Sorry to come late to the party on this one. I was out of town and away
Whether or not it's an urban legend, it definitely is a hypothetical used by
law professors to explain the importance of the concept of "intent" in
committing a crime.
All the Best-
On Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 9:02 PM, sonny <email@example.com> wrote:
> this may not be new to you, but if it is, it's worth a read. first, read
> the below and then the link that follows it.
> At the 1994 annual awards dinner given by the American Association for
> Forensic Sciences, AAFS President Don Harper Mills astounded his audience in
> San Diego with the legal complications of a bizarre death. Here is the
> On March 23 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and
> concluded that he died from a gunshot wound of the head caused by a shotgun.
> Investigation to that point had revealed that the decedent had jumped from
> the top of a ten story building with the intent to commit suicide. (He left
> a note indicating his despondency.) As he passed the 9th floor on the way
> down, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast through a window, killing
> him instantly. Neither the shooter nor the decedent was aware that a safety
> net had been erected at the 8th floor level to protect some window washers,
> and that the decedent would not have been able to complete his intent to
> commit suicide because of this...
> Ordinarily a person who starts into motion the events with a suicide intent
> ultimately commits suicide even though the mechanism might be not what he
> intended. That he was shot on the way to certain death nine stories below
> probably would not change his mode of death from suicide to homicide, but
> the fact that his suicide intent would not have been achieved under any
> circumstance caused the medical examiner to feel that he had homicide on his
> Further investigation led to the discovery that the room on the 9th floor
> from whence the shotgun blast emanated was occupied by an elderly man and
> his wife. He was threatening her with the shotgun because of an interspousal
> spat and became so upset that he could not hold the shotgun straight.
> Therefore, when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed his wife, and
> the pellets went through the window, striking the decedent.
> When one intends to kill subject A, but kills subject B in the attempt, one
> is guilty of the murder of subject B. The old man was confronted with this
> conclusion, but both he and his wife were adamant in stating that neither
> knew that the shotgun was loaded. It was the longtime habit of the old man
> to threaten his wife with an unloaded shotgun. He had no intent to murder
> her; therefore, the killing of the decedent appeared then to be accident.
> That is, the gun had been accidentally loaded...
> But further investigation turned up a witness that their son was seen
> loading the shotgun approximately six weeks prior to the fatal accident.
> That investigation showed that the mother (the old lady) had cut off her
> son's financial support, and her son, knowing the propensity of his father
> to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that
> the father would shoot his mother. The case now becomes one of murder on the
> part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus...
> Further investigation revealed that the son became increasingly despondent
> over the failure of his attempt to get his mother murdered. This led him to
> jump off the ten story building on March 23, only to be killed by a shotgun
> blast through a 9th story window.
> The medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 19 Jan 2009 EST