Whitney v. State

396 S.W.3d 696 (2013)

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Whitney v. State

Texas Court of Appeals
396 S.W.3d 696 (2013)

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Facts

Tyra Ann Whitney (defendant) killed her daughter Tashira’s boyfriend. Tashira and her boyfriend fought frequently and sometimes violently. One day, Tashira called Whitney after a fight with her boyfriend, and Whitney drove over to Tashira’s apartment. Whitney walked through the unlocked front door to the apartment carrying a hammer and found Tashira’s boyfriend gathering his belongings from the bedroom. They began arguing. Tashira closed the bedroom door between her boyfriend and mother, temporarily cutting off the fight. Her boyfriend reopened the door and approached Whitney, who threw a cup of bleach-water in his face. He fell to the ground, and Whitney hit him on the head with her hammer. He died from his injuries. Whitney was convicted of murder and appealed, arguing that the trial court erred by including a jury instruction addressing a penal-code provision regarding the duty to retreat. The court told the jury that a defendant is not required to retreat before using force in self-defense if she had a right to be present, did not provoke the person against whom force was used, and was not engaged in criminal activity herself at the time. Whitney argued that the instruction implied that there was a duty to retreat in Texas, which she claimed did not exist under any circumstances.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gabriel, J.)

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