Law School Case Brief
PEOPLE v. NASIR L. BANKS - No. 239520, No. 245070, 2003 Mich. App. LEXIS 2479 (Ct. App. Sep. 30, 2003)
Every person concerned in the commission of an offense, whether he directly commits the act constituting the offense or procures, counsels, aids, or abets in its commission may hereafter be prosecuted, indicted, tried and on conviction shall be punished as if he had directly committed such offense.
Defendant was charged with first-degree murder. Following a jury trial, he was convicted of the lesser offense of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 80 to 120 months' imprisonment. In Docket No. 239520, defendant appeals as of right from his conviction. After he was sentenced, defendant moved for a new trial, arguing that his conviction was against the great weight of the evidence. The trial court granted the motion. Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of second-degree murder. Defendant argued that he did not know that his brother intended to kill the victim.
Was there sufficient evidence to convict defendant for second-degree murder?
To convict a defendant of second-degree murder, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant intended to kill or to do great bodily harm or that he acted with willful and wanton disregard of the likelihood that the natural tendency of his actions would be to cause death or great bodily harm. "To be convicted of aiding and abetting, a person must either have possessed the required intent or have participated while knowing that the principal had the requisite intent." People v Wilson, 196 Mich. App. 604, 614; 493 N.W.2d 471 (1992).Examining the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecutor, a rational jury could find that defendant aided and abetted his brother in assaulting McDonald while possessing the requisite intent for murder. The evidence was sufficient to enable the jury to determine that the assault with the bat and the fatal shooting were part of a series of connected events culminating in McDonald's death, rather than isolated activities to be parsed without regard to the surrounding circumstances. The jury properly could have found that defendant assisted his brother by immobilizing McDonald, knowing that his brother at least intended to commit great bodily harm.
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