Loy v. State

185 P. 796 (1919)


The deceased was a colored man, a porter at the Albany Hotel. On the day of the homicide, he came on duty at about seven o'clock in the evening and found D in the lobby of the hotel with his hand baggage, and stated that he was going to take the 11:15 p. m. train for Casper. Deceased informed him that he could not get on the sleeper until 10 o'clock, to which he replied: 'I don't want a nigger to tell me anything.' Later that night D was in the cafe adjoining the lobby talking to one Christy, the cook, and asked for his coat, which he claimed to have left in a rack in the lobby. Christy found the coat in the cloak-room, and he or the deceased took the coat to D in the lobby, when the deceased told him that he (deceased) had put it in the cloak-room, whereupon D accused him of trying to steal it. D stated that the deceased then said to him, 'I don't want your coat, and for that, you s--- of a b---, I'll knock you on your ass.' I said, 'I don't think you will,' and he said, 'Follow me and I'll show you.' The deceased then went into the saloon adjoining the lobby or cafe. A short time thereafter, probably eight or ten minutes, the deceased returned to the lobby and took his seat in the rear of the lobby. D went to the desk and he said he was angry and was telling the clerk how nicely he had been treated up to that time. The clerk rung a bell calling the deceased to the desk. When he came within a few feet of D, D testified that the deceased said: 'I'll get you this time.' 'I stepped back a step or two and said: 'Don't come up here', and he kept on coming, and put his right hand in his hip pocket, and before he could get his hand out I shot him. When he put his hand in his pocket I said, 'men have been shot for less than that'.' The policeman who arrested D in the hotel lobby a few minutes after the shooting testified that he asked him why he shot the deceased. 'He told me he had given him some of his guff and he wasn't in the habit of taking that off a nigger.' It appears the deceased was not armed. The dying statement of the deceased was introduced in evidence in which he stated that when the clerk called him and he approached the counter where D was standing, D 'was still beefing about being as good a man as I was. He said he had killed a better nigger than I was. Then and there pulled his revolver and shot me. * * * Before he shot me I had not made any threats toward him or endeavored in any way to harm him.' Whether the shooting was premeditated on account of what had previously occurred between the parties or was the result of an assault by the deceased immediately before the shot was fired was a question for the jury. The several statements of D almost immediately after the shooting all tend to show that it was the former. The jury was instructed, 'The word 'premeditated' as used in the information and in the statute means to think beforehand. It implies an interval, however brief, between the formation of the intent or design and the commission of the act. To find the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree, you must find from the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that he killed the deceased purposely and with premeditated malice as herein defined; but it is not necessary that such premeditation should have existed in the mind of the defendant for any particular length of time before the killing; it is sufficient if he has deliberately formed in his mind a determination to kill and has thought over it before the shot was fired--if you find that he did fire the fatal shot, and fired the shot in pursuance of such deliberate purpose and design. It is the fixed, deliberate, premeditated intention to kill which characterizes the crime of murder in the first degree, and the premeditated malice mentioned in the information need only be such deliberation and thought as enables a person to appreciate and understand at the time the act is committed the nature of the act and its probable results.' D was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.