State v. Burgess

In State v. Burgess, 205 W. Va. 87, 516 S.E.2d 491 (1999), a case relied upon by the Appellant but rejected by the State as irrelevant to the crime of injury to timber, the Court again explained that malice is not an effortlessly defined term. Id. at 89, 516 S.E.2d at 493. The question facing the Court in Burgess was whether the defendant's killing of an animal was malicious. This Court consulted Black's Law Dictionary 956 (6th ed. 1990) and utilized the following definition of malice: "The intentional doing of a wrongful act without just cause or excuse, with an intent to inflict an injury or under circumstances that the law will imply an evil intent. . . . A condition of the mind showing a heart regardless of social duty and fatally bent on mischief." 205 W. Va. at 89, 516 S.E.2d at 493. The Court also noted the following definition of "malicious" as "characterized by, or involving, malice; having, or done with, wicked, evil or mischievous intentions or motives; wrongful and done intentionally without just cause or excuse or as a result of ill will." 205 W. Va. at 89, 516 S.E.2d at 493.