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Commonwealth v. Dorazio
Pennsylvania Supreme Court
74 A.2d 125 (1950)
Gustav Dorazio (defendant) was a former heavyweight boxer who worked at a brewery. Two rival unions were battling for control of the brewery’s labor force. Dorazio belonged to one of the unions and allegedly threatened to hurt or kill anyone who circulated a petition on behalf of the other union. Witnesses claimed that Dorazio attacked a coworker who circulated a petition for the other union, chased the coworker into a building, repeatedly punched the coworker in the head and body as he lay on the floor, and punched bystanders who tried to intervene to stop the beating. Dorazio claimed that the coworker had attacked him and then fallen and hit his head. Dorazio further claimed that he was trying to help the coworker to his feet when the bystanders interfered and attacked Dorazio. The coworker died due to a fractured skull that the coroner determined was likely caused by someone’s fists. The jury found that Dorazio had intended to cause serious bodily injury to his coworker and convicted Dorazio of second-degree murder. On appeal, Dorazio argued that (1) at most, the evidence indicated that he had attacked the coworker using a nondeadly weapon, his fists, and (2) the intent to cause serious bodily injury and, therefore, the malice needed to commit murder, could not be inferred from the use of a nondeadly weapon.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stearne, J.)
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