State v. Bundy

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtMCGOWAN.
Citation24 S.C. 439
PartiesSTATE v. BUNDY.
Decision Date23 March 1886

24 S.C. 439

STATE
v.
BUNDY.

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

Mar. 23, 1886.


1. In order to make out the defence of insanity to the charge of murder, there must be sufficient proof to overcome by the preponderance of evidence, the presumption of sanity and any other proof by the State upon this issue, so as to show a want of sanity with reasonable certainty; this degree of evidence on the part of the defendant satisfies the requirement that the State must establish every element of the crime charged “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

2. The evidence in this case does not prove that the defendant was in a state of temporary intoxication when he committed the crime; but if it did, this would not be a defence, as voluntary drunkenness of whatever degree is no excuse for crime committed under its influence.

3. The difficulty is great, if not insuperable, of establishing by satisfactory proof whether an impulse was or was not uncontrollable. But there was nothing in this case requiring the Circuit Judge to enter upon this subject.

4. The Circuit Judge correctly charged the jury as follows: “In order to relieve himself from responsibility for a criminal act by reason of mental unsoundness, the prisoner must show that he was under a mental delusion by reason of mental disease and that at the time of the act he did not know that the act he committed was wrong, or criminal, or punishable, either the one or the other. Because, notwithstanding his mind may be diseased, if he is still capable of forming a correct judgment as to the nature of the act as to its being morally or legally wrong, he is still responsible for his act and punishable as if no mental disease existed at all.”


Before WALLACE, J., Spartanburg, June, 1885.

[24 S.C. 440]

The opinion fully states the case.

Mr. Stanyarne Wilson, for appellant.

Mr. Solicitor Duncan, contra.


The opinion of the court was delivered by

MR. JUSTICE MCGOWAN.

The defendant, Edward Bundy, was indicted for the murder of Annie Heckman, at Spartanburg, on March 5, 1885. The facts do not appear in the brief, but we infer from the charge of the judge, which is reported in full, and from the exceptions, that no question was made as to the fact of killing, and that the only defence was that the defendant, when he committed the act, was non compos mentis and not criminally responsible. It is stated that there was evidence that the defendant had some liquor on the evening of the homicide, which occurred about half-past 8 o'clock at night, but there was no evidence whatever of any previous habit of gross intemperance of the defendant or consequences affecting his health or mind resulting therefrom. It is also stated that soon after the killing the defendant made efforts to take his own life.

The jury rendered a verdict of guilty and the defendant was sentenced to be executed August 7, 1886. From this sentence the defendant appeals, on the following grounds:

Because his honor erred in charging:

1. “That the presumption that a man is sane is a presumption of the truth of the fact beyond a reasonable doubt.

2. “That in order for a defendant to relieve himself from responsibility for a criminal act by reason of mental unsoundness, he must show that he was under a mental delusion by reason of mental disease, and that at the time of the act he did not know that the act he committed was wrong, or criminal, or punishable, either the one or the other.

3. “That when a man is charged with crime, the fact that he was drunk at the time of its commission does not discharge him from the responsibility of a sober man.

4. “That if by insulting words or abusive epithets a man is

[24 S.C. 441]

thrown into a tumult of excitement, and sudden heat and passion induced by such a cause, and human life is taken, that is not manslaughter; that is murder.

5. “That the law requires a defendant to establish that he was insane by the preponderance of the testimony.”

Because his honor refused the defendant's requests to charge:

6. “That if upon the whole evidence the jury believe that the accused at the time of the act was under the influence of a mind diseased, either intellectually or morally, and was unconscious that he was committing a crime, he should be acquitted.

7. “That if the jury are satisfied from the evidence that at the time of the act the prisoner was laboring under mental derangement, whether partial or general, of a degree sufficient to have controlled his will and to have taken from him freedom of action, the verdict of the jury should be ‘not guilty.’

