Doke v. State

Decision Date18 May 1916
PartiesDOKE v. STATE.
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

Error to Circuit Court, Alachua County; J. T. Wills, Judge.

Claud Doke was convicted of manslaughter, and brings error. Affirmed.

Syllabus by the Court


In a prosecution for murder the defense of self-defense is not sustained where it appears that the defendant killed the deceased before using all reasonable means in his power and consistent with his own safety to avoid the danger and avert the necessity of taking the life of the deceased.

Evidence examined, and found sufficient to support a verdict of manslaughter.

COUNSEL W. S. Broome and D. M. Buie, both of Gainesville, for plaintiff in error.

T. F West, Atty. Gen., and C. O. Andrews, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State.



Claud Doke was convicted of manslaughter in the circuit court for Alachua county upon an indictment charging him with the murder of W. Lewis Abbott, and comes here upon writ of error complaining that the evidence is not sufficient to support the verdict.

Claud Doke was indebted to W. Lewis Abbott in the sum of $10 for the purchase of an old buggy, and was unable to pay. Abbott was persistent in his efforts to collect the debt from Doke notwithstanding the latter's repeated statements to Abbott that he was unable to pay.

About 8 or 10 months before Abbott was killed Doke suffered from an attack of typhoid fever, which confined him to his bed for about 2 1/2 months, which left him in a very weak physical condition, and a very greatly swollen leg, which made it necessary for him to use crutches for a long while after he was able to leave his room.

On the day of the difficulty in which Abbott was killed Doke had abandoned his crutches, but his leg was still swollen, and he was not in a normal state of health according to the physician who had attended him during his illness. According to the testimony of the defendant below and other witnesses the attitude of Abbott toward Doke was hostile, overbearing and insulting to the extent perhaps of intimidating the latter, who on more than one occasion avoided him.

Abbott had threatened Doke with violence if the latter failed to pay the debt within a certain time, and on the morning of the day in which the former was killed he said to O. D. Moore, a deputy sheriff, that he was going out to Doke's place and if Doke did not pay the debt, Abbott would have the $10 or 'that much hide,' and to another witness, Henry Money, a barber, he said that Doke owed him $10 and, 'I am going to have it or kill him.'

Upon the day of the fatal encounter between these two men, Abbott and Doke, the latter was moving his family and household goods from the place where he had been living, to Trenton. Two wagonloads of household goods had been taken away, and Claud Doke and Gene Doke, a cousin of the defendant, the only person it seems other than the two participants who was present and witnessed the shooting, had returned for the third load. Claud Doke had borrowed a shotgun from a neighbor, and had carried it with him on at least one of the two trips, and had returned with it in his possession when he and his cousin came for the third load. It seems that Claud Doke had said to his uncle, R. L. Horn, about a month before, that he owed Abbott $10 and was not able to pay him, and was not going to pay him; that he did not want Abbott to bother him, because if he did, somebody might get hurt, and about two weeks after this conversation Abbott said to the same witness that Doke owed Abbott for a buggy, and, 'He better pay me, or he will be sorry he didn't.' Abbott's threats, however, seem not to have been communicated to Doke, nor had the latter's words been carried to Abbott. This was the situation as well as we can ascertain from the record, when Claud Doke and his cousin Gene Doke returned to the former's house for the third load of household furniture. Abbott and two other men were sitting on the porch. There was some evidence to the effect that Abbott had his knife out 'whittling.' The other two men seem to have left before the difficulty occurred. Neither Doke nor Abbott spoke to each other. The wagon was loaded, and the two Dokes were preparing to leave. Claud Doke had the gun in his hand. Abbott arose from where he was sitting on the porch of the house, and came to where the Dokes were standing, and asked Claud Doke for a settlement of the debt. Doke replied that he had nothing 'to settle with.' Abbott asked when he would have it, and Doke replied, 'I don't know; as soon as I can collect it or get it.' Whereupon Abbott observed that he did not see why 'Claud' should be running and dodging from him; that 'it is not treating me right.' According to the witness Gene Doke:

'Claud jumped up on the shed with the gun, and he says, 'Whoever says I have been dodging and running from you tells a G----- d----- lie.' Then Abbott made for him. He run just the width of the wagon and jumped down on the ground and came around by the horses' head and run, I suppose, 20 steps to where he was shot.'

When Doke jumped upon the shed, he held the gun in his hands unbreached. When Abbott started toward Doke, the latter ran 'across the width of the wagon, and Abbott right behind him.' They passed Gene Doke near the horses' head; the gun was still unbreached. ...

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7 cases
  • Young v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • March 15, 1923
    ... ... consistent with his own safety, to avoid danger and to avert ... the necessity of taking the life of the deceased' ( ... Stafford v. State, 50 Fla. 134, 39 So. 106; ... Snelling v. State, 49 Fla. 34, 37 So. 917; Owens ... v. State, 64 Fla. 383, 60 So. 340; Doke v ... State, 71 Fla. 633, 71 So. 917), 'and provided' ... the defendant 'did not take' the life of the deceased ... 'after all real or apparent necessity for doing so had ... ceased' ( Peadon v. State, 46 Fla. 124, text ... 136, 35 So. 204, 208; King v. State, 54 Fla. 47, 44 ... So ... ...
  • Linsley v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • July 7, 1924
    ... ... State, 72 Fla. 464, 73 ... So. 362; Yates v. State, 26 Fla. 484, 7 So. 880; ... Pinder v. State, 27 Fla. 370, 8 So. 837, 26 Am. St ... Rep. 75; Landrum v. State, 79 Fla. 189, 84 So. 535; ... Danford v. State, 53 Fla. 4, 43 So. 593; Owens ... v. State, 64 Fla. 383, 60 So. 340; Doke v ... State, 71 Fla. 633, 71 So. 917 ... The ... taking of human life is neither justifiable nor excusable, ... where one fires the fatal shot or strikes the fatal blow ... after danger of death or great bodily harm to him from the ... deceased's attack has passed ... ...
  • Pell v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • April 30, 1929
    ... ... such reasonable means.' ... [97 ... Fla. 665] This charge was excepted to and assigned as error ... It nowhere contained any qualification with reference to the ... defendant's duty to retreat. The charge was correct as ... far as it went ( Doke v. State, 71 Fla. 633, 71 So ... 917), but, under the evidence in the case, showing that the ... difficulty occurred on the defendant's own premises, upon ... which the deceased had entered for a purpose not authorized ... by law, the charge on this subject should have also covered ... the ... ...
  • Redondo v. State
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • March 4, 1980
    ...Fla. 650, 665, 122 So. 110, 116 (1929); Linsley v. State, 88 Fla. 135, 101 So. 273, 275 (1924) (court syllabus no. 1); Doke v. State, 71 Fla. 633, 71 So. 917, 918 (1916) (court syllabus no. 1); Owens v. State, 64 Fla. 383, 60 So. 340 (1912) (court syllabus no. 2); King v. State, 54 Fla. 47,......
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