Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant, Campbell (Defendant), encouraged the victim to commit suicide and offered him his own gun with which to do so. The victim, who had been drinking heavily with Defendant, fatally shot himself once Defendant had left.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Encouraging another person to kill himself and creating conditions to more readily facilitate that person in taking his life, does not rise to the level of intentional murder.
In Michigan, jurors can convict a defendant of murder only when they are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) the defendant intended (actually or impliedly) to kill and (2) circumstances of justification, excuse or mitigation do not exist.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Does a person commit intentional murder if they merely encourage another person to commit suicide?
Held. No. Judgment reversed.
As defined in the common law, “Homicide is the killing of one human being by another.” The term suicide excludes by definition a homicide. The Defendant, in this case, did not kill another person. Inciting someone to kill himself is not a homicide if distinct from actually killing another person.
Discussion. This case is an example of the limits of homicide statutes. Encouraging another person to take his own life does not rise to murder. Provided the other person was the one who acted to take his own life, the death is still merely a suicide.