People v. Wheeler
Supreme Court of Colorado
772 P.2d 101 (1989)
Timothy Bothun was a neighbor of Laurie Wheeler (defendant) and her husband, Mitchell Anderson. One night, Bothun became angry at Wheeler, and the two had a physical altercation. A fight then ensued between Anderson and Bothun. Later that night, Anderson entered Bothun’s apartment with a knife. Wheeler followed, and another fight broke out between Anderson and Bothun. While Bothun was on top of Anderson, Wheeler jumped on Bothun’s back and pulled Bothun’s hair. Anderson stabbed Bothun in the side, resulting in Bothun’s later death. Wheeler and Anderson were charged with killing Bothun, and Anderson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Wheeler was granted a separate trial. At Wheeler’s trial, Martin testified that, even though Wheeler did not attempt to help Anderson stab Bothun, Wheeler also did not try to prevent the stabbing. The trial court instructed the jury on the offense of criminally negligent homicide, as well as the theory of complicity, stating that a defendant was liable as a principal for another person’s actions if the defendant aided or abetted the other person in executing the act with the intent to encourage or facilitate the act. Wheeler was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and moved for a judgment of acquittal, arguing that it was logically and legally impossible to commit a criminally negligent homicide by complicity. The trial court granted the motion, holding that the verdict was impossible, because it required the jury to find that the complicitor knew the principal actor was going to unintentionally kill the victim.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rovira, J.)
Dissent (Erickson, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 177,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.