State v. Schrader

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, 1982.

172 W.Va. 1, 302 S.E.2d 70.

Dressler, pp. 229-231


Facts: The defendant stabbed the victim 51 times.  He claimed that he had acted in self-defense.  He was tried and convicted of first-degree murder.  He appealed on the basis that the jury instruction in regard to “premeditation” was an inaccurate statement of law in so far as it removed the alleged requirement that there must be intent to kill for some finite period of time before the act occurs.


Issue: What did the legislature mean when it used the word “premeditated” in the murder statute?


Rule: No time is too short for someone to someone to form the intent to commit murder.


Analysis: The court ruled that the jury instruction is actually a correct statement of the law as it has been construed in past cases.


Conclusion: The jury instruction was found to be correct, and the verdict was upheld.


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