State v. Burd

In State v. Burd, 187 W. Va. 415, 419 S.E.2d 676 (WVa 1991), the court ruled that evidence that the defendant solicited the murder of her boyfriend's wife and child, hired the killer, gave him money for a weapon and an advance on the murder contract, drew a map of the residence of the planned victims, and instructed the killer on how to shoot the victims, supported her conviction for attempted murder. What is curious about Burd is that at the time of that decision the State of West Virginia had a definition of attempt similar to our own. Id. at 679. Nonetheless, the Court seems to have adopted the Model Penal Code "substantial step" analysis from Kilgus to conclude that hiring the feigned assassin was a "substantial act" toward commission of the crime of attempted murder. Id. at 680. In support of its position, the Court cited several other murder for hire cases decided under the Model Penal Code definition of attempt.