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There can be no felony murder where there has been no death, and the felony murder ingredient of the offense of murder cannot be made the basis of an indictment charging attempt murder. Moreover, the offense of attempt requires "an intent to commit a specific offense," Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 38, para. 8-1 (1973, while the distinctive characteristic of felony murder is that it does not involve an intention to kill. There is no such criminal offense as an attempt to achieve an unintended result.
After defendant, an intoxicated patron, was refused further alcohol, he left the bar, obtained a gun, and returned to the premises, firing shots, and wounding a patron within. He was indicted and convicted of the crime of attempted murder. The appellate court held that a specific intent was an indispensable element to the crime charged, and hence the indictment and instructions relating to the crime were fatally erroneous. Since the jury was instructed on aggravated battery the appellate court, pursuant to Rule 615(b)(4) (58 Ill. 2d R. 615(b)(4)), modified the judgment to aggravated battery and reduced the sentence from an indeterminate term of 1 to 5 years to a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 3 years. The State was granted leave to appeal. The State urged that actual intention to kill was not a requisite mental state for attempted murder, and it sufficed so long as the accused acted with such disregard of human life knowing his conduct created a strong probability of bodily harm.
Was the crime of attempted murder committed, even absent specific intent, so long as the accused acted with such disregard of human life knowing his conduct created a strong probability of bodily harm?
In affirming a ruling that modified the judgment to aggravated battery and reduced the sentence, the Court held that it was not sufficient that defendant shot a gun knowing such act created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm. If that were the test, then a defendant who committed a battery with knowledge that such conduct could cause great bodily harm would be guilty of attempted murder. But, in law, he would be guilty of aggravated battery, a completely different offense with a different penalty. The Court found that the crime of attempted murder required a specific intent to commit murder.