Com. ex rel. Walls v. Maroney

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtBefore BELL; EAGEN; COHEN
Citation416 Pa. 290,205 A.2d 862
Decision Date05 January 1965
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania ex rel. Eugene David WALLS, Appellant, v. James F. MARONEY, Superintendent, State Correctional Institution.

Page 862

205 A.2d 862
416 Pa. 290
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania ex rel. Eugene David WALLS, Appellant,
v.
James F. MARONEY, Superintendent, State Correctional Institution.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Jan. 5, 1965.

[416 Pa. 291]

Page 863

Eugene David Walls, in pro. per.

Robert W. Duggan, Dist. Atty., Louis Abromson, Edwin J. Martin, Asst. Dist. Attys., Pittsburgh, for appellee.

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

EAGEN, Justice.

On October 21, 1954, the appellant, Eugene David Walls, was convicted by a jury of murder in the first degree with punishment fixed at life imprisonment. At trial, he was represented by court-appointed counsel, one of whom had previously served as a common pleas judge and an assistant district attorney. No post trial motions were filed, nor was an appeal taken from the judgment of sentence.

On March 11, 1964, an action in habeas corpus was instituted. Court-appointed counsel again represented the appellant in this proceeding. After answer filed, the court below denied the writ without hearing. An appeal from this order is presently before us.

The uncontradicted evidence presented by the Commonwealth at trial warranted the jury in finding that during the evening of November 19, 1953, the appellant Walls and one Oscar Brewster accidently met for the first time in a bar in Butler, Pennsylvania; [416 Pa. 292] that being without funds, they decided to make some easy money; that they then stole an automobile in Butler and drove to Brewster's home to secure some guns; that following this, armed with a .22 caliber rifle and a .32 caliber revolver, they drove the stolen automobile to a tavern in Sewickley Township, Allegheny County; that after being in the tavern a short period of time, Brewster, brandishing the revolver, announced 'this is a stickup,' and directed the patrons to turn over their wallets; that some of those present placed wallets and money on the bar; that at or about this time, Walls walked out of the tavern and entered the stolen automobile parked in front; that as Brewster attempted to pick up the wallets and the money, one of the patrons knocked the gun out of his hand, and with the help of another patron started to struggle with and pummel Brewster; that as the struggle continued immediately inside the front entrance, the appellant Walls, still seated outside in the automobile, picked up the rifle, pointed it through the

Page 864

automobile window in the direction of the front door of the tavern, and pulled the trigger; that the discharged bullet from Wall's rifle struck the head of one of the patrons engaged in the struggle, causing the injury which resulted in his death on November 26th, seven days later.

In the confusion that followed, Brewster and Walls escaped in the stolen automobile and drove to Tennessee. They returned to Butler a few days later, and abandoned the automobile in a wooded area after they had attempted to set it on fire to destroy any fingerprints or other telltale evidence. The automobile was located by the police on November 24th.

None of those present in the tavern at the time of the holdup knew the identity of Walls or Brewster. After days of police investigation, the finger of suspicion pointed at Brewster and he was taken into custody on November 30th. Brewster admitted his guilt, but did not know the name or address of the other [416 Pa. 293] man involved. After describing his companion of the night in question, he was shown several photographs and finally identified one of Jesse R. Cricks. The latter was located in his own home where he was sick in bed, suffering from penumonia. Brewster was taken to the bedside of Cricks and identified him as the other man involved. By coincidence, Cricks strongly resembled Walls and the mistaken identification was an honest one. After further investigation, the police exonerated Cricks and gained information which indicated Walls was the other man wanted. He was finally apprehended on December 4th, and readily admitted being the one who did the shooting, but plead that the result was purely accidental. He also denied any participation in the holdup. His statement was stenotyped,...

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10 practice notes
  • United States v. Clark, Crim. A. No. 22960.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • September 3, 1968
    ...reasonable and proper cause to believe that the person arrested has committed a felony. See, E.g., Commonwealth ex rel. Walls v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 290, 298, 205 A.2d 862 (1965). (The law clearly requires this Court to make such a determination when the arresting officers are state officials ......
  • Com. ex rel. Stevens v. Myers
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • September 29, 1965
    ...or Johnson. See, e. g., United States ex rel. Rucker v. Myers, 311 F.2d 311 (3d Cir.1962). See also Commonwealth ex rel. Walls v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 290, 205 A.2d 862 (1965); Commonwealth ex rel. McNeair v. Rundle, 416 Pa. 301, 206 A.2d 329 (1965); Commonwealth v. Coyle, 415 Pa. 379, 387-388,......
  • Com. ex rel. Wilkes v. Maroney
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • September 27, 1966
    ...and again, the writ of habeas corpus may not be used to circumvent procedural rules. See, e.g., Commonwealth ex rel. Walls v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 290, 295, 205 A.2d 862, 865 Appellant also asserts that the 'love notes' should not have been admitted at trial because they were obtained in violat......
  • Com. v. Hoss
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • October 12, 1971
    ...465, 468 (1965), cert. denied Bell v. Rundle, 384 U.S. 966, 86 S.Ct. 1599, 16 L.Ed.2d 678 (1966); Commonwealth ex rel. Walls v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 290, 295, 205 A.2d 862, 865 [445 Pa. 118] In McCoy, the appellant was convicted of first degree murder under the felony murder rule, and at the pe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • United States v. Clark, Crim. A. No. 22960.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • September 3, 1968
    ...reasonable and proper cause to believe that the person arrested has committed a felony. See, E.g., Commonwealth ex rel. Walls v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 290, 298, 205 A.2d 862 (1965). (The law clearly requires this Court to make such a determination when the arresting officers are state officials ......
  • Com. ex rel. Stevens v. Myers
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • September 29, 1965
    ...or Johnson. See, e. g., United States ex rel. Rucker v. Myers, 311 F.2d 311 (3d Cir.1962). See also Commonwealth ex rel. Walls v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 290, 205 A.2d 862 (1965); Commonwealth ex rel. McNeair v. Rundle, 416 Pa. 301, 206 A.2d 329 (1965); Commonwealth v. Coyle, 415 Pa. 379, 387-388,......
  • Com. ex rel. Wilkes v. Maroney
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • September 27, 1966
    ...and again, the writ of habeas corpus may not be used to circumvent procedural rules. See, e.g., Commonwealth ex rel. Walls v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 290, 295, 205 A.2d 862, 865 Appellant also asserts that the 'love notes' should not have been admitted at trial because they were obtained in violat......
  • Com. v. Hoss
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • October 12, 1971
    ...465, 468 (1965), cert. denied Bell v. Rundle, 384 U.S. 966, 86 S.Ct. 1599, 16 L.Ed.2d 678 (1966); Commonwealth ex rel. Walls v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 290, 295, 205 A.2d 862, 865 [445 Pa. 118] In McCoy, the appellant was convicted of first degree murder under the felony murder rule, and at the pe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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