State v. Davis
Supreme Court of South Carolina
51 S.E.2d 86 (1948)
One afternoon, Mack Davis (defendant) and Norman Gordon, Jr., had an argument at a tobacco barn which resulted in Gordon hitting Davis and knocking him to the ground. Early that evening, Davis was at a store in a rural section of the county when Gordon came in and asked the store’s owner to lend him a gun, stating, “I believe Mack is going to shoot me.” The store owner refused and Gordon responded by saying he would retrieve one from the tobacco barn he had been at earlier that day. Around the same time, Davis left the store and went across the road in the direction of his home. Shortly thereafter, the store owner heard the sound of a shotgun discharging and found Gordon lying in a nearby cornfield. Gordon later died. Davis was charged with murder. At trial, Davis testified that he had retrieved the shotgun from his home and concealed himself in the cornfield for the purpose of shooting Gordon as he returned to the store. The trial court refused Davis’ request to instruct the jury that Davis was not required to retreat. Instead, the trial court instructed the jury “that if a person is threatened with a gun…within shooting range…there is no duty to retreat; and it is only in cases where a person can with safety avoid a difficulty that he is required to retreat under the law to avoid committing murder.” Davis was found guilty and he appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Oxner, J.)
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