Commonwealth v. Sleighter
Pennsylvania Supreme Court
495 Pa. 262 (1981)
Sleighter (defendant) and James Harmon were arguing with William Walters about a gambling debt that Walters allegedly owed to Sleighter. When Walters refused to pay Sleighter, Harmon and Sleighter began to kick and punch Walters. Sleighter threw Walters to the floor and forcibly removed Walters’s rings. Harmon took Walters’s watch and wallet and gave them to Sleighter. Walters left the building and entered an adjacent alley. Sleighter and Harmon followed him into the alley and resumed kicking and punching Walters until he lost consciousness. Sleighter and Harmon dragged the unconscious Walters to a car behind the building and locked him inside it. Walters died from his injuries. Harmon was convicted of second-degree murder and robbery. Sleighter pleaded guilty to murder generally. A judge determined that Sleighter’s guilt amounted to second-degree murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment. Sleighter appealed the sentence, asserting that he could not be found guilty of second-degree murder because there was no underlying robbery under a claim-of-right defense.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Flaherty, J.)
Concurrence (Roberts, J.)
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