Eagan v. State

In Eagan v. State, 58 Wyo. 167, 128 P.2d 215, 226 (1942), the appellant was charged with first-degree murder for killing his wife by shooting her in the neck with a pistol. He claimed that the gun discharged accidentally, and there was evidence that the weapon was defective. On the basis of the above-stated rule, the Court set aside Eagan's second-degree murder conviction, but sustained a judgment for the lesser included offense of manslaughter based on criminal carelessness. Id. at 230. Justice Blume examined evidence of malice and made a similar conclusion that the evidence was lacking. In the conclusion, he expressed well the sentiments we feel at coming to our conclusion, and we believe it bears repeating: After a most painstaking examination of the record before us, and consideration of the questions involved herein, we have, regrettable as the terrible tragedy was, and hesitant as we are to interfere with the verdict of the jury, come to the conclusion under the rules of law heretofore mentioned and the facts, that the defendant was clearly guilty of criminal carelessness, or, at least, that there was ample evidence for the jury to so find. There is, however, such serious doubt as to the defendant's guilt of a greater crime, that the jury should have resolved that doubt in his favor; that, accordingly, the verdict of the jury should be set aside as to murder in the second degree. (Id., 58 Wyo. at 210, 128 P.2d at 230.)