State v. Bennett

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtDEEMER
Citation143 Iowa 214,121 N.W. 1021
PartiesSTATE v. BENNETT.
Decision Date30 June 1909

143 Iowa 214
121 N.W. 1021

STATE
v.
BENNETT.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

June 30, 1909.


Appeal from District Court, Scott County; D. V. Jackson, Judge.

Defendant was indicted for the crime of murder. Upon trial to a jury she was convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to the penitentiary for life. She appeals. Affirmed.

[121 N.W. 1022]

W. G. Mott, for appellant.

H. W. Byers, Atty. Gen., and Chas. W. Lyon, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State.


DEEMER, J.

Early in the morning of July 12, 1908, the body of Mary Mason, wife of Charles Mason, was found in the doorway of a coal shed which was to the rear of the Mason home. Upon the head of Mrs. Mason there was a bruise and a cut from which considerable blood had flowed. The body was found as a result of a search instituted when it was discovered that she was not at home as usual. Mrs. Mason was alive when discovered, but unconscious, and she never regained consciousness; her death resulting on the 13th of July. The house in which the Masons lived is what was called a “four–family one”; but two families occupied it. The Mason family, consisting of four members, lived on one side, and defendant and one Crutchfield lived on the other. It appears that defendant and the deceased had some trouble on the evening of the 11th of July Charles Mason, a son of the deceased, on learning of this, spoke to the deceased about it, and she said, “Don't speak to that black minx.” Defendant, when spoken to about it, cursed the deceased and called her vile names and said “she would get some one” that night. To another witness defendant declared that “I will kill me a bitch before I go to bed to–night,” and to another she declared practically the same thing. The bruise and cut upon the head of the deceased were caused by the use of an axe, and an axe with blood stains upon it was found on the morning of the 12th of July standing by the south door of defendant's house. It also appears that defendant made a confession to two Davenport policemen, in which she stated: That she struck the deceased with an axe while she (deceased) was sitting in a chair leaning forward and while she was either asleep or drunk; that she fell out of the chair; and that she (defendant) then dragged Mrs. Mason around the house to the coal shed, and either pulled her in upon the coal or left her upon the outside of the shed, the testimony being in a little confusion upon this last proposition. The defendant also stated that she had made up her mind at about 5 o'clock on the evening of July 11th to kill the deceased. There is also testimony that the deceased came to her death as a result of the wound inflicted upon her.

From this brief recitation of the facts, it is manifest that the verdict has ample support in the testimony, and that, unless some error was committed by the trial court, the judgment should stand. For appellant it is contended that the court was in error in its rulings on the admission and rejection of testimony and in submitting murder in the first degree. Attempt was made to show that defendant was insane and so addicted to the use of alcohol and other drugs that she was incapable of forming a specific intent to kill and unable to form any criminal intent. Testimony in support of these claims was adduced, and defendant produced two doctors, to whom hypothetical questions were propounded regarding defendant's sanity, and, after stating that under the assumed facts defendant would be abnormal, very nervous, and temporarily insane, they were asked if she would be irresponsible or responsible mentally for her acts. Objections to these questions were...

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9 practice notes
  • State v. Johnson, No. 47455.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 16, 1949
    ...with the usual instruction. In the cases where the burden of proof is mentioned, it has been placed upon the State. State v. Bennett, 143 Iowa 214, 121 N.W. 1021;State v. Bittner, 209 Iowa 109, 227 N.W. 601;State v. Johnson, 210 Iowa 167, 230 N.W. 513;State v. Boston, 233 Iowa 1249, 11 N.W.......
  • State v. Hofer, No. 46993.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • July 29, 1947
    ...of law. State v. Heinz, 223 Iowa 1241, 275 N.W. 10, 114 A.L.R. 959;State v. Townsend, 191 Iowa 362, 366, 182 N.W. 392;State v. Bennett, 143 Iowa 214, 220, 121 N.W. 1021, and cases cited. That exhibits 4 and 5 were given when defendant was a prisoner does not render them inadmissible. State ......
  • State v. Baker, No. 48355
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 21, 1954
    ...221, 85 A.2d 919, 921--'* * * 'a deliberate and voluntary confession, understandingly made, is the best evidence''. In State v. Bennett, 143 Iowa 214, 218, 121 N.W. 1021, 1023, this court passed on an instruction, which stated: 'Evidence of a confession should be examined by you with care, ......
  • State v. Crisman, No. 48144
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 10, 1953
    ...merely a conflict in the evidence, and the question whether the confession was free and voluntary was for the jury. State v. Bennett, 143 Iowa 214, 219, 220, 121 N.W. 1021; State v. Harding, 204 Iowa 1135, 1144, 1145, 216 N.W. 642; State v. Storms, supra, 113 Iowa 385, 85 N.W. The trial cou......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • State v. Johnson, No. 47455.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 16, 1949
    ...with the usual instruction. In the cases where the burden of proof is mentioned, it has been placed upon the State. State v. Bennett, 143 Iowa 214, 121 N.W. 1021;State v. Bittner, 209 Iowa 109, 227 N.W. 601;State v. Johnson, 210 Iowa 167, 230 N.W. 513;State v. Boston, 233 Iowa 1249, 11 N.W.......
  • State v. Hofer, No. 46993.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • July 29, 1947
    ...of law. State v. Heinz, 223 Iowa 1241, 275 N.W. 10, 114 A.L.R. 959;State v. Townsend, 191 Iowa 362, 366, 182 N.W. 392;State v. Bennett, 143 Iowa 214, 220, 121 N.W. 1021, and cases cited. That exhibits 4 and 5 were given when defendant was a prisoner does not render them inadmissible. State ......
  • State v. Baker, No. 48355
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 21, 1954
    ...221, 85 A.2d 919, 921--'* * * 'a deliberate and voluntary confession, understandingly made, is the best evidence''. In State v. Bennett, 143 Iowa 214, 218, 121 N.W. 1021, 1023, this court passed on an instruction, which stated: 'Evidence of a confession should be examined by you with care, ......
  • State v. Crisman, No. 48144
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 10, 1953
    ...merely a conflict in the evidence, and the question whether the confession was free and voluntary was for the jury. State v. Bennett, 143 Iowa 214, 219, 220, 121 N.W. 1021; State v. Harding, 204 Iowa 1135, 1144, 1145, 216 N.W. 642; State v. Storms, supra, 113 Iowa 385, 85 N.W. The trial cou......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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