Commonwealth v. Mink
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
123 Mass. 422 (1877)
Mink (defendant) was indicted for the murder of Charles Ricker. At trial, Ms. Mink introduced evidence that she had been engaged to Ricker and when he expressed his intention of breaking off the engagement at her home, she retrieved a nearby pistol and attempted to commit suicide by pointing the gun at her head. However, Ricker stopped her from firing the gun. Thereafter Ricker and Mink engaged in a struggle and the gun discharged, killing Ricker. The court instructed the jury that if the evidence showed that Mink pointed a loaded gun at her head for the purposes of committing suicide, that she was about to do an unlawful act. Additionally, the court instructed that Mink is guilty of manslaughter if the doing of her unlawful act resulted in Ricker’s death, albeit unintentional. Mink was convicted and she appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Gray, C.J.)
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