275 A.2d 75 (Pa. 1971), Commonwealth v. White

Citation:275 A.2d 75, 442 Pa. 461
Opinion Judge:Author: O'brien
Party Name:COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellee, v. Donald WHITE, Appellant.
Case Date:March 18, 1971
Court:Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
 
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Page 75

275 A.2d 75 (Pa. 1971)

442 Pa. 461

COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellee,

v.

Donald WHITE, Appellant.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

March 18, 1971.

Page 76

[442 Pa. 462] Mary Bell Hammerman, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Arlen Specter, Dist. Atty., James D. Crawford, Deputy Dist. Atty., Louis Perez, Jr., Asst. Dist. Atty., Milton M. Stein, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., Richard A. Sprague, First Asst. Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, for appellee.

Before BELL, C.J., and COHEN, EAGEN, O'BRIEN, ROBERTS and POMEROY, JJ.

OPINION OF THE COURT

O'BRIEN, Justice.

This is an appeal from a judgment of sentence of life imprisonment imposed on appellant after his conviction by a jury on a charge of first-degree murder and after denial of his post-trial motions.

At appellant's trial, the Commonwealth produced the following evidence:

On Saturday evening, August 14, 1965, at approximately 10 p.m., appellant entered a small crowded bar in Philadelphia. Lucille Johnson testified that she was sitting within one or two feet of the deceased when she saw appellant walk right up in front of the deceased and extend his right hand as if offering to shake hands with Holloway. When she had turned her head to talk [442 Pa. 463] to another person to her right, Miss Johnson heard three loud noises like the explosion of firecrackers. She turned back to her left and saw the appellant running toward the back of the bar. Eugene Holloway was face down on the floor.

Two other witnesses, LeRoy Stratten and his twenty-three year old grandson Ernest, were on Holloway's left in the bar that evening. They both saw appellant running to the back of the bar immediately after they heard the shots fired. Ernest Stratten noticed a shiny object, three or four inches long, in the appellant's hand.

William Holloway, uncle of the deceased, was standing at the bar. After the second shot, he turned around and saw the appellant with his right arm bent at the elbow and extended in a horizontal position, standing in front of the deceased. No witness saw anyone but the appellant in front of the deceased at the time the shots were fired. Dr. Edward J. Burke, Police Laboratory Director, testified that tests taken on a shirt removed from the deceased's body after he was shot established, in his expert opinion, that the muzzle of the murder weapon was from one and one-half to...

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