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State v. Joseph

590 S.E.2d 718 (2003)

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State v. Joseph

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

590 S.E.2d 718 (2003)

Facts

Mr. Robert Joseph (defendant) spent the evening socializing in his home with Ms. Martin and Mr. Lucas. Ms. Martin rejected Mr. Joseph’s advances and began flirting with Mr. Lucas. Mr. Joseph eventually became incensed by the rejection and ordered the two to leave. Mr. Joseph testified that he thereafter became concerned about Ms. Martin and set out in his truck to look for her. Mr. Joseph’s search led him to the home of Mr. Light, who first denied that he knew of Ms. Martin’s whereabouts but then admitted that he had driven Ms. Martin and Mr. Lucas to the mouth of the hollow. Enraged, Mr. Joseph returned to his truck and spun his tires in front of Mr. Light’s home. Mr. Light yelled at him to stop, walked over to Mr. Joseph’s truck, pulled the driver’s door open, and slapped Mr. Joseph’s head as the two men argued. Mr. Joseph testified that, upon being slapped, he saw a blue flash, and his hand landed on a gun sitting on the seat of his truck. Mr. Joseph grabbed the gun and fatally shot Mr. Light. Long before this incident occurred, Mr. Joseph was involved in a serious motorcycle accident in which he sustained injuries to his left frontal skull. Mr. Joseph was charged with first-degree murder in connection with Mr. Light’s death and sought to assert the defense of diminished capacity stemming from the brain injuries he sustained in his motorcycle accident. Mr. Joseph presented three doctors who testified in support of this defense, but the circuit court held their testimonies were insufficient to support its invocation and thereby excluded the testimonies from evidence. Mr. Joseph was convicted of first-degree murder and appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Davis, J.)

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