Reckless second-degree murder, also known as depraved heart murder, was defined by the legislature as the killing of a human being committed unintentionally but recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-3402(b) (Supp. 1998).
A woman was convicted of reckless second-degree murder and endangering a child when her Rottweiler dogs killed an 11 year old boy. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Kansas.
Was the conviction proper?
The court held that the state sufficiently established that defendant created an unreasonable risk by harboring the vicious dogs and by her subsequent behavior showed extreme indifference to the value of human life by selecting powerful dogs with a potential for aggressive behavior and then fostering the dogs' aggressive behavior by failing to properly train them. The conviction was proper.