Brief Fact Summary. Defendant Carroll was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment for shooting and killing his wife after the two had violent argument. Defendant appealed, arguing that he was could not be found guilty of more than second-degree murder because the killing was not premeditated.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. While premeditation is an element of first-degree murder, where a killing is willful, deliberate and intentional, no time is too short for the necessary premeditation to occur.
Issue. Does the evidence sustain a conviction of murder in the first degree? In other words, was the evidence presented at trial enough to prove the element of premeditation necessary for a conviction of murder in the first?
Held. Yes. Judgment and conviction affirmed.
The specific intent to kill may be found from a defendant’s words or conduct or from the attendant circumstances and may be inferred from the intentional use of a deadly weapon on a vital part of another human being.
If a killing is intentional, willful, deliberate and premeditated, the amount of time between the premeditation and the actual killing is immaterial. Therefore, the defendant’s contention that there was insufficient time for premeditation is without merit.
Premeditation is not negated by circumstances tending to show that the defendant acted with a lack of escape plan.
A psychiatrist’s opinion as to a defendant’s lack of intent is entitled to very little weight, especially is a case such as this one, where the defendant’s own testimony is in opposition.
Whether the intention to kill and the killing, that is, the premeditation and the fatal act, were within a brief space of time or a long space of time is immaterial if the killing was in fact intentional, wilful, deliberate and premeditated.View Full Point of Law