After a night of gambling, Jared Weems (defendant) was assaulted by a man who attempted to cut him with a knife. Weems fled. When Weems returned to the area to retrieve his car, he realized he had lost his keys during the altercation. Weems decided to check at a nearby cafe to see if anyone had located his keys. Weems was afraid that the man who had assaulted him might be in the cafe, and he therefore carried in a gun that had been in the glove box of the car, cocked and loaded. The man was not in the cafe, but Weems’s gun accidentally discharged as he was putting it away, killing Weems’s friend Christine Wilson. The fact that the killing was accidental was uncontested by the prosecution (plaintiff). Weems was convicted of murder. Weems appealed, and the court of criminal appeals affirmed the murder conviction. The Supreme Court of Alabama granted certiorari to review the appeals court’s decision.