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Statement of the Case.

“ Alexander Zane, if that is you, take your force and get out of this field,” or, as it was put by one or more of the witnesses, “ Alexander Zane, I want you to take your mob and get off these premises.” There was evidence tending to show that Zane and those who were with him had been drinking, and that they were boisterous, singing and hallooing. Defendant testified: “They were noisy, hollering and singing, and acting as if they were drunk to me, and I guess no doubt was.” Zane appears to have made no reply to Wallace, but went on his way. Wallace continued on with his plough until he had reached a ravine that ran north and south through the field, where he halted, unhitched his horses from the plough and took them up to the barn. In about half an hour he returned with a double barrelled shotgun in his hands, passed within a few feet of a group of persons consisting of Denmark, his daughter, one Lewis, and Wallace's wife, and in passing said to his wife, “Now Janie, I want you to order these gentlemen out of here.” Mrs. Wallace then ordered Alexander Zane and those who were with him to leave, but they paid no attention to her. Thereupon Wallace ordered Zane to leave and said to him, “ Are you going ?” Zane was standing with his right hand on a post he had driven in the ground and his left arm hanging by his side.

Wallace testified: “I asked of him whether he was going or not, and about this time I was struck in the back, and Mr. Zane made a grab like this (indicating), and he was standing with his right hand on the post; about the time I was struck in the back he made this motion (indicating), and says, 'Damn you, I will kill you ;' and then my wife hollers or least she says, “ Look out, Jerry !' and I fired this gun.”

Lafayette Lewis, another witness, testified: “His wife ordered them out, and Jerry also, and he asked Zane if he was going to go, but I never heard Zane say a word, and then he told him the second time, and he looked up towards him, with his left hand on the post, and threw his hand up this way (indicating) and said, “ Damn you, I am going to kill

When Jerry ordered him the second time, he turned and kind of looked at him and threw his hand up this


Statement of the Case.

way to his bosom and said, “Damn you, I will kill you!' and at that moment the boy struck Jerry with the knife and Jerry shot him."

Several other witnesses did not see or hear any word or gesture proceed from Zane, but testified that when Wallace said to Zane, “Are you going?” he immediately raised his gun, aimed it at Zane and fired, shooting Zane in the left breast; that Zane walked off about thirty feet and fell, and when those nearest him reached him he was dead ; that when Wallace fired his gun at Zane, Noah Zane ran up and stabbed him in the shoulder with a pocket knife, whereupon Wallace turned and pointed his gun at Noah and the gun snapped. When Zane fell, Noah went to him and took from his person a tomahawk or small hatchet, which was the only thing in the way of a weapon found on him.

There was evidence to the effect that the wound thus inflicted on Wallace penetrated about half an inch, bled considerably, was much swollen, and that his stomach was black and blue as though he had been hit with something, as he testified that he was.

Evidence was also adduced that Zane was in the habit of carrying a butcher knife with him in his belt; that he was quarrelsome; and that Wallace had the reputation of being a peaceable and quiet man. In reference to the survey under which Zane claimed, testimony was given tending to show, as was contended, that Zane caused the disputed line to be so run by the chainmen as to gain four feet, and that Zane said “ when he got through with the land he wouldn't leave Jerry Wallace a garden spot; that he could haul it away in a wagon box.”

Defendant offered to prove by R. C. Patterson that the day before the shooting occurred he had a conversation with Zane, “in which Zane said to him that he was going down there to build a fence across this property of Wallace's the next day, and if Jerry Wallace fooled with him he would kill the blind son of a bitch.” This was objected to, the objection sustained and defendant excepted. Also, that in the same conversation Zane stated that he had got some whiskey “ for the purpose of

Statement of the Case.

bracing himself up for the purpose of building this fence across the land of this defendant, Jerry Wallace.” Plaintiff objected, the court sustained the objection and defendant excepted.

Defendant further offered to prove by Charles Luke that he had a conversation with Zane the day before the killing, and “ Alex. Zane said to this witness that he was going down to build a fence across Wallace's land, and that if Jerry Wallace interfered with him he would kill him, or shoot the blind son of a bitch," and that all these threats were communicated to Wallace. Plaintiff objected, the objection was sustained and defendant excepted.

