David Francis Trinkle (defendant) shot into a tavern door after he was ejected from the tavern for drunkenness. One of Trinkle's bullets wounded a patron standing inside the tavern door. The State of Illinois (plaintiff) prosecuted Trinkle for attempted murder. The indictment charged that Trinkle committed the crime by firing his gun, knowing that this exposed persons inside the tavern to a strong probability of death or great bodily harm. The trial judge instructed the jury that attempted murder consists of intentionally taking a substantial step toward committing murder, and that murder consists of killing a person while performing acts that the person knows create a strong possibility of death or great bodily harm to the victim or others. The jury convicted Trinkle, and he appealed. An appellate court reversed the conviction, since specific intent is an indispensable element of the crime of attempted murder, and thus both the indictment and jury instruction were fatally flawed. The state appealed to the Supreme Court of Illinois.