Mayes v. The People

106 Ill. 306, 46 Am.Rep. 698 (1883)


The deceased was the wife of D and came to her death by burning, resulting from P throwing a beer glass against a lighted oil lamp which she was carrying, and thereby breaking the lamp and scattering the burning oil over her person. D came into the room where his wife, his mother-in-law and his young daughter were seated around a table engaged in domestic labors. He was intoxicated but not to the degree of unconsciousness. The wife directed the daughter to procure water for him with which to wash his face, which being done, he washed his face, and he then directed the daughter to procure him a clean beer glass, which she did. He filled the glass with the beer and handed it to the deceased. She took a sip of it and then offered it to her mother, who declined tasting it. After supper D asked for arsenic. With no reply coming he commenced cursing and concluded by saying that he would either kill deceased or she should kill him. D then picked up a tin quart measure and threw it at the daughter. The deceased started, with an oil lamp in her hand, toward a bedroom door, directing the daughter to go to bed. D picked up the beer glass, which is described as being a large beer glass, with a handle on one side, and threw it with violence at the deceased. It struck the lamp in her hand and broke it, scattering the burning oil over her person and igniting her clothes. D made no effort to extinguish the flames but seems to have caught hold of the deceased, temporarily, by her arms. She died of the wounds caused by this burning. D was convicted of murder. D appealed, claiming that the jury instructions were wrong. The instructions were that an act done with an abandoned and malignant heart causing death to occur may be murder, even if death was not intended.