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State v. Forrest

Scott Caron

ProfessorScott Caron

CaseCast "What you need to know"

CaseCast –  "What you need to know"

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State v. Forrest
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    Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant, John Forrest, shot and killed his critically ill father, Clyde Forrest, Sr., to end his suffering.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Among the circumstances to be considered to determine whether the Defendant acted with premeditation and deliberation required for first-degree murder are: (1) lack of provocation by the victim; (2) conduct and statements of the Defendant before and after the killing; (3) threats and declarations of the Defendant before and during the killing; (4) ill-will between the parties; (5) the dealing of lethal blows after the victim was rendered helpless; and (6) evidence of the killing being done in a brutal manner.

    Facts. The Defendant admitted his father to the hospital. His father had been suffering from a significant number of serious ailments. By the next morning, the victim’s condition was determined to be untreatable and terminal. The Defendant went to the hospital the next day and shot his father four times in the head with a .22 caliber pistol. The Defendant did not deny the killing and in fact made several statements indicating that he was doing what his father wanted and put him out of his misery.

    Issue. Was there sufficient evidence presented at trial of premeditation and deliberation?

    Held. Yes.
    Among the circumstances to be considered to determine whether the Defendant acted with premeditation and deliberation required for first-degree murder are: (1) lack of provocation by the victim; (2) conduct and statements of the defendant before and after the killing; (3) threats and declarations of the defendant before and during the killing; (4) ill-will between the parties; (5) the dealing of lethal blows after the victim was rendered helpless; and (6) evidence of the killing being done in a brutal manner.

    Here, the victim did not provoke the attack. The victim was lying helplessly in a hospital bed. The Defendant had to cock the gun each time he fired. This is indicative of conduct on the part of the Defendant which is consistent with intentional killing.

    Finally, the Defendant’s own statements after the killing indicated premeditation and deliberation. Namely, he wanted to put his father out of his misery and end his suffering, and he stated that he promised he would not let his father suffer. Hence, there was sufficient evidence presented to prove premeditation and deliberation.


    Discussion. Premeditation and deliberation generally must be proved by circumstantial evidence, such as through the factors listed above.


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