Drew v. State

In Drew v. State, 76 S.W.3d 436, 457 (Tex. App.-Houston 14th Dist. 2005, pet. ref'd), the defendant was charged with capital murder but convicted of felony murder. Drew, 76 S.W.3d at 444. On appeal, Drew claimed the trial judge erred in failing to instruct the jury that all its members had to unanimously agree on which of the underlying felony offenses Drew had committed during the course of murder. Drew, 76 S.W.3d at 455-56. On appeal, the court of appeals rejected his claim. Drew, 76 S.W.3d at 457. In concluding the jury was not required to unanimously agree on whether Drew killed his victim in the course of committing a kidnapping or aggravated sexual assault, the court stated: When there is more than one way to commit an offense, there is no general requirement that the jury agree on the means of committing that offense: As the plurality observes, it has long been the general rule that when a single crime can be committed in various ways, jurors need not agree upon the mode of commission. That rule is not only constitutional, it is probably indispensable in a system that requires a unanimous jury verdict to convict. When a woman's charred body has been found in a burned house, and there is ample evidence that the defendant set out to kill her, it would be absurd to set him free because six jurors believe he strangled her to death (and caused the fire accidentally in his hasty escape), while six others believe he left her unconscious and set the fire to kill her. (Drew, 76 S.W.3d at 457.)