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People v. Harris

Illinois Supreme Court
377 N.E.2d 28 (1978)


William Harris (defendant) accused his girlfriend, Joyce Baker, of having an affair as the pair drove in Harris’ vehicle. A heated argument ensued. Harris reached under the driver’s seat, picked up a loaded handgun and placed it on his lap with the barrel pointed at Baker. Thereafter, Harris made several remarks Baker interpreted as threats to kill her. When Harris stopped and exited the vehicle, Baker got in driver’s seat and drove off toward a nearby farmhouse. Harris stood in the road as Baker drove away and fired the gun, striking and shattering the car’s rear window. Harris was charged with attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping. The trial court instructed the jury that it could convict Harris of attempted murder if it found that he acted only with an intent to cause great bodily injury to Baker instead of having a specific intent to kill her. Harris was convicted of attempted murder and acquitted of aggravated kidnapping. Harris appealed.

Rule of Law

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Holding and Reasoning (Ward, C.J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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