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State v. Blair

Oregon Supreme Court
228 P.3d 564 (2010)


Facts

Michael Blair (defendant) broke into the victim’s home, stole several items, including marijuana plants, and attempted to rape and sexually abuse the victim. The victim’s leg was tied to a bedpost with a bedsheet. The victim died due to emphysema related to her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and was found the next day on the floor next to the bed. The defendant’s burglary, attempted rape, and attempted sexual abuse exacerbated the victim’s COPD. The State of Oregon (plaintiff) charged Blair with several crimes, including felony murder. Blair demurred, or moved to dismiss, the felony murder count because the prosecution did not allege that Blair committed the murder with a culpable mental state. The trial court denied the motion, and Blair requested jury instructions that required the jury to find that Blair caused the victim’s death knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence in order to convict on the felony murder count. The trial court denied the requested instruction, and the jury convicted Blair of felony murder. Blair appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed. Blair petitioned the Oregon Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (De Muniz, C.J.)

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