20 S.W. 299 (Mo. 1892), State v. Renfrow

Citation:20 S.W. 299, 111 Mo. 589
Opinion Judge:Macfarlane, J.
Party Name:The State v. Renfrow, Appellant
Attorney:James Orchard and L. O. Nieder for appellant. John M. Wood, Attorney General, for the State.
Case Date:October 10, 1892
Court:Supreme Court of Missouri

Page 299

20 S.W. 299 (Mo. 1892)

111 Mo. 589

The State


Renfrow, Appellant

Supreme Court of Missouri, Second Division

October 10, 1892

Appeal from Greene Criminal Court. -- Hon. M. Oliver, Judge.


James Orchard and L. O. Nieder for appellant.

(1) The defendant should have been arraigned in the circuit court of Texas county. (2) The statute nowhere makes the constable a peace officer, and he is not authorized to arrest without warrant, except in case of felony. The court erred in giving instruction, numbered 12, for the state. (3) Instruction, numbered 14, for the state is also erroneous. (4) The court erred in refusing instructions asked by defendant. (5) The court should give instructions defining manslaughter where the evidence of the defendant goes to show manslaughter, although all other testimony goes to establish a different offense. State v. Branstetter, 65 Mo. 149; State v. Johnson, 76 Mo. 127; State v. Dunn, 80 Mo. 689; State v. Wilson, 98 Mo. 440.

John M. Wood, Attorney General, for the State.

(1) Instruction, numbered 10, given on the part of the state, was proper and clearly declared the law. There was not a particle of evidence in the case which, viewed from any reasonable standpoint, would have justified the court in instructing as to manslaughter in any degree. Under the evidence it was a case of murder or the act was done in self-defense. State v. Edwards, 71 Mo. 312; State v. Ellis, 74 Mo. 207; State v. Anderson, 86 Mo. 309; State v. Green, 66 Mo. 631; State v. Weiners, 66 Mo. 11; State v. Hill, 69 Mo. 451; 2 Bishop on Criminal Law, secs. 688, 689. (2) There was no provocation in this case which would reduce the killing from murder to manslaughter in either of its degrees. See cases cited above. (3) Constables have authority without a warrant to arrest those whom they see engaged in an affray or breach of the peace or otherwise violating the law; and, in the giving and refusing of the instructions by the court relative to this feature of the case, no error was committed. State v. Holcomb, 86 Mo. 371; State v. Green, 66 Mo. 649; 2 Bishop on Criminal Law, secs. 652, 655; 1 Bishop on Criminal Procedure, sec. 181, et seq. Besides, it appeared in the evidence that the justice, who was present, ordered defendant's arrest, which he was fully authorized to do under the circumstances. Revised Statutes, sec. 4014; 1 Bishop on Criminal Procedure, sec. 178. (4) Instruction, numbered 14, as here given, relative to the credibility of defendant's testimony was approved by this court in the case of State v. Young, 99 Mo. 666.


Page 300

[111 Mo. 592] Macfarlane, J.

Defendant was indicted in the circuit court of Texas county for the murder of Charles D. Dorris. On his application a change of venue was awarded to the criminal court of Greene county, in which he was tried, found guilty of murder in the first degree, and sentenced accordingly. From this judgment he appeals to this court.

The evidence on the part of the state shows, in substance, that on the eighteenth day of July, 1888, in the town of Summerville, Texas county, Missouri, about six o'clock in the afternoon, a difficulty and fight occurred between Billy Renfrow, a brother of defendant, and a man named Hughes. Deceased, who was then constable of the township, with one McCaskell, separated the parties, and was standing with his hand on the arm of Billy Renfrow. A crowd of fifteen or twenty persons had collected around these parties, when defendant was observed by P. P. Baskett, justice of the peace of the township, approaching the crowd with a pistol in his hand down by his side. The justice went towards deceased and called out, "Arrest that fellow with a revolver!" Some say he called to deceased to arrest him, others, that he called to some one to arrest the man with the pistol. Defendant then put his hand, in which he held the pistol, under his coat, and started through the crowd, deceased following him. They both passed the crowd and were about thirty feet apart, when deceased, walking after defendant, beckoned and called to him, saying, "Hold on, [111 Mo. 593] Peter, hold on," at which defendant turned partly around...

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