People v. Hickman

Appellate Court of Illinois, 1973


  • Ds Rock and Hickman were involved in burglary and as they emerged they were chased by an officer.
  • The officer then lost sight of the 2 individuals and moments later saw a man running towards the bushes with a gun.  The officer said “drop it” and the other man did not so he shot and killed him.  The man that was killed was actually another officer.

Procedural History: Ds were found guilty of felony murder.  On appeal, the state argued that the trial court erred when it entered an order arresting a judgment of guilty against defendants for murder. (jury says guilty and then judge of trial court says not guilty?)

Issue:  Did the actual shooting that caused the death of an innocent victim have to be performed by the Ds or someone acting in concert with them in order to comply with the requirements of the felony-murder doctrine?

Holding: No.  Actual shooting did not have to be performed by the Ds in order to qualify for felony murder.


  • Previous holdings provided that a defendant and co-conspirators acting in concert with him could have been held responsible for a killing of an innocent third party during the commission of a forcible felony even though the killing was not actually done by a person acting in concert with defendant or his co-conspirators.
  • Though the police officer was shot by another officer in pursuit of defendants, defendants were still guilty of felony murder because the police officer was killed during the commission of a forcible felony, burglary.
  • Payne is interpreted as setting forth the rule that “he whose act causes in any way, directly or indirectly, the death of an innocent victim is guilty of murder by virtue of the felony-murder doctrine”.

Disposition:  [Conviction reversed]

The court reversed the judgment of the trial court, and held that the trial court erred in arresting the jury’s finding that defendants were guilty of murder.

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