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Coolen v. State
Florida Supreme Court
696 So.2d 738 (1997)
Michael Coolen (defendant) and his girlfriend met John Keller and his wife, Barbara, at a bar. After a few hours of drinking, the foursome went to the Kellers’ home and continued to socialize and drink late into the night. As Coolen’s girlfriend, Barbara, and John stood in front of the house, Coolen pulled John up against the house and stabbed him several times. Barbara, who rushed over to protect John, was also stabbed by Coolen. John later died from his wounds. The State of Florida (plaintiff) charged Coolen with first-degree murder. At trial, there was conflicting testimony regarding whether Coolen and John had been fighting over the course of the night. Barbara testified that Coolen attacked John for no reason. Barbara’s son testified that he saw Coolen and John argue over a can of beer earlier in the evening. Coolen admitted to stabbing John but claimed he did so in self-defense. At the close of the evidence, Coolen moved for a judgment of acquittal based on the state’s failure to prove that he acted with premeditation. The trial court denied Coolen’s motion. The jury convicted Coolen, and he appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
Dissent (Grimes, J.)
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