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State v. Saunders

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
330 S.E.2d 674 (1985)


Facts

In a rough area of Beckley, West Virginia, known as “The Hill,” Robert Saunders (defendant) and his brother, James, got into an altercation with Phillip Kincannon and his brother, Brian, at a club called Nite Flite. James was attacked by both Kincannon brothers and overwhelmed. As the Kincannons held James on the ground and threatened to kill him, Robert ran to the car of Ronnie Campbell and obtained a handgun. Saunders took the gun and fired a shot over the heads of the Kincannon brothers. He then lowered the gun, aimed at Phillip Kincannon’s leg and fired. Saunders did not realize he had hit Phillip in the buttocks. Saunders dropped the gun and ran. Phillip Kincannon subsequently bled to death. Saunders was charged with first-degree murder. At trial, the court refused to instruct the jury that Robert fired the gun in the defense of his brother. Saunders was convicted and he appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Neely, C.J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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