8. “That if by reason of mental derangement at the time of the act the prisoner had not power to control the disposition or impulse to commit the deed, he should be acquitted.

9. “That if the jury believe that there was an attempt of the defendant to kill himself soon after the commission of the act, this is a fact that should be considered in weighing the evidence as to insanity.

10. “That intoxication can be looked to in determining whether the killing was...

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23 practice notes
  • State v. Long
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • December 7, 1912
    ...material point in the case, the defendant is entitled to the benefit of such doubt"—citing State v. Paulk, 18 S. C. 514; State v. Bundy, 24 S. C. 439, 58 Am. Rep. 263; State v. Welch, 29 S. C. 4, 6 S. E. 894. We think his honor was in error in charging the jury in the language he did; that ......
  • State v. Young, No. 17768
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 18, 1961
    ...is upon him to establish such plea as one is always presumed to be sane by the State. We see no merit in this exception. State v. Bundy, 24 S.C. 439; State v. Deschamps, 134 S.C. 179, 131 S.E. 420; State v. McGhee et al., 137 S.C. 256, 135 S.E. 59; see, also, 20 Am.Jur. 134, Sec. Exceptions......
  • State v. Lewis, 1,296.
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • September 12, 1889
    ...St. 141; Pannell v. Com., 86 Pa. ST. 268; Sayres v. Com., 88 Pa. St.291. South Carolina, in State v. Paulk, 18 S.C. 514; State v. Bundy, 24 S.C. 439. Texas, in Webb v. State, 5 Tex. App. 607; Clark v. State, 8 Tex. App. 350; Webb v. State, 9 Tex. App. 491; King v. Sate, Id. 557; Johnson v. ......
  • State v. Stokes, (No. 11861.)
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 17, 1925
    ...that the charge is not sustained beyond all reasonable doubt. State v. Watson, 7 S. C. 63; State v. Paulk, 18 S. C. 514; State v. Bundy, 24 S. C. 439, 58 Am. Rep. 263; State v. Nance, 25 S. 0. 168; State v. Brown, 34 S. C. 41, 12 S. E. 662; State v. Jackson, 36 S. C. 487, 15 S. E. 559, 31 A......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • State v. Long
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • December 7, 1912
    ...material point in the case, the defendant is entitled to the benefit of such doubt"—citing State v. Paulk, 18 S. C. 514; State v. Bundy, 24 S. C. 439, 58 Am. Rep. 263; State v. Welch, 29 S. C. 4, 6 S. E. 894. We think his honor was in error in charging the jury in the language he did; that ......
  • State v. Young, No. 17768
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 18, 1961
    ...is upon him to establish such plea as one is always presumed to be sane by the State. We see no merit in this exception. State v. Bundy, 24 S.C. 439; State v. Deschamps, 134 S.C. 179, 131 S.E. 420; State v. McGhee et al., 137 S.C. 256, 135 S.E. 59; see, also, 20 Am.Jur. 134, Sec. Exceptions......
  • State v. Lewis, 1,296.
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • September 12, 1889
    ...St. 141; Pannell v. Com., 86 Pa. ST. 268; Sayres v. Com., 88 Pa. St.291. South Carolina, in State v. Paulk, 18 S.C. 514; State v. Bundy, 24 S.C. 439. Texas, in Webb v. State, 5 Tex. App. 607; Clark v. State, 8 Tex. App. 350; Webb v. State, 9 Tex. App. 491; King v. Sate, Id. 557; Johnson v. ......
  • State v. Stokes, (No. 11861.)
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 17, 1925
    ...that the charge is not sustained beyond all reasonable doubt. State v. Watson, 7 S. C. 63; State v. Paulk, 18 S. C. 514; State v. Bundy, 24 S. C. 439, 58 Am. Rep. 263; State v. Nance, 25 S. 0. 168; State v. Brown, 34 S. C. 41, 12 S. E. 662; State v. Jackson, 36 S. C. 487, 15 S. E. 559, 31 A......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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