Can Weapons Enhancement Be Imposed If the Defendant Did Not Have a Gun on His Person but Within Ready Reach During Robbery ?
In Commonwealth v. Bowen, 417 Pa. Super. 340, 612 A.2d 512, 516 (Pa.Super. 1992), the defendant and his accomplices displayed weapons to their victims before robbing them. See Bowen, 612 A.2d at 513.
After robbing and beating one victim, the robbers entered a car, where another victim was located, and beat him until he gave them his coat. See id.
The second victim testified that he did not see a gun in appellant's hand, but testified that he saw at least two weapons during the incident.
The Court upheld the trial court's imposition of the weapons enhancement, finding it irrelevant that the defendant did not have a gun on his person in the car. See id. at 516.
The Court found first that the robbery was commenced when all of the perpetrators brandished their weapons, and second, and most importantly for the present matter, that when the victim was surrounded by the defendant and two accomplices inside the car, two of the accomplices had weapons in their hands.
One of the gunmen was in the front seat inches away from defendant. . . . Even if we were to assume that defendant did not possess a gun at the point the victim was cornered, assaulted, and robbed inside the car, we would conclude that a gun was within defendant's immediate physical control. . . . It is hard to imagine weapons more within his immediate physical control than were the weapons of his companions at that moment.
Defendant had ready access to the physical possession of a gun, under the circumstances described here. Id.