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State v. Hoang

Supreme Court of Kansas
755 P.2d 7 (1988)


Facts

Thai Do Hoang (defendant) was hired to burn down a building. Hoang would be paid $1,000 for the arson. Hoang hired three assistants, Dung Anh Tran, Thuong Nguyen, and Soubong. The four men went to the building, and Hoang broke one of the windows. Dung and Thuong entered, and Hoang gave them two gasoline containers through the window, though he stayed outside. Shortly thereafter, Hoang saw flames and smoke inside the building. Hoang waited for the other men to come back. However, upon hearing sirens drawing near, Hoang left. Dung’s body was found badly burned, and Thuong, also found in grave condition, later died of smoke inhalation. Pour patterns, as well as the gasoline cans and other evidence, established that the cause of the fire was arson, and Hoang was arrested the next day. Hoang confessed to his role in the arson. Hoang was charged with burglary, arson, and two counts of felony murder. The Kansas felony-murder statute provides, “[m]urder in the first degree is the killing of a human being committed maliciously, willfully, deliberately and with premeditation or committed in the perpetration or attempt to perpetrate any felony.” The trial judge dismissed the felony murder counts, and the state appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (McFarland, J.)

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Dissent (Lockett, J.)

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