It is the law of Ohio that an intent to kill may be presumed where the natural and probable consequence of a wrongful act is to produce death. Such intent may be deduced from all the surrounding circumstances, including the instrument used to produce death, and the manner of inflicting a fatal wound.
Defendant was a 19-year-old male who ambushed an elderly man in a parking garage, struck him with the barrel of a shotgun, forced him into the garage basement, and shot him to death. The court entered a jury verdict convicting him of armed robbery and first degree murder. On appeal, he argued that the State failed to prove that the killing was done "purposely," as required by Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2901.01.
Does Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2901.01 require the state to prove that the killing was done on purpose?
Under Ohio law, an intent to kill was presumed when the natural and probable consequence of a wrongful act was to produce death. Such intent could be deduced from the surrounding circumstances, including that defendant had used a shotgun to commit the crime and that he had inflicted the fatal wound by firing it at his victim. The court held that the jury's finding that defendant committed first-degree murder was amply supported by the evidence. The photographs and slides of the corpse were accurate, illustrated the verbal testimony, and were more relevant than prejudicial. The court held that their admission did not violate Ohio R. Evid. 403. Similarly, any "shock value" inherent in defendant's statements to police was no more prejudicial than the facts of the crime itself; their admission was proper.