State v. Wykle

In State v. Wykle, 208 W. Va. 369, 540 S.E.2d 586 (2000) the defendant was convicted of unlawful assault. The facts in that case revealed that the victim was the initial aggressor. During an argument with the defendant, the victim slapped the defendant on the head. The defendant retaliated by stabbing the victim nine times. After the jury convicted him, he argued on appeal that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not act in self-defense. The Court rejected the argument: "We believe the use of a deadly weapon under the circumstances to be unjustified. Nothing in the record indicated the victim possessed a deadly weapon, or that the defendant was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm. The victim confronted the defendant with nothing more than his bare hands. Both men were relatively the same size in height and weight. While our cases would support the reasonable use of the defendant's bare hands to repel any further attack by the victim, we believe the jury properly found that the use of a knife to stab the victim nine times was excessive in relation to any reasonably perceived danger." (Wykle, 208 W. Va. at 374, 540 S.E.2d at 591.)