Commonwealth v. Graves

334 A.2d 661 (1975)


D and his cousins, Thomas and Edward Mathis, pursuant to a prior conceived plan, burglarized the residence of one Sebastiano Patiri, a 75-year-old man and robbed him. During the course of the robbery and burglary, Mr. Patiri sustained injuries which resulted in his death. D testified at trial that on the day of the incident he consumed a quart or more of wine and had taken a pill which was a form of Lysergic Acid Diephylanide (LSD). D testified that he began hallucinating and saw 'cars jumping over each other,' as well as other strange phenomena. He then became unconscious and suffered limited amnesia. Thus he contended that he had no recollection of the occurrence at the Patiri home. A professional psychiatrist determined after giving D a polygraph and sodium amytal test that D was telling the truth when he stated that he was under the influence of the wine and the LSD tablets during the afternoon of September 28, 1971. The doctor testified that in his opinion, D was under the influence of the two intoxicants and at the time of the Patiri attack 'his mind was such that he wasn't able to form the proper conscious intent to take a life, to assault.' Defense counsel then attempted to elicit from the doctor an opinion as to whether or not Graves at the time of the incident 'could consciously form the specific intent to take or steal from a person or individual.' An objection to this question was sustained, and this ruling is assigned as error. The trial court also refused a request to charge the jury that if they found D incapable of forming the intent to commit burglary or robbery because of the consumption of wine or the ingestion of the drug, or both, he could not be guilty of these offenses D was convicted and appealed.