Jury convicts suspect in highway patrolman’s death – even though the suspect was forty miles away.

From KSDK 5 in St. Louis [photo credit: Ibid]: Jury Convicts Suspect In Highway Patrolman’s Death [emphasis mine]:

Missouri Highway Patrol Trooper Ralph Tatoian If it hadn’t been for Massigh Stallman, Missouri Highway Patrol Trooper Ralph Tatoian would still be alive, and Stallman is responsible for his death, a jury has ruled.

In April of 2005, Trooper Tatoian was driving on Interstate 44 to the scene were police were looking for Stallman, a wooded area in Gasconade County. As he drove with his lights and siren on, he came over a hill near Pacific, and slammed into a tractor trailer. Trooper Tatoian was killed.

Meanwhile, more than 40 miles away in Gasconade County, police from several agencies continued the manhunt for Stallman. They eventually found him and arrested him.

The manhunt began after Stallman held up a convenience store, robbed a woman, and shot a Gasconade Sheriff’s Deputy. The deputy survived the shooting, and Stallman led police on a chase that ended along Highway 50, where Stallman ran into the woods. The jury also convicted Stallman of charges related to those crimes.

Stallman’s attorneys planned to appeal the conviction for second degree murder in Trooper Tatoian’s death, saying he should not be held responsible for the crash.

Stallman, 28, is from High Ridge. He now awaits sentencing, which could include life in prison.

As much as I would like to see this POS in prison for the less of his life, this is absurd. What next? Charging someone with that was pulled over with second degree murder if an officer is killer by another vehicle during a traffic stop?

For those unfamiliar with the definition of second degree murder, from Black’s Law Dictionary (Third Pocket Edition):

murder, n. The killing of a human being with malice aforethought.

second-degree murder. Murder that is not aggravated by any of the circumstances of first-degree murder.

Malice aforethought, you may ask?:

malice aforethought. The requisite mental state for common-law murder, encompassing any one of the following: (1) the intent to kill, (2) the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, (3) extremely reckless indifference to the value of human life (the so-called “abandoned and malignant heart”), or (4) the intent to commit a dangerous felony (which leads to culpability under the felony-murder rule).

(1) and (2) do not apply. Also, depraved-heart murder (3) should be noted:

depraved-heart murder. A murder resulting from an act so reckless and careless of the safety of others that it demonstrates the perpetrator’s complete lack of regard for human life.

An example of depraved-heart murder would be the firing of a rifle into an occupied building (doesn’t apply here).

For those wondering about felony-murder (4), depending on the definition of the statue in Missouri, it would still require proximate cause [emphasis mine]:

proximate cause. 2. A cause that directly produces an event and without which the event would not have occurred.

An accident forty (40) miles away from the suspect is not directly produced by the person.

Prediction: overturned on appear.

Hat tip: Overlawyered

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