Brazzil v. State

13 S.W. 1006 (1890)

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Brazzil v. State

Texas Court of Appeals
13 S.W. 1006 (1890)

Facts

One morning J.V. Matthews got into a fight with and severely beat D. Brazzil. Witnesses informed D. Brazzil’s brother, Brazzil (defendant) about the fight. Later that day, Brazzil and Matthews saw each other at a store, and Brazzil insulted Matthews for beating up his brother. Both men drew their guns, and Brazzil hit Matthews over the head with his pistol. Matthews shot at Brazzil, and in the ensuing struggle, Matthews dropped his own gun. Matthews ran out of the store, and Brazzil did not follow, telling witnesses he didn’t want to shoot a man in the back. Brazzil had been shot and began tending to his wound. Meanwhile, Matthews entered another store across the street and asked for a pistol. The store owner refused and suggested that a doctor tend to Matthews’s head wound. Matthews let a doctor look at his wound but after a few minutes stood up, announced he was going to get his pistol, and ran outside toward the store in which Brazzil was still located, attending to his own wounds. Brazzil saw Matthews coming and asked him to stop, but Matthews continued running at Brazzil. As Matthews approached the store’s entrance, Brazzil shot at him but missed. Matthews began fighting Brazzil, and Brazzil was eventually able to break free from Matthews and shot and killed him. All told, a few minutes passed from the time Matthews first ran away from Brazzil to the time he reentered the store to fight again. Brazzil claimed self-defense but was convicted of murder. He appealed, arguing that the judge improperly instructed the jury that the events represented one continuous encounter between Matthews and Brazzil, rather than two separate incidents, and that Matthews provoked the second attack, justifying Brazzil’s actions in self-defense.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

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