the testimony presented at trial as follows:

At trial, the Commonwealth presented the testimony of Philadelphia Police Officers Paul Buzzone, Jason Seigafuse, Francis Graf, Norman DeFields, Edward Slater, Thomas Morgan, and Brian Stark; Philadelphia Detectives Joseph Bamberski, Frank Mullen, Thorsten Lucke, John Keen, John Bartol, and Donald Marano; Philadelphia Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Daniel Brown; and Samantha Schofield, Jared Craiter, Jill Davis, and Christopher Lopez. [Appellant] presented no evidence. Viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as the verdict winner, the evidence established the following.
During the early morning hours of June 14, 2015, [Appellant] and Ricky Rodriguez got into an argument over drug territory near the 1800 block of Thayer Street in Philadelphia. N.T., 1/25/17, at 86. Some hours after the initial argument, [Appellant] returned to the scene and fired multiple shots at Rodriguez. [Id.] at 85-86. Multiple witnesses were on the scene at the time of the shooting: Samantha Schofield and Christopher Lopez were within a few feet of Rodriguez, while Jared Craiter was approximately a half-block away. N.T., 1/24/17, at 107, 144; [N.T., ] 1/25/17, at 85.
Rodriguez was shot five times: once in the head, twice in the back, and twice in the buttocks. N.T., 1/24/17, at 83-89. Philadelphia Police Officers responded to the scene upon the report of shots fired and found Rodriguez lying face down on the ground and unresponsive. N.T., 1/24/17, at 57, 60. He was pronounced dead on the scene by the Philadelphia Fire Department Medic Unit. N.T., 1/24/17, at 94-95.
Philadelphia Police Detectives then conducted an investigation of the shooting. N.T., 1/25/17, at 136-38. During the course of the investigation, Samantha Schofield, Jared Craiter, and Christopher Lopez positively identified [Appellant] as the shooter. N.T., 1/24/17, at 126, 128-29, 179-80; [N.T., ] 1/25/17, at 106. Additionally, detectives recovered a video recording of the incident. N.T., 1/25/17, at 15-16.

Trial Court Opinion, filed 8/17/17, at 1-2.

         At the conclusion of all testimony, the jury convicted Appellant of the aforementioned offenses, and on January 27, 2017, the trial court sentenced Appellant to an aggregate of life in prison.[2] On February 3, 2017, Appellant filed a timely post-sentence motion in which he set forth the following issues (verbatim):

1. The prosecutor engaged in prosecutorial misconduct in his statements during closing argument that mentioned the impact that the decedent's death had on his family. These inflammatory statements were designed to invoke the passions of the jury.
2. The prosecutor engaged in prosecutorial misconduct in his statements during closing argument that defense counsel questioned his integrity because Defense Counsel knew that the rules prohibited the witness Jill Davis from making a [sic] in court identification.
3. The weight of the evidence was so lacking as to shock the conscience in that the inconsistencies in the identification testimony was vague and inconclusive.

Appellant's Post-Sentence Motion, filed 2/3/17, at 1.

         On May 24, 2017, the trial court summarily denied the post-sentence motion, and this timely, counseled appeal followed. On June 12, 2017, the trial court ordered Appellant to file a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) statement.[3] On June 30, 2017, counsel filed a timely Rule 1925(b) statement on behalf of Appellant in which he presented the following issues (verbatim):

1. The prosecutor engaged in prosecutorial misconduct in his statements during closing argument that mentioned the impact that the decedent's death had on his family. These inflammatory statements were designed to invoke the passions of the jury.
2. The prosecutor engaged in prosecutorial misconduct in his statements during closing argument that defense counsel questioned his integrity because Defense Counsel knew that the rules prohibited the witness Jill David from making a [sic] in court identification of [Appellant]. This was an intentional misstatement of the law of in court identification.
3. The weight of the evidence was so lacking as to shock the conscience in that the inconsistencies in the identification testimony was vague and inconclusive.

Appellant's Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) Statement, filed 6/30/17.

         On August 17, 2017, the trial court filed a responsive Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a) opinion.

         On appeal, Appellant presents the following issues in his Statement of Questions Involved (verbatim):

I. Is [Appellant] entitled to an Arrest of Judgment on the charge of Murder in the First Degree where the Commonwealth did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that [Appellant] had a specific intent to kill nor acted with premeditation?
II. Is [Appellant] entitled to a new trial on the charge of Murder in the First Degree where the weight of the evidence does not support the verdict as the weight of the evidence does not support a finding ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.