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Commonwealth v. Rementer

Superior Court of Pennsylvania
598 A.2d 1300 (1991)


Facts

Charles Rementer (defendant) and his girlfriend, Mary Berry, left a bar one evening in the middle of a heated argument. Berry got into the driver’s seat of her cab, which she drove for work. Rementer pushed Berry into the passenger’s seat, climbed into the cab, and drove off. Several witnesses saw Rementer punch and beat Berry and pull her hair as she attempted to escape through the passenger-side window. Berry escaped and ran from the cab twice. Each time, Rementer stopped the vehicle, caught Berry, hit her, and dragged her back to the cab. Berry was able to escape the cab a third time and ran to a passing vehicle for help. The driver became scared, pushed Berry away, locked the doors, and sped off. Berry was crushed to death beneath the wheels of the vehicle. As a result of Berry’s death, Rementer was charged with murder in the third degree. At trial, several witnesses testified to the ferocity of Rementer’s assault on Berry during the several minutes prior to her death. Rementer testified that he only intended to calm Berry down and take her home, and did not intend to injure Berry or cause her death. Rementer was convicted of third-degree murder. Rementer appealed, arguing that there was insufficient evidence of causation, because it was unforeseeable that the vehicle would kill Berry.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Beck, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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