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State v. Villiano

Decided: May 18, 1948.

THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
PETER VILLIANO, KNOWN ALSO AS PETEY WHITE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



For the plaintiff-respondent, Manfield G. Amlicke, Prosecutor of the Pleas of Passaic County.

For the defendant-appellant, Bernard L. Stafford.

Before Case, Chief Justice, and Justice Burling.

Burling

The opinion of the court was delivered by

BURLING, J. This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Passaic County whereby the appellant was sentenced to be confined in the State Prison for the maximum term of three years and the minimum term of two years upon his conviction by a jury of receiving and buying stolen property, to wit: One blue steel revolver. The appeal has been brought pursuant to R.S. 2:195A-1, et seq., and the amendments thereto. The defendant has also brought up not only his bill of exceptions and assigned errors pursuant to R.S. 2:195-14 and 2:195-15, but has also brought up the record for review under R.S. 2:195-16. The bill of exceptions, grounds of appeal, assignments of error and specifications of causes for reversal each contain twenty-seven separate items which are all identical.

The errors complained of all go to the charge of the trial court, refusal to charge certain requests, the denial of motions for a directed verdict of acquittal and that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence.

Evidence was presented from which the jury might find: That four burglars, Marinnocio, Massaro, Mastroberti and Knight, had broken into a restaurant in Newark on September 20th, 1945, and had taken certain items, including the revolver in question. That at 11 o'clock in the forenoon on September 21st, 1945, Marinnocio, in the company of Mastroberti and Massaro, met the defendant at the latter's pool room in the City of Paterson. Marinnocio, who had not met Villiano prior thereto, was introduced to him by Mastroberti. Marinnocio thereupon informed Villiano that he had a gun that he wanted to sell whereupon Villiano asked Marinnocio to come with him into the back room which adjoins the pool room. In the back room, Marinnocio showed the .38 blue steel Colt revolver to Villiano and told him that he wanted $50 for the same. Villiano "talked about the price" and finally said, "I'll tell you what I'll do, I will give you $17 and my gun." Villiano then took an old gun and showed it to Marinnocio, who agreed to the proposal; the guns were exchanged and $17 was paid by the defendant to Marinnocio. That the defendant made no inquiry of Marinnocio concerning where the latter had obtained the gun; whether or not he had lawful title thereto and was entitled to lawful possession thereof; and no receipts were given either for the money or the guns.

The testimony of these four burglars was the major part of the state's case, the only other witness being Fucci, the original owner of the revolver, who testified as to its value.

The defendant Villiano who claimed that he did not know the names of Marinnocio and his two confederates, denied that he had purchased the gun. He admitted receiving possession of the gun from Marinnocio but stated that it was a transaction in the nature of a loan, whereby he loaned the sum of $17 and an old gun to Marinnocio and accepted the .38 blue steel Colt revolver as security therefor. Villiano admitted that within eight or nine days thereafter he gave the gun to a man bearing the first name of "Lenny" but his last name he could not recall. Villiano also admitted that after he gave the $17 and the old gun to Marinnocio and received the .38 blue steel Colt revolver, he said to the group, "Now, look, I don't want to get in no trouble now." He also admitted that his

suspicions were aroused when the three young men came to his pool room, since "they walked in a sort of a rough way," and he "figured they might go out and use the gun," and that "they might go out and shoot somebody."

At the trial, defendant brought out on a cross-examination that each of the four named individuals had been convicted of crime and when he took the stand it was elicited from him upon ...


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