For affirmance -- Chief Justice Weintraub, and Justices Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Hall and Schettino. For reversal -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Jacobs, J.
A juvenile delinquency complaint in the Essex County Juvenile Court charged that the appellants Gerard Genovesi, William Clark and Paul Steenback assaulted and robbed Thomas Taurosa and that Taurosa died as a result of the injuries inflicted during the assault and robbery. After hearings during which extensive testimony was taken, the court adjudged that the appellants were juvenile delinquents and committed Genovesi to the New Jersey State Reformatory at Annandale and Steenback and Clark to the State Home for Boys. They appealed to the Appellate Division and we certified the proceedings on our own motion.
In accordance with R.R. 6:9-1 the county prosecutor was notified of the complaint, counsel was retained by Genovesi and was assigned to Clark and Steenback and a stenographic record was made of the proceedings. Several witnesses including Mrs. Naddeo and Mr. Stabile testified with respect to the assault and robbery, Dr. Albano testified with respect to his autopsy and the cause of death, and detailed written statements by the appellants admitting their participation in the assault and robbery were received in evidence. The appellants did not testify but did produce as witnesses, Dr. Goldberg who gave his expert opinion based on Dr. Albano's testimony and autopsy as to the cause of death, and Officer De Angelis who had apparently answered the call for the police on the night of the assault and robbery and whose testimony was introduced to attack the credibility of Mr. Stabile's testimony.
Mrs. Naddeo testified that on June 26, 1959 at about 9 P.M. she saw four boys near Crane Street and Summer Avenue in Newark and as a man approached two of them "started beating him up" and the "other two followed." She saw the man go down and she kept shouting "a mugging." When the headlights of a passenger car lighted the scene she saw "four boys kicking the man" while he was on the ground. Later she saw the man get up and stagger although he had not been staggering when she had observed him
before the attack. Mr. Stabile testified that on June 26, 1959 at about 9 P.M. he saw Mrs. Naddeo near Crane Street and Summer Avenue; she directed his attention to what the boys were doing and he saw them run away; he went over to where "the commotion was going on" and saw a man lying on his back; the man was bleeding, his clothes were soiled and ripped and "his pockets were inside out"; Mr. Stabile told his wife to call the police and he asked the man where he lived; the man told him he lived at 15 Crane Street and that he was going home; when he saw the man staggering and heading away from 15 Crane Street he started him in the right direction and then lost sight of him; and when the police arrived he told them about the incident and that the beaten man had said he was going home to 15 Crane Street.
Joseph Taurosa, a brother of the decedent Thomas Taurosa, testified that he lived with his brother at 15 Crane Street; that on June 26, 1959 at about 9:30 P.M. his brother came home with his clothes "all messed up" and with "blood around his face"; and that his brother's pockets were "sticking out" and he told him he had been "mugged" but that he did not want any help. Joseph left the house the next morning and when he returned at about 5:30 P.M. he found his brother sitting on his bed and he assisted him to the bathroom. He handed him a glass containing soda but Thomas dropped it and began trembling. Joseph left the house to call his father and when his father arrived they carried Thomas into bed and called the emergency squad. Michael Taurosa, the decedent's father, testified that after talking to his son Joseph he visited Thomas at about 1 P.M. on June 27 at 15 Crane Street. Thomas was sleeping but he awakened him and was told that "four guys jump on him and knock him down." Thomas told his father that he did not want a doctor nor did he want to go to a hospital but that he intended to go down to the drug store to "buy a bottle to clean up himself." Michael saw that Thomas was "all messed up" and that there were marks on his
face. He left after helping Thomas put on a clean pair of pants and did not return until about 6 P.M. when Joseph called him and they carried Thomas into bed and called the emergency squad. Police Officer McGuire testified that he and Officer Patella responded to the call at 6:37 P.M. on June 27 and when they arrived at 15 Crane Street they found Thomas Taurosa "lying in bed apparently dead." They notified headquarters to send a doctor who responded and pronounced him dead.
Police Officers Walter and Brent and Essex County Prosecutor's detective Neidorf testified that they were assigned to investigate the matter and took statements, in which the appellants set forth in detail their participation in the assault and robbery of Thomas Taurosa, and photographs in which the appellants pointed to various scenes involved in the events of June 26, 1959. In his statement Genovesi stated that on June 26, he, Clark, Steenback and a fellow named Harry Pickels were near the Old Mill Tavern where they saw a drunken man come out; Pickels said that the man "must have money on him tonight because it's Friday night" and that he could use some money "come on let's follow him"; Genovesi "bumped the man" with his right shoulder and he fell underneath the steps of a brick factory on Crane Street; then Pickels, Clark and Steenback ran over and "all three began kicking this man"; "I was trying to hold the man down, he was struggling to get up" and "after Pickels kicked him the man became quiet"; "Pickels began going through his pockets" and "the man tried to get up again and Pickels kicked him near the face and the man lay quiet again"; "then Pickels took the wallet from the man's pocket"; "I looked through the wallet, there was no money in the place for bills"; "I opened a zipper and found four ten dollar bills"; "I gave a ten dollar bill to each of the fellows and kept one for myself." In his statement Clark said that as Jerry (Genovesi) was going through his pockets "the man moved and I kicked him about four times on the body." "Pickels and Irish (Steenback) kicked
the man also when he was lying on the ground." In his statement Steenback said that "when Jerry was going through the man's pockets the man tried to get up, Pickels kicked the man with his foot, first in the head and then a couple of times in the ribs or body"; "I kicked the man once in the left shoulder; then Jerry Genovesi ripped the man's pants pocket, the rear pocket and got the man's wallet."
Dr. Albano, Chief Medical Examiner of Essex County, testified that he had performed an autopsy on the body of Thomas Taurosa; he found lacerations and abrasions, cracked ribs, a chest bruise, a lacerated spleen and 1500 c.c. of blood in the abdominal cavity; he expressed the view that the laceration to the spleen had resulted from trauma and that internal hemorrhage from the lacerated spleen had produced shock which brought on Taurosa's death; and he stated that he found no diseased condition in the body which would or could have contributed to the lacerated spleen. The appellants produced Dr. Goldberg, pathologist at the Presbyterian Hospital, who expressed the view that Taurosa had not died as the result of shock produced by the hemorrhage resulting from the lacerated spleen but that the "primary cause of his death was a cardiac condition." Dr. Goldberg never examined Taurosa's body but based his opinion on Dr. Albano's autopsy report and testimony. The autopsy report did indicate heart impairment but Dr. ...