Murder: ?The defendant purposely or knowingly kills another person.? Manslaughter: ?The defendant recklessly kills another person.?
Focusing on the required elements of the applicable statutes (actus reus, mens rea, and causation), explain (1) whether Woody is guilty of murder or manslaughter and (2) if so, which one for each of the following scenarios:
- Woody has decided to get rid of Buzz. Woody sneaks up on Buzz while he is sleeping and stabs him in the heart, killing him.
- Assume instead that unbeknownst to Woody, Potato Head had poisoned Buzz (in order to send him to infinity and beyond) and Buzz took his last breath just before Woody stabbed him.
- Assume instead that as Woody is about to stab Buzz, he has second thoughts. The stress of the moment is too much, and Woody has a heart attack. As Woody falls to the ground, his gun (which is in his holster) inadvertently goes off and kills Buzz.
- Assume instead that Woody decides to leave Buzz?s fate up to chance. He empties his six-shooter of all the bullets except one, and plays Russian roulette, spinning the barrel so he does not know whether a bullet or a blank is the next shot.
- AssumeBuzzisunlucky,andthefirsttimeWoodypullsthetrigger, Woody shoots and kills him.
- AssumeBuzzislucky,butWoodyispersistent.Thefirstfourtimes Woody pulls the trigger, he fires blanks, but the fifth time, it fires a bullet and kills Buzz. Woody does not spin the barrel after each shot, so he knows that killing Buzz is more likely each time he pulls the trigger.
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