Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant, Ronnie Midgett, Sr., was convicted of first-degree murder for the beating death of his son, Ronnie Midgett, Jr.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Premeditation and deliberation are required elements of first-degree murder.
Held. No. A conviction of first-degree murder requires that the Defendant deliberately and with premeditation kill the victim. Here, the evidence is substantial that the Defendant severely abused the victim. The victim was bruised in several places on his body and malnourished. On the Sunday before the Wednesday of the victim’s death, the Defendant had been drinking heavily and delivered four blows, two to the stomach and two to the back. There was no evidence that the Defendant was doing any more than continuing his pattern of abuse. Therefore, the evidence was insufficient to prove that the Defendant killed with premeditation and deliberation. The Defendant’s conviction of first-degree murder was incorrect, and it should be modified to second-degree murder.
Dissent. The majority has usurped the power of the jury to find that the Defendant intended to kill his son. Further, starving the boy, choking him and beating him constantly provide sufficient evidence of intent to kill.
Discussion. A first-degree murder conviction requires that the prosecution prove that the Defendant acted with premeditation and deliberation.