Defendant offered to prove by Mrs. Alice Sargent that somewhere near the middle of February, 1895, she had a conversation with Zane, on which occasion “ Alex. Zane said to this woman and threatened that he would kill Jerry Wallace, and that he had a knife that he was carrying at that time for that purpose, and that these threats were communicated to Jerry Wallace by this witness afterwards. This was objected to, the objection sustained and defendant excepted. A similar offer of proof by one Taylor was made and a similar exception taken. Defendant also offered to prove by Samuel Collins “that at a time shortly before the 7th of March last he met Alexander Zane and had a conversation with Alexander Zane about Jerry Wallace, and that in that conversation he threatened to kill Jerry Wallace, and that he said to this witness that lie at one time made him look down the muzzle of a double barrelled shotgun and he wished he had killed him at that time, and that these threats were communicated to the defendant.” An offer to prove similar threats prior to the homicide by Mary Crow was made, excluded and exception taken.

When the defendant was on the stand he testified that he took the gun into the field because he was afraid of the party, and especially of Alexander Zane, and did not feel safe without some protection. The following questions were put and ruling made: “Q. You may state, Mr. Wallace, what Zane did at that time, just before you fired the shot. A. He just

Opinion of the Court.

took his hand something like this (indicating) saying, “Damn you, I will kill you.' Q. You may state to the jury from that demonstration what you believed Zane was about to do." To this question plaintiff objected, the objection was sustained and defendant excepted.

Various errors were assigned in respect of the jurisdiction of the court; the sufficiency of the indictment; the want of due service of the list of jurors; and instructions given and refused.

Mr. John D. Hill and Mr. James H. Pratt for plaintiff in


Mr. Solicitor General for defendants in error.

Mr. CHIEF JUSTICE Fuller, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.

If Jerry Wallace believed and had reasonable ground for the belief that he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm from Zane at the moment he fired, and would not have fired but for such belief, and if that belief, founded on reasonable ground, might in any view the jury could properly take of the circumstances surrounding the killing, have excused his act or reduced the crime from murder to manslaughter, then the evidence in respect of Zane's threats was relevant and it was error to exclude it; and it was also error to refuse to allow the question to be put to Wallace as to his belief based on the demonstration on Zane's part to which he testified.

Where a difficulty is intentionally brought on for the purpose of killing the deceased, the fact of imminent danger to the accused constitutes no defence; but where the accused embarks in a quarrel with no felonious intent, or malice, or premeditated purpose of doing bodily harm or killing, and under reasonable belief of imminent danger he inflicts a fatal wound, it is not murder. Whart. Hom. $ 197; 2 Bish. Cr. L. SS 702, 715; 4 Am. and Eng. Ency. Law, 675; State v. Part

Opinion of the Court.

low, 90 Missouri 608; Adams v. People, 47 Illinois, 376; State v. Ilays, 23 Missouri, 287; State v. McDonnell, 32 Vermont, 491; Reed v. State, 11 Tex. App. 509.

In Adams v. People, it was ruled by the Supreme Court of Illinois, speaking through Mr. Chief Justice Breese, that where the accused sought a difficulty with the deceased for the purpose of killing him, and in the fight did kill him, in pursuance of his malicious intention, he would be guilty of murder, but if the jury found that the accused voluntarily got into the difficulty or fight with the deceased, not intending to kill at the time, but not declining further fighting before the mortal blow was struck by him, and finally drew his knife and with it killed the deceased, the accused would be guilty of manslaughter, although the cutting and killing were done in order to prevent an assault upon him by the deceased or to prevent the deceased from getting the advantage in the fight.

In Reed v. State, the Court of Appeals of Texas, in treating of the subject of self defence, said: “It may be divided into two general classes, to wit, perfect and imperfect right of self defence. A perfect right of self defence can only obtain and avail where the party pleading it acted from necessity, and was wholly free from wrong or blame in occasioning or producing the necessity which required his action. If, however, he was in the wrong — if he was himself violating or in the act of violating the law — and on account of his own wrong was placed in a situation wherein it became necessary for him to defend himself against an attack made upon himself, which was superinduced or created by his own wrong, then the law justly limits his right of self defence, and regulates it according to the magnitude of his own wrong. Such a state of case may be said to illustrate and determine what in law would be denominated the imperfect right of self defence. Whenever a party by his own wrongful act produces a condition of things wherein it becomes necessary for his own safety that he should take life or do serious bodily harm, then indeed the law wisely imputes to him his own wrong and its consequenoes, to the extent that they may and should be considered in determining the grade of offence, which

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