State v. McDonald

In State v. McDonald, 138 Wn.2d 680, 981 P.2d 443 (1999), multiple shots were fired at the victim. The trial court gave an instruction that enabled the jury to find "'either that McDonald's gunshot was one of multiple proximate causes of Michael's death or that McDonald acted as an accomplice to Bassett, whose gunshots were a proximate cause of Michael's death.'" Id. at 686 (quoting State v. McDonald, 90 Wn. App. 604, 610, 953 P.2d 470 (1998)). Thus, the question for the jury to decide in McDonald was whether the defendant acted as a principal or as an accomplice. Each alternative was a legally viable alternative basis for conviction because "we have made clear the emptiness of any distinction between principal and accomplice liability." 138 Wn.2d at 688.