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State v. Brown
South Carolina Supreme Court
543 S.E.2d 552 (2001)
Donny Brown (defendant) physically attacked Shane Hammond over a dispute about rent. Hammond left after the attack but returned the next day to retrieve his belongings. Brown claimed that when he told Hammond to leave, Hammond physically attacked him. Brown’s wife then fled the house. Brown further claimed that he had a gun on top of the refrigerator and that during the fight, he saw that the gun had fallen off the refrigerator. Brown said he then grabbed the gun and shot Hammond as Hammond charged him. According to Brown, Hammond kept attacking him, so Brown shot again, killing Hammond. Brown was charged with murder, but he claimed he had acted in self-defense. At trial, Brown’s wife testified that she fled the house because she knew that Brown was angry and agitated and that he often got violent when he was angry. Brown’s wife and grandson both testified that Brown always had a gun on him, either in a pocket, in his belt, or within reach of the bed. Brown was convicted of murder. Brown appealed, arguing that the testimony about his propensity for violence and his gun-carrying habits should have been excluded under Rule of Evidence 404(a) as inadmissible character evidence.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Moore, J.)
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