Ollie Pouncey (defendant) and two friends got into a verbal altercation with Steven Powers and two others in front of a friend’s house over a claim of a stolen car. As the argument escalated, Powers insulted Pouncey and threatened to harm him. However, no physical contact resulted. Pouncey went inside the house, retrieved a shotgun, and came out onto the front porch and shot Powers in the abdomen, killing him. The State of Michigan (plaintiff) charged Pouncey with first-degree murder. At trial, Pouncey testified he was not angry or out of control when he shot Powers. At the close of the evidence, the trial judge instructed the jury on first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and involuntary manslaughter. The trial court denied Pouncey’s request for an instruction on voluntary manslaughter. The jury convicted Pouncey of second-degree murder. Pouncey appealed. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the trial court erred in refusing Pouncey’s request for a jury instruction on voluntary manslaughter. The Supreme Court of Michigan granted certiorari.