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State v. Mitchell

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Defendant appeals a conviction of attempted murder.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    In Missouri, a defendant may be charged with attempting to commit a crime even though the completion of the crime was impossible.

    Facts.

    In an attempt to kill John Warren, Mitchell (Defendant) armed himself with a gun and went to the window of the room he believed Warren to be sleeping. Defendant then fired the gun at the place where Defendant believed Warren was laying. However, Warren was not in the room. Defendant was charged with, and convicted of, attempted murder. Defendant appealed.

    Issue.

    Whether a defendant may be charged with attempting to commit a crime even though the completion of the crime was impossible.

    Held.

    Yes. Defendant’s conviction is affirmed. In Missouri, a defendant may be charged with attempting to commit a crime even though the completion of the crime was impossible.

    Points of Law - for Law School Success

    Whenever the law makes one step towards the accomplishment of an unlawful object, with the intent or purpose of accomplishing it, criminal, a person taking that step, with that intent or purpose, and himself capable of doing every act on his part to accomplish that object, cannot protect himself from responsibility by showing that, by reason of some fact unknown to him at the time of his criminal attempt, it could not be fully carried into effect in the particular instance.

    View Full Point of Law
    Discussion.

    In Missouri, the “attempt” statute provides that a defendant who performs any act toward the commission of a crime, but fails in completing the crime, shall be guilty. The fact that Defendant intended to kill Warren who was not lying in the place where Defendant fired the gun does not make the attempted murder conviction null.


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