Brief Fact Summary. Appellant hit and killed a man while driving his car. Appellant argues that because there was no evidence of culpable negligence up to and including the time he hit the victim, he cannot be convicted of manslaughter.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. To find Appellant guilty of manslaughter, the jury would have to find that the victim was alive when Appellant’s conduct constituted culpable negligence.
No greater degree of certainty is required when the evidence is circumstantial than when it is direct, for in either case the trier of fact must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether Appellant possessed the requisite intent for the crime he was convicted.
Because there is no evidence that the victim was alive after impact, we cannot find beyond a reasonable doubt that Appellant was guilty of manslaughter.
To find Appellant guilty of manslaughter, the jury would have to find that the victim was alive after impact and conduct of Appellant constituted culpable negligence while the victim was still alive.
Discussion. The Court ruling focused on the medical examiner’s testimony. The time of Victim’s death could not be pinpointed for certain. Victim could have died on impact or after being dragged underneath Appellant’s car. Even though after the accident, Appellant took steps to hide the hit and run and attempt to develop an alibi, prior to the accident, Appellant did not display any culpable negligence.