Provocation which would not naturally cause instant resentment, but which would have to be thought and brooded over after it is given in order to produce rage or anger, is not, in contemplation of law, a provocation sufficient to reduce an intentional killing from murder to manslaughter.
The defendant was tried upon an information charging him with murder in the first degree. The jury returned a verdict of guilty as charged. The defendant's motion for a new trial was overruled. Judgment was entered upon the verdict. The defendant appealed claiming that the trial court erred in refusing to admit evidence of a prior assault on defendant by the deceased as evidence to reduce the charge from murder to manslaughter.
Was the defendant properly convicted of murder?
The Court held that under the admitted facts of the case, as testified to by defendant himself, his crime could not be reduced to the degree of manslaughter. The Court noted that the killing was with the admitted design to effect death, and was not in any manner connected with the commission of any other crime less than a felony. Clearly, therefore, the evidence which was offered and excluded was not admissible for the purpose of proving, because under other admitted facts it did not tend to prove, manslaughter. A provocation which did not cause instant resentment, but which was only resented after being thought upon and brooded over, was not a provocation sufficient in law to reduce intentional killing from murder to manslaughter, or to second degree murder, which includes every inexcusable, unjustifiable, unpremeditated, intentional killing. Lastly, the Defendant testified that he saw the deceased numerous times after the assault and only after thinking about the incident for several days did he decide to kill the deceased.