Rule one: Ordinarily, intent can only be proved by circumstantial evidence; it may be and usually is inferred from the defendant's conduct. Intent to cause death may be inferred from the type of weapon used, the manner in which it was used, the type of wound inflicted and the events leading to and immediately following the death.
Rule two: The burden is on the defendant to prove the affirmative defense of extreme emotional disturbance by a preponderance of the evidence.
Appellant appealed from the judgment of conviction for murder. He claimed that the trial court improperly: (1) denied his motions for a judgment of acquittal and for a new trial because the evidence did not establish that he had the intent to cause the death of the victim; and (2) denied his motions for a judgment of acquittal and for a new trial because the evidence established the affirmative defense of extreme emotional disturbance. The state supreme court affirmed appellant's murder conviction.
Issue one:Did the evidence establish appellant’s intent to cause the death of the victim?
Issue two: Did appellant establish the affirmative defense of extreme emotional disturbance?
Answer one: yes.
Answer two: No.
Conclusion one: In the instant case, the evidence sufficiently supported the verdict, as the state established the intent to cause the victim's death through appellant's conduct of stabbing the victim numerous times in vital organs.
Conclusion two: The motion to set aside the verdict was properly denied as the affirmative defense of extreme emotional disturbance was not established. The burden of proving the defense was on appellant, but ultimately if such extreme emotional disturbance was present was an issue for the jury to resolve. Conflicting evidence was presented, and the lower court did not have a duty to set aside the verdict when appellant did not demonstrate that the law was incorrectly applied to facts or that the jury was moved by prejudice. The jury instructions were found proper.