Brief Fact Summary.
Mayes threw a large beer mug at his wife, hitting and smashing an oil lamp, causing burning oil to ignite her clothes. Mayes did not attempt to put out the fire, and his wife died later that week from the burns inflicted. Mayes was charged with murder.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
When a defendant acts solely from general malicious recklessness with disregard of any and all consequences, and causes the death of another, his act constitutes murder.
Mayes threw a large beer mug at his wife, hitting and smashing an oil lamp, causing burning oil to ignite her clothes. Mayes did not attempt to put out the fire, and his wife died later that week from the burns inflicted. Mayes was charged with murder.Mayes requested that the jury be instructed that to convict for murder, it must find beyond a reasonable doubt that Mayes acted with the intent to inflict bodily injury on his wife when he threw the mug. The court gave the jury an amended version, essentially instructing the jury that it could convict if it found that Mayes acted with an abandoned and malignant heart. Mayes was convicted of murder and appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court of Illinois.
Whether an individual can be charged for murder on account of general malice regardless of the presence or absence of any specific intent.
It’s irrelevant whether Mayes intended to hit his wife, or anyone else in the vicinity, with the glass. The fact that Mayes would throw heavy objects in the direction of his wife and young daughter constitutes general malice for the crime of murder when such actions result in death. Mayes is responsible for the consequences of his actions, regardless of what he intended at the time, because he acted recklessly, without regard to the consequences of his highly dangerous acts. The conviction is affirmed.
The crime of murder requires malice. However, both statutory and common law dictate that if the totality of the circumstances demonstrate that the defendant acted with an abandoned and malignant heart, malice will be implied.