People v. Hansen

Decision Date03 December 1962
Docket NumberNo. 81,81
Citation368 Mich. 344,118 N.W.2d 422
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. Robert George HANSEN, Defendant and Appellant.
CourtMichigan Supreme Court

Leo W. Hoffman and Frederick D. McDonald, Allegan, for respondent and appellant.

Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Eugene Krasicky, Sol. Gen., Lansing, Harry J. Knudsen, Pros. Atty., for the County of Muskegon, Muskegon, for the People.

Before the Entire Bench, except ADAMS, J.

KAVANAGH, Justice.

Defendant was charged with first degree murder of one Mitchell Stanley Wozny. The jury found defendant guilty of murder in the second degree. He was sentenced for a period of not exceeding 25 years and not less than 14 years.

Defendant is here on leave granted by this Court, alleging 10 errors, only the first 2 of which we will discuss. These are:

1) Should the court have directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty of murder?

2) Was the verdict of the jury finding defendant guilty of murder in the second degree against the great weight of the evidence?

Defendant was working late in the darkroom of his combination home and photography studio in Muskegon, Michigan. He had been expecting a friend to call. At about 1:30 o'clock in the morning of January 4, 1958, he heard the door buzzer. He opened the outside door and was surprised to see a stranger. Without being invited, the stranger stepped into the house. Defendant offered to shake hands with him, but the intruder kept his right hand in his pocket. Defendant stated, 'This is a bad time of the night to make appointments, I don't recognize you.' The deceased responded that he was not surprised since defendant didn't know him. Deceased informed defendant he had 2 men out in the car waiting for him; that they were there to take defendant to New York and set him up in a photography business, and they were going to take him whether he wanted to go or not. Deceased then informed defendant that he had a point he wanted to clear up with defendant's wife, and asked where she was. Defendant said his wife was sleeping in her bedroom upstairs. The intruder sat down at defendant's desk and, with his left hand fumbled with some papers, keeping his right hand in his pocket; he told defendant the chamber of commerce had suggested he contact defendant. Defendant asked him if he knew his wife. The intruder replied he didn't know her, but that he knew her brother who lived in Pentwater and that they were also going to see him. He then said, 'Well, let's go get your wife.'

Defendant tried to put the deceased off; he tried to ring his wife on an upstairs phone, but the phone didn't ring. He then told deceased he wanted a drink of water and went into the bathroom, intending to get his gun, but the deceased followed him into the bathroom, refused a drink of water and again insisted on seeing defendant's wife. Defendant then went back to his desk and again tried to call his wife on the phone. The deceased put his hand over that of defendant and said, 'Let's cut out the foolishness, I want to go upstairs and see your wife right now, are we going upstairs or not.' He grabbed defendant by the jacket and led him toward the front door. Defendant questioned the deceased about the 2 men in the car, as to whether they were going to get cold out there. The deceased said, 'Yes, they are going to get cold and they are going to get impatient and they are going to come in here too, let's hurry this thing up.' Deceased grabbed hold of defendant's arm and they proceeded upstairs. Defendant testified he was frightened and scared, but thought if he could get upstairs and warn his wife she might be able to help him.

On arriving at his wife's bedroom, defendant took his billfold containing $260 and shoved it under the mattress and then awakened his wife. He told her there were 3 men who insisted on seeing her. She asked who they were. The deceased, who was then standing behind defendant, said 'That's right Mrs. Hansen, we do want to see you, I especially want to see you.' He asked her if it was all right if they took her husband to New York to set up a studio. Deceased then said, 'Turn on the light.' But instead of turning the light on, defendant ran downstairs, grabbed the phone, and called the police, saying '1783 Sanford quick.' On the way downstairs he had heard his wife scream, so he got his gun, loaded it, and ran back to the front of the house. He heard the intruder come running down the steps. He grabbed the phone again and said, 'Hurry or I will fill them all full of lead.' Defendant saw the intruder open the outside door and go down the steps. He ran to the door of the front porch and shouted, 'Halt, or I will fire.'

