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Home / Opinions / Courts / Court of Appeals, Western District / Criminal Law : Second-Degree Murder – Lesser-Included Offense – Mental State

Criminal Law : Second-Degree Murder – Lesser-Included Offense – Mental State

Where a jury was given instructions on second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter and the defendant challenged his conviction for second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter is a “nested” lesser-included offense to second-degree murder, and the instructions given did not test whether the jury might have found that the defendant acted with a lesser mental state than knowingly or purposely, only whether or not sudden passion was found, so the defendant was prejudiced by the trial court’s failure to submit the involuntary manslaughter instruction, and the conviction and sentence are reversed and remanded.

Judgment is reversed and remanded.

State v. Sanders (MLW No. 67399/Case No. WD76452 – 10 pages) (Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, Ellis, J.) Appealed from circuit court, Jackson County, Messina, J. (Shaun Mackelprang for respondent) (Jeannette L. Igbenebor for appellant).

Read the full text of this opinion. (PDF)