Doug Homicide Case Study

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Can Doug be convicted of murder or any lesser included offenses?

State v Doug


The killing of a human being by another.
When Doug shot Tom with a gun and he died, there was a killing of a human being by another.

Actual Cause

The defendant’s acts must have been the actual cause of the victim’s death. “But for” the defendant’s actions, the victim would not have died as and when he did.

“But for” Doug shooting Tom, Tom would not have been killed. Doug is the actual cause of Toms death.

Thus, Doug is the actual cause of Tom’s death.

Proximate Cause

The defendant’s actions are the proximate cause of the victim’s death if the result occurred as a natural and probable sequence of his actions with no intervening factor to break the
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Tom entered Doug’s apartment and verbally tells Doug he’s going to beat him badly, but the facts don’t show that Tom attempted to physically harm him or if there was any other threat that could justify shooting Tom. Therefore, based on Doug’s actions, and Tom’s lack thereof, malice aforethought can be established.

Therefore, Dan may be convicted of murder.

First Degree Murder

First degree murder requires a specific intent to kill with premeditation and deliberation. The deliberate act is not provoked or in the heat of passion. Time is not a factor beyond the time to form intent, consider the crime, and act on it.

Doug shot Tom immediately after Tom entered his home without consent and threatened him. Doug shot and killed Tom with impulse, out of fear for his life, without a thought-out plan or considering the act and consequences. Doug’s gun was in a drawer and not in hand, suggesting he was not prepared to shoot Tom and was “grabbed” on impulse. Therefore, premeditation and deliberation can’t be proven to amount to first degree murder.

Therefore, Doug may not be convicted of first degree murder.

Second Degree

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