Defendant testified the intruder had his hand by his side; that he was afraid he would get to a safe place; and that he was apprehensive about the other 2 men. He wanted to stop the intruder, so he shot at the man's legs several times. As a result of the phone call to the police, police cruisers arrived and converged on the area, and after a short time the intruder was found lying at the back door of a neighbor's house a short distance away. He had been shot in both legs and once in the upper back, the bullet passing through the body to a point just beneath the skin of the chest.

Officer Robert Rositch testified that he and officer Inglat were sent to Laketon and Sanford; that the dispatcher told them 'to go to 1783 Sanford,' that there was trouble with drunks. He said, 'You better hurry up, there was some shooting there.' Officer Rositch testified they went to 1783 Sanford and saw a man standing on the sidewalk yelling, and that officer Inglat asked him what the trouble was and he said he just shot the man who broke into his house.

Defendant was taken to the police station where he made a statement of what happened. During the time the statement was being made, Wozny died of a hemorrhage from the bullet path through the right lung.

It is to be noted that without having an opportunity to discuss the matter with her husband, Mrs. Hansen, later the same morning, gave a statement substantiating his story.

There was no evidence the deceased and defendant had ever met. The defendant so testified. The nearest to any relationship between the 2 men was testimony by the sister of deceased that defendant told her during the trial, that Wozny had phoned him some months before to have her father's picture taken at the time of her father's funeral.

Mrs. Findley (a girl friend of the deceased) testified that she heard a knock on her door and when she went to the door she saw Wozny leaning against the storm door and he said, 'I've been shot.' He then fell over in the snow. A police car came up together with defendant, and she heard defendant say, 'I'm sorry I shot you fellow, but it's a good thing I shot you in the legs.'

Police officers testified they heard defendant say, 'I'm sorry I shot you, it's a good thing I shot low.'

Another police officer testified defendant said, 'I'm sorry, fella, but I told you not to run,' and 'You weren't causing much trouble, but you were a nuisance, and it's lucky I'm a good shot, I shot low.'

The record discloses the man was shot in both legs and once through the back and into the chest; this was apparently the fatal shot.

Defendant claims prejudicial error was committed because the jury was instructed that it could render 4 verdicts ranting from murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, manslaughter, or not guilty, where there was no evidence of murder in the first or second degree. It is claimed there was no evidence of malice, deliberation or premeditation sufficient...

To continue reading

Request your trial
45 cases
  • People v. Dykhouse
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • March 2, 1984
    ...(1976). In addition, the intent to kill in first-degree premeditated murder must be deliberate and premeditated. People v. Hansen, 368 Mich. 344, 351, 118 N.W.2d 422 (1962). In Milton, supra, 81 Mich.App. p. 518, 282 N.W.2d 926, the defendant's conviction of first-degree premeditated murder......
  • People v. Aaron
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • December 22, 1980
    ...of the likelihood that the natural tendency of a person's behavior is to cause death or great bodily harm. In People v. Hansen, 368 Mich. 344, 350, 118 N.W.2d 422 (1962), this Court said that "(m)alice requires an intent to cause the very harm that results or some harm of the same general n......
  • Friday v. Pitcher
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Michigan
    • March 21, 2002
    ...(1976). In addition, the intent to kill in first-degree premeditated murder must be deliberate and premeditated. People v. Hansen, 368 Mich. 344, 351, 118 N.W.2d 422 (1962). People v. Dykhouse, 418 Mich. 488, 495, 345 N.W.2d 150, 151 (1984).12 In the present case overwhelming evidence showe......
  • People v. Morrin
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • March 16, 1971
    ...(1962), 366 Mich. 498, 115 N.W.2d 309 (prostitute killed an attacker who assaulted her without warning); People v. Hansen (1962), 368 Mich. 344, 352, 118 N.W.2d 422, 426 (man shot an intruder whom he thought was menacing his family; 'He did not have time to stop and think calmly as to the p......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT