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Freddo v. State

Tennessee Supreme Court
155 S.W. 170 (1913)


Freddo (defendant) worked at a rail yard with Higginbotham. Higginbotham had a history of calling Freddo a “son of a bitch,” an epithet about which Freddo was particularly sensitive due to his past as an orphan. One day while the two were working together, Higginbotham called Freddo a “son of a bitch,” after which Freddo struck Higginbotham with a metal bar, killing him. Freddo was charged with first-degree murder. At trial, Freddo testified that Higginbotham made a gesture toward him that made him fear for his life and that he therefore acted in self-defense. Freddo also testified that he acted in the heat of passion because he was offended by Higginbotham’s repeated usage of “son of a bitch.” The trial jury did not believe this testimony and convicted Freddo of second-degree murder. Freddo, claiming that he should have been convicted of voluntary manslaughter at most, appealed his conviction to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Williams, J.)

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