Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nebraska Supreme Court upholds bench trial conviction for unintentional manslaughter Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-305 (Reissue 2008) while also finding the Defendant guilty of intentional use of a weapon to commit a felony (section 28-1205 RRS Neb). State v. Tucker, S-08-623, 278 Neb. 935 . Defendant was charged with first degree murder, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, and possession of a deadly weapon by a felon. Defendant waived a jury trial. The court found Defendant guilty of the lesser-included offense of manslaughter "by unintentionally causing the death of . . . victim while in the commission of an unlawful act. the court explained that the predicate felony to that offense was "assault and/or a terroristic threat. By acquitting Defendant of first and second degree murder, the trial court made the implicit finding that Defendant lacked the specific intent to kill and that he also lacked the specific intent to commit any of the listed felonies for felony murder. By finding Defendant guilty of unintentional manslaughter, the court found that Defendant did not intend to kill victim, but that he did kill victim during the intentional commission of an unlawful act. based on the predicate offense of intentional assault, the evidence was sufficient to support the trial court’s judgment that Defendant was guilty of use of a weapon to commit a felony

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