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State v. Boyett

New Mexico Supreme Court
185 P.3d 355 (2008)


Facts

Deborah Rhodes and Renate Wilder were childhood friends who eventually developed an intimate relationship and moved in together. Thereafter, the couple’s romance ended, but they continued to remain close and live together. Wilder later met Cecil Boyett (defendant) and the two became romantically involved. Eventually, Wilder began spending more time with Boyett than with Rhodes. Wilder even fired Rhodes from her job at Wilder’s bar and hired Boyett instead. Rhodes moved out of the couple’s home and Boyett moved in. Wilder and Boyett planned to get married. Prior to the wedding, Wilder left the couple’s home and spent time with Rhodes without telling Boyett where she was going. Although Boyett suspected that Wilder was with Rhodes, he could not confirm that fact. After a short period of time, Wilder left Rhodes’ home to return to Boyett but had a car accident which required her to walk back to her house. After Wilder had returned to Boyett, Rhodes arrived at their house and knocked on the door. Sometime after opening the door but before Rhodes entered the home, Boyett shot and killed her. Boyett was charged with first-degree murder. At trial, Boyett testified that he shot Rhodes because he believed she was reaching for a gun that she often carried on her person and that he fired in self-defense, defense of Wilder, and in defense of his home. The trial court did not instruct the jury on defense of habitation because Rhodes had not crossed the threshold into the home before Boyett killed her. Boyett was convicted of first-degree murder and he appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Serna, J.)

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