Pennsylvania v. Rushing

Wes and Cynthia Collier lived in a home in Scranton, Pennsylvania with their children and step-children: 16-year-old Leslie Collier; 19-year-old Samantha Hintz; 22-year-old Dustin Hintz; and 22-year-old Matthew Collier, who was handicapped and could not walk. Appellee, then 25-years-old, moved into the Collier home. At the time, he and Samantha were boyfriend and girlfriend, and they lived in her bedroom. Between May and June 2008, Samantha and Appellee were no longer getting along, so Appellee was given his own bedroom in the basement. Appellee became angry when he found Justin Berrios, age 22, Samantha’s former boyfriend and the father of her 2-year-old child Tristan, sitting on Samantha’s bed with her. After working their shifts, Samantha gave Appellee a ride home. Appellee left for a friend’s house, and Cynthia retired for the evening at 11:00 p.m. In the early hours of July 17, 2008, Appellee returned to the Collier home and stabbed Justin to death. When police arrived at the house, they found Samantha, Cynthia and Matthew bound. Samantha had been assaulted; Justin, Leslie and Dustin were dead. Appellee was charged with three counts each of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and third-degree murder, robbery, indecent assault and kidnapping, and convicted by jury on all counts. A three-judge panel of the Superior Court, in relevant part, unanimously determined the facts were insufficient to sustain the kidnapping charge, and, as a result, the second-degree murder convictions. The Commonwealth appealed the Superior Court's judgment. Finding that the victims, although imprisoned in their home, nevertheless, were confined in a place of isolation, satisfied the Commonwealth’s definition of kidnapping. Thus, the Superior Court was reversed and the trial court's judgments of sentence reinstated. View "Pennsylvania v. Rushing" on Justia Law