People v. Walker

Illinois Court of Appeals, 204 N.E.2d 594 (1965)

Facts:  McClinton (eye-witness), Jenkins, Mrs. Brown, and D were drinking on a porch.  Stenneth (deceased) approached them and demanded that they gamble and when he was refused he drew a knife and started towards them.  D and Jenkins backed deceased down the street.  Deceased was cutting at both of them but McClinton didn’t see either one get cut.  D threw a brick at the deceased and knocked him down.  D picked up the deceased hand with the knife and said “he would cut his throat with his own knife”, and he cut the deceased and walked away.  D’s main contention is that if a killing occurs during the course of a fight and before the blood of the killer has time to cool, the offense is not murder but voluntary manslaughter.

Procedural History: D was convicted of murder and appealed on a account that there was not proof beyond a reasonable doubt but that in any event he was guilty of manslaughter and not murder.

Issue:  Did the actions of the D constitute voluntary manslaughter and not murder?

Holding:  Yes, D was guilty of manslaughter, not murder.

Reasoning:  In cases of manslaughter, there must be a serious and highly provoking injury inflicted on the person killing, sufficient to excite an irresistible passion in a reasonable person…(People v. Bissett).  In this case the deceased was an aggressive, intoxicated belligerent who menaced strangers because they would not gamble with him.  Deceased kept swinging his knife at everyone.  D never had a knife.  The fight was a continuous one.


Disposition:  Remanded.

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