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Commonwealth v. Carr

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
580 A.2d 1362 (1990)


Facts

Claudia Brenner and Rebecca Wight were hiking along the Appalachian Trail when they decided to camp for the night. While Brenner and Wight were engaged in lesbian lovemaking, both were shot multiple times. Wight died as a result of her wounds. Stephen Carr (defendant) later incriminated himself in the shooting. At a bench trial, Carr sought to introduce psychosexual evidence to show that he had shot Brenner and Wight in his heat of passion, which was caused by the provocation of their lovemaking. According to Carr’s evidence, he had a history of being constantly rejected by women, including his mother, and had been sexually abused while in a Florida prison. Carr also had an inability to hold a job, and had retreated to the mountains to avoid further rejection. The trial court denied Carr’s request to introduce the evidence. Carr was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Carr appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Wieand, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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