Brief Fact Summary. The defendant, along with three confederates, was in the process of robbing a store when a victim of the robbery, attempting to resist, fatally shot one of the defendant’s co-felons. The defendant was convicted of murder under a felony-murder theory.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The Supreme Court of New Jersey holds that the doctrine of felony-murder does not extend to situations where someone is killed as a result of the commission of the felony, but not by an act directly attributed to the felon.
The defendant, along with three confederates, was in the process of robbing a store when the owner of the store, in an attempt to resist the robbery, engaged in a physical “skirmish” with one of the four robbers. Another one of the robbers began shooting and the store owner shot back. Both the store owner and the felon were killed and the defendant was charged with the murder of both under the felony murder doctrine. The Appellate Division affirmed the conviction for the murder of the store owner and upheld the trial court’s denial of a motion to dismiss the murder charge of the co-felon. The Supreme Court of New Jersey granted a petition for certification with regard to the murder charge of the defendant’s co-felon.
Issue. Under the New Jersey Statute, which provides that “if any person, in committing or attempting to commit arson, burglary, kidnapping, rape, robbery, sodomy or any unlawful act