Huling v. State, 7 Div. 392

Decision Date16 October 1956
Docket Number7 Div. 392
Citation38 Ala.App. 598,92 So.2d 47
PartiesAnnle Ray HULING v. STATE.
CourtAlabama Court of Appeals

Love & Hines, Talladega, for appellant.

John Patterson, Atty. Gen., and Robt. Straub, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State.

PRICE, Judge.

The indictment charged murder in the second degree. Appellant was convicted of said charge and sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment.

We paraphrase the testimony set out in the Attorney General's brief, which states fairly the salient facts adduced on the trial.

The evidence for the State tends to show that the deceased and appellant, his wife, visited the home of deceased's son, by a former marriage, on the morning of the day deceased was killed. The appellant stayed there all day, but the deceased left between 1:00 and 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon. There was an argument between the appellant and deceased just prior to the time deceased left. The deceased returned and there was another argument about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon. During the course of these arguments the appellant was cursing and threatened to kill deceased several different times. These threats were expressed to the deceased and to other persons present.

Jesse Burroughs, a deputy sheriff, testified that he saw the body of the deceased near the corner of deceased's house and later saw the body at the funderal home. There was about an inch wound on the left side of his chest and on the left arm. Burroughs testified that he found a twelve gauge, single barreled shotgun fifteen or twenty feet away from the body. He testified that when he got to the scene of the killing the appellant was present and was screaming and crying. She repeatedly stated that she didn't know why she did it.

The wound in the chest of the deceased was described by James A. Jordan, who helped prepare the body for burial, as being about as big as a silver dollar.

Mrs. Dussie Carter, next door neighbor and wife of appellant's brother, testified that she heard the shot and heard appellant call for Mr. Carter. Both ran to appellant's home and found her screaming and running around. Appellant stated to witness that she didn't know why she did it.

John Carter, appellant's brother, testified the deceased had gotten his shotgun prior to the killing, and identified the gun as his own.

Chester Carter testified that he was present at the scene shortly after the killing and that the appellant kept saying she didn't know why she did it. He also testified that the appellant said deceased had been beating her but that she didn't have to do it.

Testifying in her own behalf, appellant stated that on the day of the killing she and deceased went to his son's house about 10 in the morning, and that deceased began drinking as soon as he got there. It was her testimony that she had only one drink during the day. Deceased left the house about 1:00 o'clock and came back about 4:00 o'clock. When appellant asked him where he had been he told her it was none of her business. He was 'staggering drunk' at the time. She stated she tried to go home but the deceased didn't want to go. She denied the threats attributed to her by the State's witnesses. It was her testimony that the son's wife and another woman took her home, and on the way home they told her deceased had told them she had called them bad names and they appeared to be angry. She was sitting in the car talking to these women when deceased came home.

When she went into the house deceased accused her of getting ready to go out with some one that night. About that time her sister and her husband came for a few minutes' visit. After they left, deceased went to milk the cow. When he came back, he said he was going to kill her, his son's wife, and another woman.

She further testified that when she went to bed he jerked her out of bed and knocked her down. He hit her on the side of the head about the same place where he had struck her some three weeks previously, as a result of which he had taken her to a doctor. She ran into the living room where he knocked her down again and tried to choke her. She ran out the front door and he followed her and knocked her down and beat and kicked her. As she was trying to get up he went to the car and came back with a shotgun. She managed to get the gun away from him and he picked up a brick and threatened to kill her. When he drew back his arm she shot him.

Bonnie Fordham, appellant's sister, testified that when she visited appellant shortly before the killing deceased was drunk and that she had seen deceased beat appellant on several occasions.

Largus Green testified he was with deceased a while on the afternoon he was killed and that deceased was drunk. He stated that deceased had a shotgun in the car and that he had four shells. The witness said deceased told him there were four people he wanted to get rid of.

Dussie Carter, recalled for rebuttal, testified when she ran to the scene immediately after the shot she tried to get a washcloth and some water from the house and found the screen latched from the inside and that she had to pull the latch off to get in.

There was considerable evidence by the State as to the bad character of appellant, and a number of witnesses testified to appellant's good character and reputation.

Appellant urges as error the action of the trial court in permitting a funeral director or undertaker to testify to the cause of death. The State showed that the witness graduated from a college of embalming and that he had been engaged in the business of undertaking and embalming for twenty-five years. He testified he saw the body of deceased at the funeral home, was permitted to describe the wound, and was then asked this question: 'Based upon your observation and based on your experience and the training you have had in your profession I will ask you if, in your judgment, that wound caused his death?' Objection was made and overruled.

In Phillips v. State, 248 Ala. 510, 28 So.2d 542, 546, the court restated the fundamental principles that only an expert can testify to the fatality of a wound, and that an undertaker, as such, is not an expert on the question as to the cause of death of a deceased. The court said further:

'But it is not necessary that a witness be shown to be a practicing physician before he can express an opinion as to the cause of death. The rule is stated in the recent case of Hicks v. State, supra (247 Ala. 439, 25 So.2d 140), as follows: 'The nature of a wound or injury, its probable...

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4 cases
  • Liberty Nat. Life Ins. Co. v. Stringfellow
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Appeals
    • October 16, 1956
    ... ... Buford STRINGFELLOW ... 6 Div. 267 ... Court of Appeals of Alabama ... Oct. 16, 1956 ... ...
  • Thompson v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Appeals
    • August 19, 1958
    ...645. Moreover, the cause of Strong's death was not disputed, and the coroner's testimony came in without objection. See Huling v. State, 38 Ala.App. 598, 92 So.2d 47. 'Review here is limited to those matters upon which the action or ruling at the nisi prius proceeding was invoked,' Harwood,......
  • Robinson v. State, 6 Div. 110
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • December 14, 1971
    ...for truth and veracity. Bedsole v. State, 274 Ala. 603, 150 So.2d 696; Mealer v. State, 242 Ala. 682, 8 So.2d 178; Huling v. State, 38 Ala.App. 598, 92 So.2d 47. When a witness testifies to the good general character or reputation of defendant, or his good character for truth and veracity, ......
  • Huling v. State, 7 Div. 344
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • January 17, 1957
    ...of Annie Ray Huling for certiorari to the Court of Appeals to review and revise the judgment and decision of that Court in Huling v. State, 92 So.2d 47. Love & Hines, Talladega, for John Patterson, Atty. Gen., and Jas. W. Webb, Asst. Atty. Gen., opposed. STAKELY, Justice. The Court has deci......

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