The crime of murder in the second degree, under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1399, rests upon implied malice. It is not sufficient to establish merely a criminal intent followed by a homicide. Malice is not to be implied if the fatal act was the sudden result of what the law deems either a sufficient provocation or an uncontrollable passion naturally excited by the circumstances of the occasion.
Upon a jury verdict, the trial court convicted defendant husband of second degree murder for the shooting death of a man that the husband discovered in the company of his wife. On appeal, the state supreme court ordered a new trial.
Could defendant husband be held guilty for murder in the second degree under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1399 when, upon finding his wife was committing adultery, defendant killed his wife’s paramour?
The law deemed defendant husband's passion, excited by surprising his wife in the act of adultery, so far uncontrollable from the frailty of human nature, that defendant killed his wife's paramour in the impulse of the moment; because no actual malice had been disclosed, none ought to be implied. Defendant was not justified in the killing, but he was not a murderer.