Brief Fact Summary.
Hansen appealed his conviction of second-degree felony murder after he fired gun shots into another person’s house.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Second-degree felony murder exists when a killing occurs during the commission of a felony that is not a lesser-included offense of murder.
Hansen gave Echaves $40 to get crystal meth for him. Instead of securing the drugs, Echaves ran away with the $40. Hansen then went to Echaves’ home and fired his gun into Echaves’ apartment. Hansen ended up killing a thirteen-year-old girl inside of Echaves’ apartment. Hansen was charged with second-degree felony murder and the court of appeals confirmed the conviction.
Whether firing a gun into a house is a felony that is indicative of the felony murder rule?
Yes and no. As long as the original felony is not a lesser-included offense of murder, then the defendant is guilty of murder even if the murder was unintended. The decision of the lower courts are affirmed.
The more dangerous the felony, the more likely it is that a death may result directly from the commission of the felony, but resort to the integral part of the homicide language would preclude application of the felony-murder rule for those felonies that are most likely to result in death and that are, consequently, the felonies as to which the felony-murder doctrine is most likely to act as a deterrent (because the perpetrator could foresee the great likelihood that death may result, negligently or accidentally).View Full Point of Law
(Mosk, J.) Firing a gun is not a felony that is inherently dangerous to human life. Although there is a high probability that someone can die from firing gunshots into another’s home, death must be certain to satisfy the felony murder rule.
(Kennard, J.) Firing a gun into someone’s home is a lesser-included offense of murder because murders often occur when people fire guns.
(Werdegar, J.) A felony is a lesser-included offense of murder if there was an “independent felonious design.” Regardless, the second-degree murder conviction should be affirmed.
The felony murder rule applies in this case because firing a gun into someone’s home is an inherently dangerous felony. A stray bullet can hit an innocent bystander if a gun is fired into a place where individuals live.