Pennsylvania v. Montalvo (majority)Annotate this Case
A court of common pleas granted Appellant Noel Montalvo's petition for post-conviction relief by granting a new guilt-phase trial. The Commonwealth appealed the PCRA court’s grant of a new guilt-phase trial; it did not challenge the PCRA court’s grant of a new penalty-phase trial. Appellant cross-appealed to challenge the trial court's rejection of "a myriad of additional bases for granting him a new guilt-phase trial." Appellant was accused of killing, or acting as an accomplice to the killing of his brother's estranged common law wife and the man she may have briefly dated. Appellant's brother was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary, for which he was sentenced to death. Appellant would be convicted by jury on first-degree murder charges for the death of his brother's wife, the second-degree murder of her companion, conspiracy to commit murder and burglary. The jury determined the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances in Appellant's case, and recommended a sentence of death. The PCRA court granted appellant's petition for relief on grounds of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. After review, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed with the PCRA court that appellant established his ineffectiveness claim, and therefore, a new guilt-phase trial was warranted. In light of this conclusion, the Court did not address the issues raised by appellant in his cross-appeal.