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State v. Mitcheson

Utah Supreme Court
560 P.2d 1120 (Utah 1977)


Richard Herrera sold a 1967 Chevrolet van to Alfred Mitcheson, the father of Gary Alfred Mitcheson (defendant). Herrera had changed the original wheels and tires for “Mag Wheels” and tires. Later, a dispute arose between Herrera and the Mitchesons about whether the Mag Wheels had been included in the sale. On several occasions, Herrera and his brother demanded that the Mitchesons return the wheels and tires, but the Mitchesons refused to comply. The arguments culminated when, one early morning around 3:30 a.m., Herrera and some friends went to the house of Gary Mitcheson’s sister, Debbie, where they knew the van was in order to steal the wheels and tires back. When they entered the driveway, Debbie told Herrera and the others to leave. They refused. A considerable commotion ensued. Gary Mitcheson came to the doorway of the house and fired a shot from a rifle, striking Herrera in the neck, dying shortly thereafter. Mitcheson was charged with second-degree murder. At trial, Mitcheson requested that the court to instruct the jury that he was using the rifle as a backup resource in protection of the peace and security of his habitation and that its discharge was an accident. The trial court refused, noting that his sister's home was not his habitation. Mitcheson was convicted and he appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Crockett, J.)

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